A year can be forever in politics.

It will feel like a year long federal election campaign between now and October 2015. Wars have not lasted as long. Yet, despite all the strategies at play, the key decisions by the real electors will not be made until September and October next year.

Much of the first six to nine months will be taken up with making sure of each party’s base vote. Regionally and demographically, you can define the base for each of the main political parties. In the same sense as most rich, white males vote Conservative, many mid-income, educated, females vote Liberal and a high percentage of unionized, working class vote New Democrat, you can see why inner cities tend to vote New Democrat, single-family suburbs tend to vote Liberal and prosperous farmers vote Conservative.

The political chore is to first shore up your own vote and, when time allows, you show the flag in enemy-held electoral districts. There are also 30 new ridings in play this year and no party is assured a win in those. They receive special attention.

While nobody trusts polls today, the fact that they consistently show Justin Trudeau and his Liberals in the lead, gives the Conservatives and New Democrats a target. In fact if Mr. Harper can find a way to keep the Liberals and New Democrats more evenly matched, the better the chance for his Conservatives.

But it is regional concerns that cause the most headaches in theses early stages. With the promised demise of the Bloc Québécois, many polls are showing the New Democrats as the recipients of that vote. What these polls are really showing is that there is no other place at this time that the separatist vote wants to go. They are unlikely to play on that swing before the end of September next year. They might dislike the Trudeau name but they hate Harper more.

The other likely regional shifts are in Ontario and British Columbia. With Justin Trudeau’s Liberals likely to win more than half of Ontario’s 138 seats next year, all three parties are spending a great deal of time and effort in that playground. British Columbia has a special place for Trudeau and if he can solve the Gordian knot he has gotten into in relation to pipelines, British Columbia can dish him up a very fine majority government.

We have lots of time during the year for Justin Trudeau to learn to look like a statesman, Thomas Mulcair to look smart and Stephen Harper to look human.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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