In the weeks leading up to the election I posted a piece on the swingometer and its predictive powers in calling seats that could be won from either the PQ or the CAQ in the April 7th election. If the swing were 5 % points or less then the Liberals would take six seats If the swing were close to ten percentage points there were an additional slew of seats that the Liberals would win. Examining the results shows that of the fifteen seats that I identified as being vulnerable to being captured by the Liberals ,12 of them, that is all but three of them in fact did fall to the Liberals.
These were Abitibi -East, Charlesbourg, Montmorency, Portneuf,Rouyn -Noranda-Temiscamingue, Saint François, Ungava, Vanier-Les Rivières ,Crémazie, Laval des Rapides ,Saint Rose, La Prairie. Six of these were Liberal gains from the PQ. The other six were won from the CAQ. In the case of the other three one of them, Taschereau was extremely close with the Liberals finishing only 451 votes behind the winning PQ. In another, Nicholet-Bécancour the gap was 3132 votes with the CAQ winning over the Liberals.
In addition to these seats the Liberals won an additional seven seats from the PQ in ridings where the gap was larger than 10 % points in the 2012 election. QS won one additional seat previously held by the PQ, Sainte Marie-St. Jacques beating the Liberal candidate by 91 votes .The CAQ won 8 seats from the PQ . The PQ captured St. Jerome for Pierre Karl Péladeau.It was held by the CAQ in the 2012 election.
So the swing in favour of the Liberals boosted them from 30.2 %in 2012 to 41.5% a total shift of 11.3 % points. The swingometer is hence still a useful rough tool for guaging what is likely to happen in an election where there are relatively accurate polls available providing the reasonable estimates of the total swing. In Québec this is complicated by the large number of three way races and the presence of another fourth party that is a factor in some ridings.
One other aspect of the election is the fact that some members in the very safe Liberal fortress of west end Montreal as usual won by huge majorities. David Birnbaum can stand tall in the National Assembly because he received the votes of over 26,800 Montrealers in Darcy McGee His closest opponent was the CAQ candidate with 716 votes. Carlos Leitao in Robert Baldwin had over 36,700 votes . His closest opponent was the CAQ candidate with 2164 votes. Similarly Martin Coiteaux in Nelligan had 36,494 votes . His closest opponent was the CAQ candidate with 4300 votes.Jacques Chagnon in Westmount Saint Louis had 20,297 votes . His closest opponent the PQ candidate had 1594 votes.Geoff Kelly in Jacques Cartier received 30,823 votes the next closest candidate from the CAQ received 2128 votes. But these sort of lopsided victories can also result in these safe Liberal seats and their electors to be taken for granted and their needs both linguistically and socio-economically being neglected. Lets hope that this bad practice from previous Liberal governments is not repeated.
Finally the first past the post electoral system with the winner take all approach is clearly unfair to the smaller parties who are underrepresented in the assembly. This is often discouraging to younger idealistic voters who are keen to participate but feel the playing field isn’t level. A system of mixed proportional representation where some of the seats could be allocated on proportional terms as exists in Germany is clearly more democratic and would be a welcome reform in Québec and Canadian politics. But I will leave serious consideration and analysis of that for another day.