A shifting electoral map could boost Conservatives in the next election

Candidates will battle to win ridings with new boundaries, demographicsThe federal Conservatives may be set to benefit from a shifting electoral landscape in Canada — but that potential boost has nothing to do with the polls, or the latest twists and turns in Ottawa.

That process involves shifting riding boundaries to take into account changes in population and factors like economic and cultural ties between communities within ridings. Some changes move a riding boundary by a few blocks. Some move them by a few hundred kilometres.

All told, the changes may work to the Conservatives‘ advantage, said Éric Grenier, a podcaster and polling expert who runs thewrit.ca.”Overall, I think the map does benefit the Conservatives more than any other party,” Grenier told CBC News.

Grenier said that while boundary changes can be important, perhaps the biggest boost to Conservative fortunes could come from the addition of new seats to the House of Commons. The federal seat count is set to expand from 338 to 343.

“Three extra ridings in Alberta — all three of those are probably new seats for the Conservatives. The extra seat in the B.C. interior is an area where the Conservatives are likely to win,” he said. “So they are the ones that benefit from the new seats that are being added.”

One seat being added in the Brampton, Ont. area might swing the Liberals’ way, Grenier said.Grenier said it’s important to keep in mind that broader trends in party support and the state of the campaign play much more significant roles in an election’s outcome than changes to the riding map. A changing to a riding boundary that yields a few hundred more votes for the Liberals wouldn’t matter much if they lose thousands more votes in broader support, he said.

Fred DeLorey, the Conservative strategist who ran former leader Erin O’Toole’s 2021 campaign, is more enthusiastic about what the map means for Conservative support.”I don’t even know if I could have designed a better map for the Conservatives,” he told CBC News.

“No one wins an election or forms the government just because of the change of the map,” Grenier said. “But if we end up in the next election and it is really tight and it comes down to a few seats, then yeah, the map will be really important.”


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