Monday, 17 September 2012

MLA Brian Pallister, second place Axeworthy

The man with the public policy blackbox is now Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Fort Whyte. Yes, crowned PC leader Brian Pallister represents the same riding as his predecessor - Hugh McFadyen - did.

The Charleswood resident, as expected, won the Tory stronghold in southwestern Winnipeg (one of the few safe places for provincial Conservatives within the city).

The big surprise was the stunning rise in Liberal fortunes, with Bob Axeworthy (coming from a family with a big name in politics) as runner up to the Tory winner, a role the NDP's played until now.

Chart of candidates and parities in the Fort Whyte 2012 by-election. An independent fringe candidate accused of crimes that received 0.29% of the vote is not included in this chart.  Click on image for larger image.

All data derived from sources from Elections Manitoba 
except change data, which was obtained from Wikipedia.

Chart constructed by The Analyst.  
Fort Whyte resident - and brother of former Liberal
Federal Government cabinet minister Lloyd Axeworthy -
Bob Axeworthy on the far left of the picture.

Axeworthy scored an impressive second place in a Tory
stronghold where the runner-up's were Dippers - until
this by-election.  
The Liberal Party is up in the riding a stunning 23.6 pp, while the Dippers are down a stunning 18.36 pp and the Tories by 7.29 pp. Pallister still won the riding with with a majority of the votes (as opposed to a plurality), but it's smaller than McFadyen's 2011 performance.

41.64% of eligible voters turned out for this by-election. The riding's turnout for the 2011 provincial election was 61.91%. The discrepancy is a giant 20.27 pp, but by-elections typically draw substantially less voters than regular elections.

Axeworthy ran a strong campaign, his theme of "I'm the only candidate from this riding" serving as a particularly potent talking point. Manitoba Liberals did much to stress the point.

Graphical representation of the results.
"Share of the vote" is percentage of the total vote.

Image constructed by "The Analyst"
What's next? Pallister now has a seat in the Ledge and can lead the assault on the government from the benches. The Liberals have rebounded and there supporters will be optimistic, for a bit at least. The NDP has suffered a blow in Fort Whyte, but are still a solid Majority government.

I can't help but wonder whether the "I'm from this ridding" frame will help the Liberals in the long run, though. If The Manitoba Liberals ever decided to run Bob Axeworthy in a winnable riding or if one of their Name on Ballot candidates turns out to be from another riding, the media and other parties could make a lot of hay out of it.

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  1. More important to have a qualified candidate with solid principles in office, than somebody with a house address in the riding, regardless of party. "I'm from this riding" is lame. "I'm going to solve problems in government" is a much better way to sell yourself.

  2. Meanwhile, Pallister continues to pull numbers out of his ass regarding hydro rates.