Strategic voting needed to stop NDP, Liberal from vote splitting

TORONTO, April 29 /CNW/ - If polling firm Angus Reid has it right, tens of thousands of Canadians unhappy with five years of Stephen Harper government will go to the polls on Monday to vote against the Conservatives. 

"More than a third of Canadians - 37 per cent - are considering voting strategically in order to reduce the chances of a specific party forming the government, even if it means casting a ballot for a candidate they dislike," said the pollster.

"More than half of Liberals - 53 per cent - and more than two-in-five NDP supporters - 43 per cent - are thinking of this option on election day."

Catch 22 Harper Conservatives and other similar groups have been working full out since the election was called on March 26, asking people to vote strategically - in favor of the candidate in many ridings that who has the best chance of defeating the Conservative candidate so that Stephen Harper will not win a majority in Parliament.

Political scientist Alvin Finkel believes that strategic voting can help defeat Harper. " Strategic voting remains necessary to determine who can keep the Tories from winning in key ridings, and so the Catch 22 choices remain crucial to insuring that we do not wake up on May 3 to a majority Tory government", said Finkel, from the Centre for State and Legal Studies at Athabaska University in Alberta.

The climb of the NDP in the polls is remarkable, with much of the gain due to the collapse of the Bloc in Quebec and Jack Layton's strong performances in both televised debates. Friday's Nanos Research survey had the NDP at 31.2 per cent - only five points behind the Conservatives, who were at 36.4.

If the trend holds, the NDP will finish in second place, well ahead of the Liberals.

However, Catch 22 strategist Nick Fillmore says that, "voters must keep our eye on the prize on Monday and not lose sight of doing what it takes to make sure that Harper does not win a majority." If anyone needs a reminder of how far Harper is off the mark when it comes to the interests of the majority of Canadians, have a look at these articles:

With only two crucial campaigning days left, Harper's Conservatives are at 36.4 per cent in Friday's Nanos Research opinion survey - dangerously close to a majority government should opposition parties split the vote in too many ridings.

Alvin Finkel has a warning. "While I am as excited as anyone about the NDP surge, it is clear from the polls that the chances of Canadians electing a majority of Harper Conservatives with about 38 percent of the vote remain high.

"If Harper has a majority, it won't matter much which party forms the official opposition. We'll see a rightward shift in Canadian federal policy of the kind that Britain experienced under Margaret Thatcher and from which it has never recovered, regardless of which party has formed government."

The greatest danger is that, if the NDP gains votes at the expense of the Liberals, the two parties will end up seriously splitting the vote in a number of ridings. This would allow the Conservatives to take advantage of the weakness in Canada's outdated electoral system and sneak up the middle and win seats.

Therefore, voters in Catch 22 target ridings need to go out and support the Liberals in ridings where Catch 22 is recommending that Liberals have the best chance of defeating Conservatives. 

Here are 16 key ridings where we recommend that voters support the Liberals:

Vancouver South
Kitchener Centre
Eglinton Lawrence
York Centre
Oak Ridges Markham
West Nova
Brampton Springdale
Brampton West
Mississauga South
Random-Burin-St. Georges

During these closing days of the campaign, Catch 22 has stepped up its campaigning by phoning tens of thousands of voters in key ridings across the country. They have also proposed that Saturday, April 30 be designated as "Heave Steve Day" and is encouraging local activity in all of its recommended ridings.

On Friday, Catch 22 changed the designation of one riding - Beauport Limiloi in Quebec, from a Bloc recommendation to "too close to call". This decision was based on the NDP surge in the Quebec City region.



SOURCE Catch 22

For further information:

Catch 22 Toll Free Media Line: 1-855-228-2488

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