This is continued from a previous post.
3. How blue does the GTA become?
This is the main piece of the puzzle for figuring out whether the Tories win a majority. My projection calls for 11 GTA seats that were Liberal in 2008 to turn Conservative this time (one of these is Vaughan, which is already Tory from a by-election). A strong Liberal performance in the GTA could limit losses to 3 or 4, while a weak one might lead them to a catastrophic 18-20-seat loss. There is a lot of variability here, so this will be an area to watch all night.
4. How many Liberal seats west of Greater Toronto?
The projection calls for the Liberals to carry only six of these, as they are projected to lose Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca (sure thing), Newton--North Delta (likely) and Vancouver South (very tight). Of the remaining six, Wascana and Yukon should be fairly safe, but Vancouver Centre (NDP and Green), London North Centre (Conservative) and Winnipeg South Centre (Conservative), while not tossups, could slip away. I think Vancouver Quadra is somewhere between the two groups in terms of precarity.
5. How docile are the Prairies?
The Prairies are the Conservatives' fortress, and not much is expected to change. The NDP's surge is expected to finally give them a seat in Saskatchewan (they got 25.5% of the vote, but no seats last time), and Winnipeg North will likely revert to the Dippers.
A few more holes, however, could appear in the Tory armour. The NDP has shots at gains in Palliser and Edmonton East, and while I have no clue what's going on in Edmonton--Sherwood Park, conservative Independent James Ford could unseat Tory incumbent Tim Uppal. If losses in Saskatchewan and Alberta are what prevent the Conservatives from reaching majority territory, Harper might feel betrayed.
6. How large is the NDP surge in BC?
We know that the NDP is up in BC. But while some polls suggest a modest gain that might only yield an extra seat or two, others have them nearing 40%, which could lead to a gain of eight seats (and a near, or possibly even complete Liberal wipeout). If the East plays out nearly as predicted, this is the question that will keep us up for a long time.
7. Can the Greens finally win a seat?
The Greens are mounting strong challenges in Saanich--Gulf Islands and Vancouver Centre. In the former, leader Elizabeth May is up 7% according to an internal poll released to the media. Can May really suck up virtually all of the Liberal and NDP votes? This one should be close. Vancouver Centre could be a three-way race between the Grits, Dippers and Greens. (The model says Liberals and NDP, but there's buzz that the Greens have a shot.) Heck, if they split the vote evenly, even the Tories might come close. What should be a safe Liberal riding could host the most exciting race tonight!
And there you have it, seven things to look out for. At 10pm, I will start a thread where you can post comments and where I will share my thoughts as results roll in. Happy election watching!