With one week to go before the federal election, a political science professor at Memorial University says a lot can still happen and the race is still too close to call.
Amanda Bittner spoke to The Telegram Thursday before the Easter long weekend.
“Things are kind of somewhat variable,” she said. “We still have about 10 days left in the race so a lot can happen. So, I’m not willing to make any predictions at this point.”
Bittner says it will be interesting to see what the results on May 2 will be.
“Anything is possible. We’ve seen past elections where the last couple weeks of the campaign, as we get closer and closer to election day that a lot does change and the votes do move,” she added. “It’s very exciting.”
While Bittner doesn’t see a massive upset, she said a Harper majority or a Liberal minority are both possible, as is a return to a Conservative minority.
A lot will be determined, she said, by how voters in Ontario and Western Canada cast their ballots, as there are so many seats in those regions.
But Bittner doesn’t think there will be a whole lot of change in Quebec, despite polls late last week which showed NDP Leader Jack Layton surpassing the
Bloc Quebecois’ Gilles Duceppe in popularity.
“How that’s going to translates into (the number of) seats, I don’t know,” she said, noting there’s always a flux in the numbers throughout a campaign.
The federal election was triggered by an historic non-confidence vote in the House of Commons on March 25 after the Conservatives were found in contempt of Parliament.
But that fact has been largely lost as each party has tried to spin the reason for the election to their own benefit.
Contempt, non-confidence vote not well understood
The Conservatives have blamed the party’s fall on a lack of support for its budget, for example.
Bittner agrees the parliamentary procedure aspects of how the government fell hasn’t captured most Canadians imagination.
“I don’t think the nature of that non-confidence motion was a particularly sexy topic, or that most people understood the nature of it,” she said.
Locally, Bittner said a poll released last week by NTV and Telelink, which shows close races in Avalon and St. John’s South-Mount Pearl, may not give an accurate picture.
The margin of error in the poll was 4.5 per cent, meaning the gap in St. John’s South Mount Pearl is still a three-way race between Liberal incumbent Siobhan Coady, the NDP’s Ryan Cleary and Conservative Loyola Sullivan.
Although the poll showed St. John’s East NDP incumbent Jack Harris with a commanding lead, Bittner said that could keep voters home on election day if they feel the outcome is predetermined, possibly hurting Harris.
Another factor, in all three races covered by the poll, is that about a third of voters are undecided.
But figures from the poll also show all three incumbents have favourable approval ratings.