In yesterday's Ontario by-elections, Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives ended up even, retaining one seat, but failing to pick up a Liberal seat (Niagara Falls). Here is why not winning the Niagara Falls riding was bad news for Hudak:
2011 provincial election results for Niagara Falls:
Liberals - 16.8K
PC - 16.3K
NDP - 12.3K
2013 by-election results for Niagara Falls:
NDP - 14.5K
PC - 13.5K
Liberals - 7.1K
In other words, while the Liberal share of the vote collapsed by 16.5%, the PC share of the vote essentially flatlined (going up only 2%). What this means is that the collapse of the Ontario Liberal Party overwhelmingly benefited the NDP, not the Conservatives - in a borderline conservative riding. If Hudak is to win the next provincial election, he had better up his game - ASAP. He can’t rely on Liberal malfeasance to carry him across the finish line.
Now, this conclusion should not be interpreted to mean that Tim Hudak should ‘move to the center’. John Tory and Ernie Eves have vividly demonstrated what happens to conservatives when they abandon their principles and try to become Liberal-lite. They end up on the wrong end of a humiliating shellacking.
Nevertheless, stay tuned. In his next post, my sometimes guest blogger Mike Downtown will present a workable strategy for Tim Hudak.