Common wisdom in Saskatchewan politics is that every decade or so, the voters will totally nuke the government of the day and elect a new government with a massive majority. Examples of this can be seen over the last 40 years:-1971 - Allan Blakeney’s NDP knocked Ross Thatcher’s Liberals out of power
-1982 - Grant Devine’s Conservatives blasted Blakeney out of office
-1991 - Roy Romanow’s NDP booted Devine out of the premier’s suite
In the lead up to the current election, knowledgeable pundits and rank amateurs both believed that history would repeat itself and the Calvert New Democrats would be knocked out of government and that Brad Wall and his Saskatchewan Party would win a huge majority.
Well ... that does not appear to be what is happening out there on the hustings! There is one small poll that has now been released by the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper Association (a group not overly friendly with the NDP). They polled a small sample of 650 voters and found that of decided voters:
-Sask Party 50%
Undecided totaled 20%
The key to interpreting this poll is to remember that in their rural stronghold, the Sask Party polls with very high support - 60 to 70%.
The NDP seem to be holding onto their urban base. Most of their former 30 seats are urban and the Saskatchewan Party is having a hard time making inroads in all but one or two urban constituencies.
The Sask Party may be doing somewhat better in these poll numbers but it is hard to tell if that will translate into seats. At dissolution there was only a 2 seat difference between the two major parties (NDP 30 - SP 28).
It does not look like a massacre is going to occur. If the Saskatchewan Party should win, it will be with a slim majority.
Why? ... Calvert has mounted a fairly well thought out campaign with balance between the positives of his record and the negatives of the 'free market radical' Saskatchewan Party.
The Saskatchewan Party, on the other hand, has been very disappointing for those who anticipated a big bold visionary statement and plan for 'a new Saskatchewan in the new West'!
Brad Wall seems content to let the voters go out and 'defeat' the NDP - while he just holds back and waits to take control of the government benches. This may turn out to be a huge strategic error for the Sask Party. Their low key campaign with no major promises and no exciting plan has everyone yawning.
I remind both Saskatchewan Party supporters AND Liberals, that the NDP were expected to lose the 1999 Election (THEY WON!) and they were absolutely expected to lose the 2003 Election (THEY WON!) .... so remember ... wishful thinking is NOT necessarily reality!
No one is getting blown out of the water in Saskatchewan on November 7th. It will be closer than expected!