Understanding the morning line.

There is a caveat to Babel-on-the-Bay’s publishing a morning line on upcoming elections. While we are more accurate than pollsters, a morning line is based on a knowledgeable observer’s assessment of the upcoming race. We make absolutely no guarantee. It is only fair to point it out. Once one of our carefully evaluated selections in a major stakes race in the U.S. broke from the gate in the lead and held the lead for at least two furlongs. And then the poor horse dropped dead. Nobody can forecast the future.

And that is why the morning line is different from the efforts of handicappers. Track handicappers are paid for their opinions. If they do not offer a winning selection occasionally, they lose customers. Political pundits are nowhere near as accurate as horse race handicappers. Pundits are used more for their entertainment value. We are thinking of doing some commentary on the pundits during the municipal election this year—provided, of course, that we avoid potentially actionable observations.

This is not to say that a horse race is the same as a political race. Horses are much more reliable. Accident prone politicians are liable to crash at any point in a campaign. In the Toronto 2014 mayoralty, the analysis already done on Councillor Karen Stintz’ campaign was a waste. She is an early scratch. Nice lady, good credentials, solid workouts. She had no chance to connect with the voters in the zoo of Toronto politics this year.

In a municipal race, incumbency is usually the key to re-election. Having three or four years in the job gets you known and gives you a chance to show what you can do. Good or bad, you have an easy leg up. Not so in the Toronto mayoralty this year. The incumbent Mr. Ford has been entirely too controversial. Luckily it is really the civil servants who keep the city operating at an even and stolid level. It has only been the political scene in the city that has been chaotic.

With another dozen days to throw their hats into the ring and nominate themselves, Torontonians will likely end up with about 70 candidates for mayor on the ballot. Not to worry though as only three of those candidates have a snowball’s chance in hell. They are Olivia Chow, Rob Ford and John Tory. Babel-on-the-Bay will comment on each after Labour Day and discuss the opening odds.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

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