Who should be "extremely nervous"?
The day after the 2015 federal election, Manitoba NDP Premier Greg Selinger suggested Progressive Conservative leader Brian Pallister should be “extremely nervous” due to the federal election results in Winnipeg.
The comments make for a good sound bite, but most voters know the situation isn’t that simple...they also know the difference between provincial and federal politics.
Consider that in late 1993, the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada was wiped out; they were reduced to just two seats nation-wide. Yet, a year and a half later, the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba earned a majority government. Mike Harris and the PC Party of Ontario also earned a majority government in 1995. Certainly there are plenty of other examples - from across the political spectrum - where a party has done well at one level of government, but not-so-well at another.
That’s not to say a party is never impacted by decisions made by its cousins at another level of government, but it’s not as simple as Premier Selinger suggests. However, for argument’s sake, let’s accept Premier Selinger’s premise as true for a moment.
Obviously, merely looking at changes in federal seat counts wouldn’t be the best way to analyze how federal election results might impact provincial election results in Winnipeg.
After all, federal boundaries are quite different than provincial boundaries – there are only 8 federal seats in Winnipeg but a whopping 31 provincial seats in the city.
The best way to analyze the situation would be to overlay poll-by-poll federal results on provincial boundary maps. However, such a comparison would be an enormous undertaking (and I doubt the data is even available at this point in time).
What we can do is look at the situation through a different lens – the total number of votes each party received in Winnipeg during the last two federal elections. Based on Elections Canada data, here are the results:
The results aren't great for the Conservatives, but Premier Selinger should be the last one cautioning others to be “extremely nervous” about the federal election results.
Note: 2015 federal election results are largely based on unofficial numbers. Final figues may change slightly, but one would not expect to see a material change at this point.