Crunching Numbers

Brad Wall set to strengthen his hold on Saskatchewan

Special to The Globe and Mail

Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall speaks to supporters in Saskatoon on Oct. 10, 2011. (Liam Richards/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

In the last and, perhaps, most predictable provincial election of the fall, the Saskatchewan Party is expected to romp to a landslide victory in Monday night’s vote, giving Brad Wall his second consecutive term as premier.

Saskatchewan’s voters might also hand Dwain Lingenfelter’s NDP its worst electoral showing in almost 30 years.

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A weighted aggregation of the opinion polls released during the campaign suggests the Saskatchewan Party will likely take 65.2 per cent of the vote, by far the party’s best showing since it first contested a general election in 1999. It would also be the greatest vote share ever taken by a single party in Saskatchewan’s electoral history.

The New Democrats are projected to take 30.1 per cent of the vote, much of it concentrated in the province’s two largest cities.

The provincial Greens stand to take 3.6 per cent of the vote and place third, the second provincial election after Prince Edward Island this year in which the Greens have managed the feat. The remaining parties, including the Liberals who are only running nine candidates in Saskatchewan’s 58 ridings, should divvy up the remaining 1.1 per cent of the vote.

Mr. Wall’s Saskatchewan Party held a very comfortable majority in the Legislature at dissolution, with 38 seats to the NDP’s 20. They are projected to increase their majority to 44 seats, reducing the New Democrats to only 14 seats.

However, many close races are projected to take place in Regina and Saskatoon.

In the provincial capital, the Saskatchewan Party is projected to win five of the 11 seats, but with the tight margins the SP could win as many as eight in the city, leaving the NDP with only three.

In the province’s largest city, the Saskatchewan Party has a stronger base and is projected to win seven of Saskatoon’s 12 seats, with the NDP taking the remaining five. But if the votes go the SP’s way, they could win as many as 10 seats in Saskatoon.

Mr. Wall’s party dominates in the rest of Saskatchewan. It is projected to win 32 seats outside the two main cities, with the NDP winning three. Taking the close races into consideration suggests the New Democrats might only be kept to two ridings in rural Saskatchewan.

Altogether, this puts the likely seat range for the Saskatchewan Party at between 43 and 51 seats. The upper limit of the range would give the SP a greater proportion (88 per cent) of the Legislature’s seats than any conservative option has ever held in the province. The previous best was the 1982 Progressive Conservative result of 55 seats in the then 64-seat legislature (86 per cent). The lower limit of 43 seats would still be the largest number of seats won by a single party in 20 years.

The New Democratic seat range is between seven and 15 seats. The party was last so low in 1982, when only nine MLAs were elected.

Neither the Greens nor the parties running less than a full slate are expected to be a major factor in any riding.

According to the polls, Mr. Wall is the most popular premier in the country. It has also been almost 80 years since the last one-term government in Saskatchewan, so his re-election was never in doubt. Whether the New Democrats, the party that has governed the province for most of the last four decades, will be able to retain more than a handful of seats and be able to maintain an effective opposition will be the big question Monday night.

ThreeHundredEight.com ’s projection model aggregates all publicly released polls, weighing them by sample size, date, and record of polling firm accuracy. The seat projection model makes individual projections for all 58 ridings in the province, based on shifts in support from the 2007 election and including the application of factors unique to each riding, such as the effects of incumbency.

These projections are subject to the margins of error of the opinion polls included in the model, as well as the unpredictable nature of politics at the riding level.

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