LeanTossup, a website that forecasts election outcomes, released the results of their most recent modelling, and they found that Rachael Harder, the MP for Lethbridge, could end up winning the next election with less than half of the popular vote.
Harder, who won the seat for the Conservative Party of Canada during the next election, could see her share of the popular vote whittled down to less than half, if data modelling used for the forecast ends up being accurate.
When Harder won her seat in October 2015, it was with 56.76% of the vote, beating out the second-place winner, NDP candidate Cheryl Meheden, who received 20.5%.
Four years later, in the 43rd Canadian general election, Harder drastically improved her win, taking 65.8% of the vote. This time, the NDP candidate—Shandi Bleiken—won with only 14.7% of the vote.
As of LeanTossup’s most recent modelling update—released earlier this week—Harder is projected to still win the riding, but her support could drop by as much as 20 percentage points.
The model ran 10,000 random simulations, which projected a 100% chance of the CPC winning the seat again. However, that win will come with just 47.4% of the vote. That would be, by far, Harder’s worst showing since being elected.
In fact, if Harder does win the next election with only 47.4% of the vote, it would be the worst results in Lethbridge for a conservative party since Deanne Gundlock won the seat for the Progressive Conservatives in 1968 with only 44.95% of the vote.
LeanTossup predicts that Harder’s biggest competitor—the still unnamed NDP candidate—could end up with 24.5% of the popular vote. It’d still be a loss and more than 20 points behind Harder, but it’d be the party’s second best showing in the riding on record.
The late Mark Sandliands—who represented the NDP in two back-to-back federal elections—managed to take home 27.24% of the vote against CPC candidate and eventual MP Jim Hillyer in the 2011 election.
If the next election mirrors this model’s forecast, the NDP will have increased their voter share by 10 points since 2019.
The Liberals were up about 4 points in the model, over the 2019 election, increasing from 13.6% to 17.8%, yet still in third place. The Liberals haven’t placed higher than third place since 2004.
338Canada, another election forecast website, has similar numbers for the CPC, but different outcomes for the runner-up parties.
They gave Harder odds of more than 99% to win the seat in the next federal election, but also indicated it would be without a majority share of the popular vote.
Their prediction for Harder has her winning with 48.2% of the vote, with a margin of error of 7 points, so as low as 41.2% and as high as 55.2%.
Unlike LeanTossup, however, 338Canada has the two runner-up parties neck and neck, with 21.4% for the NDP and 20.2% for the Liberals (and roughly a margin of error of 5 points for each). That means that those two candidates combined could capture enough of the vote to come within 6 points of Harder.
As I mentioned, the NDP have yet to announce a candidate, but the Liberal candidate is Devon Hargreaves, who ran for the Alberta Liberals in the 2019 provincial election. He’s a long-time Liberal supporter, as well as a community activist, best known for his work on advocating for various levels of government to ban conversion therapy.
Also announced in the race is Kimberley Dawn Hovan, who will be campaigning for the People’s Party of Canada. 338Canada has that party at only 3% of the vote, and LeanTossup has them at 7%. They received 1.6% of the vote in 2019.
Both websites project the Greens with only 3% of the vote. Like the NDP, the party still hasn’t announced their candidate for Lethbridge.