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In the entire electoral history of Saskatchewan, on only six occasions has a party ever lost a seat it won by 2,500 votes in the previous election. That’s a mere 0.35 per cent of all electoral races ever held in Saskatchewan. (Interesting, Devine’s PC candidates did it four times in 1982 by knocking off NDP heavyweights including Roy Romanow. Before that, it happened once in 1938 and once in the Tommy Douglas sweep of 1944.)
The easy route for Meili’s NDP would be win the closest seats in 2016, but that would still require NDP taking seats it lost by more than 2,000 votes including The Battlefords (2,036),Regina Rochdale (2,215),Batoche (2,357),Saskatoon Silverspring-Sutherland (2,479), Saskatoon Northwest (2,510) and Saskatchewan Rivers (2,574).
Sure, it’s possible, but such a gigantic upset would surely require momentum the NDP isn’t seeing in today’s pre-election poll.
And according to the historic numbers, no incumbent governing party seeking re-election has ever held the advantage the Sask. Party now holds.
That advantage also begins with the number 31. It’s the number of seats (mostly rural, but also some city seats) that the Sask. Party won in 2016 by 2,500 votes or more. Again, only six times in history has a party lost a seat it won by 2,500 votes in the previous election.
Essentially, the numbers suggest the Sask. Party starting this campaign as if it has a 31-seat majority in its pocket. For the NDP, winning is nearly impossible.
Mandryk is the political columnist for the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix.