Well, I got the number of Conservative seats almost right – right on close to 100, just wrong on which side of it they’d fall. For the other two, though, I seem to have got it quite wrong: underestimating the size of the Liberal surge and underestimating how far the NDP would fall. But anyway here’s some early thoughts:
There does appear to have been a decent amount of strategic voting (see here for a view from inside Canada) against the Conservatives. They actually outperformed the final polling projections in terms of the percentage of the vote they got, but underperformed in terms of the seats they won.
Liberals and NDP appear to have benefited from this in different ways. The Liberals have swept up a huge number of seats, gaining from both Conservatives and NDP, with NDP switchers giving them more of the former than they’d expect. The NDP appear to have limited their losses thanks to Liberals switching in seats they weren’t going to win. In some seats, the Liberals have steamrollered the NDP from second place, or jumped them to go from third to first to take a seat from the Conservatives, but when the Liberals were out of the running in an NDP-held seat, their voters seem to have kept a few NDP MPs in place where the Conservatives were the leading opposition.
The size of the Liberal victory is worth pointing out too, giving from how far down they’ve come in a single election. They’ve increased their number of seats fivefold (they’d have won 36 in 2011 on the new boundaries, and won 184 this time) and moved straight from third place into majority government. Yes, they’re an historic major party in Canada and 2011 was a frakishly bad result for them, so it’s not quite a shock insurgency, but I’m still struggling to think of another party that has made such gains in a single election. Then again, the volatility of Canadian electors and their willingness to shift dramatically during election campaigns is already a bit of an outlier, so perhaps this is to be expected given their political culture?
One interesting area of comparison between Canada and the UK could be the contrasting election experience of Justin Trudeau and Ed Miliband. Both were subjected to sustained criticism of their credibility before the election (Conservatives portrayed Trudeau as ‘just not ready’) but Trudeau appears to have turned that completely around, while Miliband was never able to. Was it just a case of Conservatives making expectations so low that Trudeau was able to easily surpass them, or was there something else there?
Finally, I’m sure the Trudeau name helped Justin, but I want to see polling to see just how important it was compared to the ‘not Michael Ignatieff’ factor. That, I think, could be a crucial distinction.