Prediction Changed
1:28 PM 13/04/2007

Election Prediction Project

Ottawa South
Federal Election - 2007

Constituency Profile

Brisson, Jean-Serge
New Democratic
De Sarkar, Hijal
Ghanem, Qais
Progressive Canadian
Gullon, Al
McGuinty, David
Salibi, Elie

David McGuinty

2006 Result:
David McGuinty **
Allan Cutler
Henri Sader
John Ford
Brad Thomson

Previous Prediction/result
06 Prediction/04 Result
04 Prediction/00 Result

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08 10 12 rebel
My last walkabout in two polls in Riverside Park has the Conservatives leading 24 to 15 to 2 Green.
The NDP campaign has been weak, but not so invisible to induce a large switch to the Liberals. Instead the NDP should hold the bulk of their 2006 vote but probably won't increase. The Greens will run third with a more active campaign and I do not see any signs here that there will be a sudden defection to the Liberals from their ranks motivated by strategic voting. [there is too much talk of minority government to create a stampede]
Where does that leave us? The Liberal incumbant has run as very much his own man (re-elect a good MP), keeping as far away from Dion and even his beloved Liberal brand as possible. His campaign organization is sound and has canvassed my poll and also telecanvassed my household. He also got an endorsement by the Ottawa Citizen, which should mean something.
The Conservative candidate has run a strong campaign for his party. My poll has been canvassed, telephone canvassed and also got a last piece of literature on Friday.
The last minute polls are, as usual, a mishmash of conflicting trends. I think the Liberals peaked on Tuesday (when they could have formed a minority governemtn, based on a large Liberal lead in Ontario). By Sunday, the Conservatives are leading again in Ontario or trending that way. If their margin is 5% across the province (yesterday's strategic counsel), they should win Ottawa South on the basis of the riding being a bellwether (i.e., a winning margin hugging the overall provincial result).
When I factor in name recognition, a task that is more art than science, I would give the Liberals back a 3-4% bonus for having a more well-known candidate.
There is also voter turnout, which seems likely to dip a little from last time (based on this ridings and the cross-canada vote in the advance polls).
All in all, here is my prediction...
Liberals 24,800
Conservatives 24,200
NDP 6,500
Greens 6,800
08 10 09 Joshua Zuckerman
This is a riding that should have been listed on this site as TCTC earlier in the campaign as a couple weeks ago when the Conservatives had a large lead nationally they had a real shot at winning this seat. However, with the Conservative numbers now down, the original site prediction of Liberal is probably the correct one!
08 10 09 Andrew Lawrence
As the continued economic slide impacts the local campaigns, it seems to me that the conservative candidate for Ottawa South is having the odds stacked against him. Not that they were great to begin with.
Not only is he facing a popular encumbent with a strong volunteer base, but now the Conservative national campaign seems to be coming apart at the seams.
With such uncertainty, you can fully expect people to stick with what they know and have clearly come to trust over the past few years.
>From my perspective, the race for this riding is over.
08 10 04 Marco Ricci
On a recent visit to Ottawa South I noticed more lawn signs overall for David McGuinty than for the Conservative, although the Conservative has a respectable number. I was mainly in the neighbourhood near Hillcrest High School and the General Hospital. In this part of the riding McGuinty appears to have the edge, but some websites such as Democratic Space project this race as being very close with the Conservative having an equal shot at it.
08 10 03 Alta Vista Dude
I live in this riding. There is no doubt that McGuinty is well-organized and has a formidable on the ground team. This has served him well in the past two elections and will help to make him competitive this time. But I have two observations. I have been hugely impressed by the strong on the ground campaign run by Elie Salibi, the Conservative candidate. It is far more organized than the Toru campaigns in the past two elections and there are probably twice as many signs for Salibi this time around than for the previous Tory candidate. Salibi has also been far more active in door knocking than Cutler was. Secondly, I expect that many voters in this riding will vote according to national trends rather than for the local candidate. This will help Salibi. Most people do not realize that McGuinty's margin of victory was not that great last time. A vote swing of only 2000 votes (easily attainable) by Salibi would put this riding in the Conservative camp. This riding may be TCYC but I believe Salibi has an excellent chance of winning it.
08 10 02 Dave G
I've noticed a marked increase in McGuinty signs in my immediate neighborhood (Riverside Park). Could be that the Conservative candidate is less well known than in previous two candidates. I've been speaking with neighbors and there seems to be a general consensus that McGuinty's performance has surpassed expectations during the past term in office.
08 09 28 rebel
About two weeks left in the campaign and my walkabout my home poll in Riverside Park finds 12 Conservative signs to 2 Liberal.
Generally speaking, the Liberals are having a hard-time placing signs on the lawns of previous supporters...they may end up still voting Liberal but don't want to publically show support this time.
Office and bus-commuting chit-chat touches on the campaign a lot. Some talk is about issues - the Liberals carbon tax is often cited, but as a loser issue. The Conservatives platform seems broader - I hear talk often about their income-splitting for families with disabled children.
But the real conversation is more along the lines of following a sporting event - who do you think is winning? Last week was a terrible one for the Liberals and a lot of people in this civil service riding are following that pretty closely. As the Liberal campaign is seen to dissolve and the leader's performance becomes a cliche and the butt of water cooler humour, this riding is looking less and less likely as a Liberal re-elect. Definitely TCTC...
08 09 27 Jack Russell
My two cents worth for this riding will be a narrow Liberal victory with a closer margin than the last election. This is one of the few seats the Liberals can hope to win in Eastern Ontario, mostly due to the McGuinty name rather than anything else. In my area of the riding the McGuinty signs on public property far outnumber the Tory signs. However, the overall total on people's yards are very few and thus I don't take it as any good indication. The NDP candidate is a sacraficial lamb. No NDP signs anywhere in the riding. Having been a former co-worker with the NDP candidate, I can attest to his lack of organization and ability to complete any job. His work ethic is severely lacking and he gets in way over his head. (Which unfortunately led to him being fired from the job that we worked at together.)
I think the Liberals are worried though and are throwing everything they've got into this. I have been polled by phone and also had McGuinty's wife and brother knocking at my door today. I have yet to hear from any other campaign. At this stage in the game I would say a weak Liberal hold. However, I will finish this post by saying that I would not be shocked to see the Tories take this riding by the narrowest of margins if the Liberal national campaign continues to tank and Dion gets trounced in the debates.
08 09 27 Two Cents
I agree with Cousinj that the NDP candidate this time around is low key (indeed almost invisible). On the other hand, the Greens have a much better candidate who will significantly increase the Green vote in this riding.
As for the Conservatives, yes, Elie Salibi is not as famous as Alan Cutler. He is however a very decent person who is seen as honest and straight forward.
This is not a popularity contest between Salibi and McGuinty. My prediction is that the vast majority of voters in this riding will vote on the basis of party, not personality. Very few, if any, of those who voted for Cutler last time will be inclined to swich to McGuinty. Based on the reasoning Salibi has a strong base while McGuinty has little if any room for growth. Moreover, many past Liberal voters may choose to stay home rather than vote for Dion and his carbon tax. I expect that the Liberal vote here will weaken along with similar trends elsewhere in Ontario. Meanwhile, Salibi will continue the gradualincrease in Conservative support that we have seen for the past two elections. The result will be a narow victory for Salibi.
08 09 26 ALC
Counting signs on private lawns is a reliable indicator only where there is a big enough lead to rule out margins of error. That said, I do see considerably more Liberal signs than Conservative ones in general, though clearly there are pockets of concentration for both.
All that aside, the chances of McGuinty losing this riding are very low. Personally I think he'll win on name recognition first and foremost, and for those who follow public debates, he clearly out performed the other candidates.
When you also take into account that the average Canadian polled still prefers a Conservative minority as their first choice, I can't see the CPC making any inroads in this strong Liberal riding.
08 09 26 Cousinj
This riding is as liberal as Ottawa Nepean will be conservative. Last election is the closest they were of defeating McGuinty, the NDP and Tories had a star candidate, this time around they are a little less high profile.
08 09 26 John A.
This is my riding. The McGuinty brand and organization is way too strong for anyone to overcome. The incumbent has been much more visible over the past two years and pretty effective as the environment critic. I do agree that lawn signs are not a good indicator of support but if there is a safe Grit riding in this part of the country, Ottawa South is it. If McGuinty loses his seat here, then I think we are looking at a complete decimation of the Liberal Party of Canada.
08 09 24 MB
ABC Phoenix, you're going to determine who's going to win by the amount of signs people have on their lawns? You must be a Liberal. By the way, if you ever decide to leave the Alta Vista area, you'll notice that there are more Conservative Party signs on people's private lawns than McGuinty signs. Which party is he running with again? I can't tell by looking at some of his signs...
08 09 21 Bernard Manning
Yes. Driving through the north of the riding Smyth/St. Laurent this seems to be solid McGuinty country. I don't think the NDP/Green vote is going to move much, so it is a straight fight between Red and Blue. David McGuinty has had the good fortune to be given the Environment portfolio which puts him up against another Ottawa MP - John Baird - on TV where he can at least hold his own and do better than his boss Neon Dion at putting his message across. They other thing I noticed was the design of his lawn signs. They are black on white with the name McGuinty in large letters and only a small Liberal red logo in the corner.
08 09 20 Stray
Anything the Ottawa Sun writes should be taken with a grain of aspirin. The Sun chain has a history of being pro-Tory just like the Citizen has leaned towards the Liberals. Although the Ottawa Sun has nothing on the the Edmonton Sun on that score... As I have said before, I need to see evidence of a major shift before I will believe that this riding will go anything other than Liberal.
08 09 19 Rebel
MB's optimism is nothing compared with ABC Phoenix' bravado. I think the riding is pretty close and in the article in the Sun this week David seemed doing as much as he could to distance himself from the national Liberal campaign. For good reason as today's tracking polls show Conservative leads over the Liberals from +11-13%.
That being said, of the three crucial regions for the Conservatives, Ontario is trending the least for them. I would estimate a Liberal lead notionally in the riding of maybe 5% now which hardly constitutes ‘ownership’. I have not been in Alta Vista/Urbandale where the Liberals apparently are out-signing, but in Riverside Park the Conservatives have a lead (in my home poll they have 8 signs to the Liberals 0).
There is plenty left to discuss vis a vis Ottawa South. McGuinty's grip is tenuous and the battle here is by no means concluded.
08 09 19 ABC Phoenix
MB, you have got to be kidding... a win for the CPC and ‘just a question of by how much’? This is a liberal safe seat par excellence, let alone the fact that it is the McGuinty family stronghold. McGuinty is winning the sign war by a large margin, and if it were not for signs on public property, Salibi would have virtually no signs at all! Liberals will win this one hands down, unless the CPC were to win 308/308 nationally, and that is not going to happen.
08 09 19 Stray
I have seen nothing new that changes my opinion that David McGuinty will retain this riding. As far as the sign war goes, it isn't even close. I am seeing more Liberal lawn signs sprouting up every day.
In 2004, McGuinty was elected in spite of the fact that during the campaign his brother's provincial government introduced one of the most unpopular budgets in recent history.
In 2006, with Adscam fresh in peoples' minds, he faced down Allan Cutler.
Since 2006 he has been much more visible as the Liberal Environment Critic and has gotten a lot more press than he got as a government backbencher (a thankless task if there ever was one).
He knows this riding and its constituents. And judging from what I have seen during this campaign, his organization is not taking things for granted. For the Liberals to lose this one, there would have to be a major shift and I have seen no evidence of this.
08 09 17 MB
It'll be an uphill battle to contest the McGuinty brand in Ottawa South, but it certainly is winnable for the Conservative Party candidate Elie Salibi. Locally, he is running a strong campaign, and the Conservative Party national campaign is working effectively as well. It seems that McGuinty's campaign is off to a shaky start, and Dion and his national campaign are always on the defensive, but McGuinty is deeply rooted in this riding, he feeds off the popularity of his brother (Premier of Ontario), and he has experience and name recognition.
The NDP is the NDP and probably won't do well in this riding, especially since their candidate is a young student with no name recognition. The Green Party will likely increase in votes as a form of protest against the Conservatives and the Liberals, but will end up hurting the Liberals more. My prediction is a Conservative win, it's just a matter of by how much.
08 09 17 Dr Bear without Prof Ape
Allan Cutler was a star candidate in the way that matters: recognized name. Political junkies love to peg many people with that term based on their resume (and probably rightfully so) but to the Joe Sixpack on the street, they are not stars unless they instantly know their name (hence Marc Garneau, Peter Kent, Thomas Mulcaire are all star candidates). So yes, the CPC numbers were bouyed in 2006, however the grits are down in the polls, but this is still a relatively Liberal riding. The way I see it, the Liberals will still take it (name recognition and incumbency advantage) but there will be a similar or even narrower split between them and the CPC. If things get worse for the Liberals then this should be called TCTC (not just yet).
08 09 15 B.A.S.
I think that it is wrong to assume that because Alan Cutler was a 'star' candidate last time that the Conservatives will poll fewer votes this time. Sure, Cutler had a high national profile. However, he was a very weak campaigner and had a very low profile in the riding. The new Tory cadidate Elie Salibi has been far more active in meeting constituents and has much stronger local support.
Moreoever, the Green candidate this time is attracting lot of grassroots support and can be expected to take votes away from McGuinty. This riding is TCTC.
08 09 14 Stray
One thing you can't read too much in is how many votes the Conservatives got the last time. They ran Allan Cutler, the whistle-blower on Adscam, when Adscam was still ‘news’. While I don't consider lawn signs to be the be-all, end-all, I am still wondering where the NDP is. About 50 percent of the lawn signs are Liberal (and I walked down Alta-Vista and Kilborn, and St-Laurent and Bank Street). The point is, I saw as many Liberal lawn signs as I did in 2006, fewer Conservative lawn signs, a LOT fewer NDP signs and more Green signs. Even in places that last time had a majority of Conservative signs, there are fewer Conservative signs. Unless I see something major, I will still call this for the Liberals.
08 09 14 rebel
The sign war has indeed begun. Salibi canvassed my home poll on Friday and behind him sprouted five Conservative signs. No Liberal, Green or NDP yet. A ‘usual suspect’ neighbour across the street (and not in the poll) has just four Liberal signs on his property this time (he usually has five) but I see this as no indication of diminishing ardour.
The poll is overall very high income and was robustly Liberal in 2004 and marginally so in 2006. Interestingly, it always has far more Conservative signs but there are a long row of million dollar+ custom homes banking on the Rideau River whose impassive facades hardly ever reflect a lawn sign. My theory is that they vote disproportionately Liberal - a fading adherance of high income voters to the Liberals that was created during the Chretien years.
The micro-trend to look out for in this poll is whehter they vote for the now incumbant Conservative Government or cling to the Liberal party. In any event, the Greens will run third here as I suspect they will in the riding as a whole. The Green ‘constituency’ is a difficult one for the Liberals because it runs best where the Liberals do (e.g. Alta Vista). The candidate is also Muslim and may have an additional advantage in the heavily Muslim polls in the riding that are the second pillar of Liberal strength.
08 09 14 King of Kensington
Ottawa South seems like the kind of riding that should remain Liberal (quite multicultural, large civil servant population), even though the Tories came pretty close last time and polling numbers in Ontario would suggest it's ripe for the picking. However David McGuinty does have the advantage of incumbency, and my feeling is the Liberals will hold onto it. This should be an interesting riding to watch on election night.
08 09 13 Andrew
I think it is hard to read anything into sign wars, especially during the first week.
But, that being said, I am surprised how many of my neighbors in Alta Vista that had McGuinty signs on their lawn from day one of the 2006 campaign have nothing this year. And I live in McGuinty family territory. If McGuinty's neighbours are losing interest I wonder what others in the riding are doing? Is this a sign that McGuinty is slow off the mark this year (complacent?) or is the McGuinty magic slipping? It is too early to say, but it is worth keeping an eye on it.
08 09 13 Stray
Another day, another walk-about. As usual, looking for lawn signs (signifying support) rather than signs on public areas (signifying advertising). After a week, it appears that the Liberal signs are getting out there faster than any other. Today, for every new Conservative sign I saw, I saw at least two new Liberal ones.
I am wondering what has happened to the NDP campaign? So far I have seen a grand total of ONE sign for the NDP. It's not like I didn't look. I was walking for 4 hours. I have seen at least 10 lawn signs for the Green Party, but only 1 for the NDP.
It is starting to look like the NDP is going to finish fourth in this riding.
Interesting to note that the majority of ‘advertising’ signs are either Conservative or Green. The Liberal campaign headquarters is very visible on Bank Street (I think in the last provincial election, it was used by the PC candidate). I saw two different Liberal canvassing teams in the neighbourhood. I don't think that the Liberals are taking this one for granted.
08 09 12 Rebel
Given the virtual disappearance of the province-wide lead by the Federal Librals, this riding, nearly by definition, must be now considered too close to call. David McGuinty took the riding in 2006 by only slightly more than the overall province-wide lead.
In the west and southern areas of the riding, there are no lawns signs to be seen, though the Conservatives (and to a lesser extent the Greens) have quite a number of public property signs up. I would have expected the Liberals to be much faster off the mark here but it is still quite early.
Now any McGuinty enjoys a considerable advantage in terms of name recognition - but Salibi is campaigning vigourously and lives in the south end of the riding which is either Cosnervative or trending that way.
McGuiinty will enjoy a 4-5% advantage because of family name, but thus far, the federal Liberal campaign appears to be dragging badly below its 2006 levels of support.
08 09 11 Stray
Second major walk around the neighbourhood. As expected, the McGuinty signs are multiplying (especially on Alta Vista Drive, which was the only signs I saw). Interesting to see that the Green Party has more signs out than the NDP.
08 09 11 Gone Fishing
McGuinty losing would be huge to say the least but I was rather surprised to read that he only bagged this by 4000 votes.
Sure the premier is popular (compared to John Tory) but this is not a provincial election and that McGuinty has his own hands full running a province that is in economic hard times.
Ottawa area is not as full of single women working for the government. They have something weird happening on the outskirts - families with mortgages and SUVs that are not likely going to rejoice to the tune of higher fuel costs under Green Shaft.
It could happen, not as insane as I once thought given the Dion bandwagon (they barely have a jet so a bandwagon is a good visual) is so badly in need of repair.
08 09 10 AH
The sign war (in public space, granted) is clearly going to the Conservatives, and with a strong Green candidate in Dr. Ghanem who could wrench votes from the Libs, I think this riding has all the potential of being a steal for the Tories. With a spread of only around 4000 in the last election, and early visits from both Jason Kenney and John Baird it looks to be a definite Tory possibility. With that said, it may be TCTC at this juncture.
08 09 10 B.A.S.
I live in this riding. I have been surprised at how often I hear about the Conservative candidate Eli Salibi having canvassed in their neighbourhood. He seems to have been really active campaigning all over the riding. He doesn't have the name recognition of McGuinty and I don't know whether this will translate into votes, but he seems to be making a bigger impact on the ground than the so-called star candidate who ran last time.
08 09 09 Stray
Took a long walk last night looking for lawn signs. By that, I mean signs on individual lawns. I discount the signs on public property (although, seeing a Conservative sign in front of the strip mall that has, amongst other things, the constituency office of Premier McGuinty made me chuckle). Early in the campaign and the advantage is to David McGuinty. I saw only one sign for the Conservatives and one for the NDP (again, on people's lawns). Of course, this is still very early in the campaign.
08 02 10 Rebel
I must lean towards this riding going Liberal again. The Conservatives best chance in this riding was on the basis of a national sweep rather than a riding by riding battle. David McGuinty has too many pluses against a Conservative candidate still not well known. He has engineered a lot of press (unlike from 2004-6 when he was invisible) most of it showing a generally aggressive critic attacking the Conservatives on a mix of local or environmental issues. Now I think most of his attacks are pure blarney and he shows little or no statesmanlike behaviour but that of itself will not prevent him from at least holding onto the important advantage of being a McGuinty with his brother still basking in the post-2007 victory.
McGuinty can still be vulnerable to strong Green/NDP campaigns, both of which can attract support from otherwise strongly Liberal areas of the riding (the Greens attract votes from upper middle income Alta Vista, the NDP can get votes from the very poor Muslim polls as in 2004 with Monia Masigh). I don't know anything about the current Green candidate and there is not as yet an NDP candidate - so these two possible challenges to the bedrock Liberal vote are not yet established. The Conservatives should continue to nibble away at the Liberals in southern areas of the riding but at this point it is not apparent that they can convert the narrow margins in 2004 in blossom Park, South Keys etc to big margins in 2008...
If I was to guess, I would suggest a Liberal margin of about 6,500-7,000 or about 8%...
07 10 03 Rebel
I think it is far too early for any pundits to be tossing this riding to the Liberals, though I do agree with much of the substance that has been raised in prior posts.
First, David McGuinty in Opposition, is creating more of a persona for hismelf than from 2004-6, when he was an invisible member in the back benches of the Liberal government.
At the local level, the Conservative candidate will be a local businessman, Eli Salibi, who comes from the Greenboro part of the riding in the south end. He is a Lebanese Orthodox and will have an entree into a traditionally Liberal constituency with many members living in the riding (his church, that of Saint Elias and its hall is the venue for the huge Lebanese Food Festival each summer).
In 2006, the Conservatives came close, about 6% behind and have a good base in the riding's south end. They need to apply locally the strategic politics that the government is orchestrating to get their majority - a breakthrough in often ethnic-tinged middle and upper income suburban voters.
07 07 14 A.S.
A little curious that the Grits scored their best Ottawa-area share here--no, not because it's the Premier's seat and the Premier's bro', but because Ottawa South outshared traditionally stronger zones like Ottawa-Vanier (and against a star Tory, yet--though as overrated stars go, Allan Cutler was clearly the Monia Mazigh of 2006, and not even because they ran in the same riding). Perhaps it's all vindicated by how David McG's caucus star's risen since then--no mere carpetbagger off bro' or off John Manley, he; indeed, he's probably now the linchpin behind any a National Capital Region recovery for the federal Grits following the catastrophic losses over the past decade. On that count, I'll hand him the prediction--though he might survive the same way provincial Grits like Jim Bradley and Sean Conway remained islands in a decade-plus sea of Bob Rae and Mike Harris...
07 04 12 Full
Undoubtedly a Liberal win once again. Alan Cutler's star candidacy with strong support from Harper wasn't enough to take out McGuinty last time so odds are this stays Liberal.
07 04 08 Brian Appel
I'm with Lunn here. If Cutler couldn't take it in '06, then the Conservatives won't be winning this seat anytime soon. The McGuinty brothers will continue to hold Ottawa South for the time being.
07 04 06 Phil D.
I often pass through the riding. It has a large contingent of immigrants from the Middle East and Muslims, a rapidly growing segment of the population. And according to Canadian Muslim organizations, about 80% of Muslims vote Liberal and most of the rest NDP. This might eventually become as strong as a Scarborough seat for the Grits.
07 04 06
There is no way this riding is going to change. David McGuinty easily won in 2006 when the campaign was a disaster, even then against a star candidate. Now in 2007 when the campaign is likely to be better and no star candidate for the conservatives, there is no way McGuinty is going to lose. All Im going to say is, ‘Welcome back to the House of Commons, MP Mcguinty. Liberal Hold
07 04 02 M. Lunn
The Tories do have some strength in the Southern parts of the riding which are more suburban, but on the whole this is really too urban for them. If star candidate Allan Cutler couldn't take this, I doubt whoever they choose will. Besides whatever unpopularity the McGuinty name has elsewhere, it is reasonably popular here.

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