Numbers and interpretations

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The score remains the same, but many political analysts are saying the game has changed somewhat given the results of Monday’s federal byelections.

Of the four seats up for grabs, the Conservatives retained their two, and the Liberals did the same. Yet considering the ballot count in the two ridings in Manitoba, many are noting the Conservatives received a sharp rebuke, supposedly for being too close to the Senate scandal.

Prospects were favourable for the third-place party in Toronto Centre and Bourassa, a Montreal riding, since both are considered strong Liberal territory. That’s where the party did hang on: with victors Chrystia Freeland in Toronto and Emmanuel Dubourg in Montreal.

Scandals or not, there was no net gain for the Liberals, with Justin Trudeau still fairly fresh at the helm.

But noteworthy in the two Manitoba ridings was how well the Liberals fared in areas considered Conservative strongholds.

In Provencher, Conservative Ted Falk won with 58 per cent of the vote, but the Tory share was down about 12 percentage points from 2011 while the Liberals, at 30 per cent, were up 23 points. More shattering though were the results in Brandon-Souris, where Tory Larry Maguire barely edged Liberal Rolf Dinsdale. He got about 44 per cent of the vote – a 20-point drop from 2011 – compared to 42 percent for Dinsdale.

Using such patterns to paint upcoming forecasts is far from reliable. But something must be irking traditional Tories in those western ridings.

Count on many more factors coming into play between now and an election two years away. But will the current Senate scandal plaguing the Conservatives be a distant memory, amid fresh turmoil, or will it still play a part in voters’ minds?

Certainly Canadians need to pay close attention to any elements of corruption that creep into their political institutions – and it might well sway their vote. But they shouldn’t be fixated on any one such issue, since a lot more than that rides on an election. 

Organizations: Conservatives, Toronto Centre, Tory

Geographic location: Manitoba, Montreal, Liberal territory Toronto Provencher Brandon-Souris

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