The blame game: Tim Hudak’s provincial election loss is the result of a bad campaign bus, among other things

The blame game: Tim Hudak’s provincial election loss is the result of a bad campaign bus, among other things

(Image: Ontario Chamber of Commerce) 

Our friends at Torontoist may have coined the best term for post–provincial election analysis: a post-boretem. By all accounts, this election wasn’t terribly exciting stuff. (Voter turnout is sufficient proof of that.) But there are a few other reasons things turned out the way they did last night—reasons Tim Hudak couldn’t make gains in Toronto, or Dalton McGuinty managed to stay in office despite his opponents having ample ammunition to turn the tide against him. With that in mind, we look at five theories offered up today by the Toronto press corps on what transpired last night—from the Rob Ford factor to broken-down campaign buses—after the jump.

1. The “Fear Ford Factor”
Two much-repeated truisms about this campaign were that the Progressive Conservatives would have to make serious gains in Toronto if they hoped to form a government, and that Rob Ford’s endorsement could be a kiss of death. But the association between Hudak and Ford in the minds of voters—endorsement or not—was probably a sufficient burden to help drag the PCs down in Toronto. If only Ford had held off on the whole budget cuts thing until after October 6. Source: Globe and Mail

2. People may not vote for you if you accuse them of being job-stealing foreigners
The Toronto Star reports that the PCs were convinced a proposed Liberal tax credit for businesses that hired new Canadians was a wedge issue just waiting to be exploited. So Hudak busied himself offending GTA voters, while the Liberals breathed a sigh of relief that they didn’t have to talk about high hydro bills or taxes. Source: Toronto Star

3. Hudak’s campaign bus was a lemon
A serious mechanical problem with Hudak’s tour bus early in the campaign forced him to temporarily use—seriously—Wayne Newton’s old ride. It’s always fun to engage in a bit of subjunctive history, so allow us to ponder for a moment how the campaign might have played out differently if poor Hudak hadn’t been hampered by a mechanical failure. Or, say, how Team Hudak could’ve somehow targeted the largely untapped Newton demographic. Source: Toronto Sun

4. Nobody successfully mobilized voters
It’s fitting that an election widely declared to be one of the most boring in recent memory also had the lowest turnout ever. Global reports that fewer than half of Ontario voters showed up at the polls yesterday—for the first time since 1867. Apparently, advanced polling and targeting students doesn’t matter if people aren’t fired up to begin with. Source: Global

5. Ontario is a moderate province that elects moderate leaders
There are a few things voters don’t like about McGuinty, but last night’s election should have been predictable for a province with a history of supporting moderate leaders. Even the rogues we occasionally elect are pushed toward the centre, says Thomas Walkom. It may not be terribly exciting, but consider it a long-standing provincial tradition. Source: Toronto Star

McGuinty’s Liberals win minority government in close-call finish [Toronto Star]
Walkom: The real progressive conservative wins a third term [Toronto Star]
Tory campaign hit bump early on [Toronto Sun]
Ford factor helps Liberals sweep Toronto [Globe and Mail]
McGuinty makes political history with hat trick [National Post]
Ontario’s re-elected premier to focus on economy [CBC]
Ontario voter turnout lowest since 1867 [Global]