Beware A Low Voter Turnout
September 9th, 2021 | RR
Unless most Canadians feel comfortable voting in person on election day, things are not looking good for turnout. According to recent polls, most Canadians still fear the virus and don't feel comfortable voting. However, the number of mail-in ballots requested and received is far below expectations. Elections Canada expected anywhere from one to five million, but fewer than 600,000 have been requested so far. Canadians have until September 14 to request a mail-in ballot, meaning that their time is running out.
As I have written numerous times before, low turnout is almost always a good thing for the incumbent government. Historically, low turnouts have disproportionately benefited the party or leader that won the previous election. In the few cases when low turnouts resulted in a change in government, the electorate was unanimously displeased with the incumbents and uninspired by the opposition. In those cases, most people stayed home, while the ones who voted, voted for change.
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There's no real way to know how this election will play out, but if sentiments are any indication, people are possibly angry enough with Trudeau to flip the script—even with a very low turnout.
At this point, it would be silly to make any solid prediction solely based on turnout. Turnout could be higher than expected and have nothing to do with the number of mail-in ballots requested. Secondly, even if turnout is low, the unwritten rule has been turned on its head before. However, just based on statistics alone, the odds are in Trudeau's favour under a low turnout.
We still don't have solid advanced voting numbers. If those numbers come in high, it could be an indication of a higher, or average, voter turnout.
We know there are a lot of angry people voting in this cycle, but most of them are not the mainstream normies. There is one party that will have a high turnout, even if overall numbers are low. That party is Maxime Bernier's PPC. Based on their polling numbers and the crowds Bernier has drawn, the party will most likely double its 2019 vote share. As for everyone else, a low turnout could devastate their numbers and their chances.
Assuming that turnout will be dramatically lower than the past two elections, these are some possible scenarios.
Liberal Majority: Trudeau's Loyalists Vote And Socialists Get Scared
Polls don't show Liberals anywhere near a majority right now, but that could easily change with the blink of an eye. In 2019, the NDP was polling at 20%, but finished at 16%. This was due to a predictable last-minute shift driven by the possibility of a Conservative government. As is often the case, hardcore socialists could get scared and vote strategically to stop Conservatives.
In the event that this happens again, Trudeau could win a majority under a low turnout—but only if his most ardent loyalists vote. A majority of Canada's fervent Covid cultists are Liberals. Those who are most scared of this pandemic are Liberal voters and women. Multiple polls have proven this and almost every major poll shows women supporting Liberals in large numbers compared to men. More so than men, women approve of Trudeau's handling of the pandemic. If all of these women vote, along with Trudeau's male loyalists, a majority government will be easy to pull off under a low turnout.
A low turnout would also be an indication that many card-carrying, mainstream Conservative voters have stayed home. In such a case, a Trudeau majority would be inevitable.
"Unless most Canadians feel comfortable voting in person on election day, things are not looking good for turnout."
Pay attention to the opinion polls on September 17. If they have started to shift in Trudeau's favour, we could be looking at a Liberal majority. Pay attention to the NDP numbers. If they start to sink, the typical socialist panic is most certainly underway.
Conservative Minority: Conservatives Vote, Liberals Don't Care
There is a real possibility that many traditional Liberals are sick of Justin Trudeau and don't give a flying rat's ass if he wins or loses. Discontent has been bubbling in Liberal ranks since 2019, when Trudeau was hit with a barrage of scandals and lost the party seats. He has been privately called a liability by many Liberal insiders ever since.
Mark Carney is being propped up as Trudeau's potential replacement for a reason. Many Liberals are looking at brighter pastures and are looking to move past the Trudeau era. This election could be their opportunity to finally remove the cancer.
The discontent has not only spread among insiders, it has spread to Liberal voters and journalists. Trudeau has clearly lost friends everywhere and the people who bent over backwards to protect him in 2019 aren't doing it anymore. Feeling less threatened by a liberal O'Toole, many are willing to let the chips fall where they may.
A Conservative minority doesn't stand much of a chance after election day, but it buys Liberals some time to pick a new leader. Many Liberals might sit this election out and let Conservatives take the helm for a short period, while they purge Trudeau, install Carney and then form a coalition with other parties to take back power—or topple the government and go back to an election.
If Trudeau's loyalists are the most scared by the virus, we should assume they would make up a good portion of mail-in voters. If the current number of mail requests isaccurate, they aren't that enthused about re-electing him.
The Conservative Party has had one of the most loyal and reliable bases in Canadian history. If 2021 is no different, they will show up to vote while everyone else stays at home. O'Toole's move to the left has alienated some of that base, making a majority government nearly impossible, but if he can pull in enough ex-Liberals and moderate independents, it could be slightly possible—but I wouldn't place bets on it.
A Virtual Tie
If polls remain the same and turnout dips, a dead heat is possible. Either the Liberals or Conservatives could win only one or two seats more than the other, resulting in a virtual tie. If Conservatives win two more seats than Trudeau, O'Toole will try to declare victory, but it would only last a few hours. Before he could even get Singh and Blanchet on the phone, Trudeau would have their support and be declared the prime minister by morning.
If Trudeau wins two or three seats more than O'Toole, it will be another Liberal government propped up by the NDP and Bloc. In that time, Trudeau would be pushed out.
Another Trudeau minority, especially a significantly reduced one, would likely spell the end of Trudeau's career as the Liberal leader. He would eventually be forced to resign after proving that he can't win. The party would likely act quickly to replace him before triggering another election.
This election is a make-or-break for Trudeau. It wasn't supposed to be, but it has turned into a dog's breakfast for the Liberal Party. Losing more seats and being ahead of O'Toole by only one or two seats would be as good as losing. Being behind the Conservatives by two or three seats would be even more devastating for Trudeau.
In my opinion, a virtual tie is the best scenario. It would make for an interesting couple of years. In that time, we could see a new Liberal leader and a change in government without an election—if the Bloc and NDP decided to give power to O'Toole for a while. If O'Toole bribes them with some mutually beneficial offerings, it could happen.
Put your seat belts on. If polls don't change by September 17 or 18, this thing could end in a tie. Don't be surprised if Conservatives win the most seats (by a couple) but still can't form government. It's going to be a fun, bumpy ride—especially when Justin finally comes to terms with his fate and resigns.
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