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Conservative majority gov?t predicted by Oracle Research

BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN [email protected] Sudbury pollster Paul Seccaspina is predicting that the Conservatives will win a slim majority in the Jan. 23 federal election.

Sudbury pollster Paul Seccaspina is predicting that the Conservatives will win a slim majority in the Jan. 23 federal election.

?I?m going to make the prediction that I don?t think the Harper team is going to make the did last time around,? says Seccaspina, president of Oracle Research.

?The cries of Paul Martin and the Liberals of how Stephen Harper may threaten national unity will not resonate this time. I think the Liberals are going to get slaughtered in Quebec.?

In the 2004 election, Ontarians turned around at the last minute and elected Liberals. That probably won?t happen this time, says Seccaspina.

?That?s my gut feeling, although it?s still too early to say,? he says. ?We could have a Conservative minority or a Liberal minority, but I?m going to go out on a limb and predict a slim Conservative majority.?

The pundit was dead-on with his forecast for the 2004 election. He predicted a Liberal minority.

Locally, Seccaspina thinks Liberal incumbents Diane Marleau and Ray Bonin are pretty safe. But they had better not underestimate the New Democrats, he says.

In 2004, Nickel Belt NDP candidate Claude Gravelle came within 3,000 votes of Bonin, and Sudbury NDP candidate Gerry McIntaggart came within 6,000 votes of Marleau.

?It?s probably more winnable in Nickel Belt for the NDP than Sudbury. Sudbury has always been pretty solidly Liberal,? he says.

?Nickel Belt has been a swing riding. It?s bounced back and forth. Former New Democrat MP John Rodriguez had it for a number of years, and then Bonin picked it up...Bonin?s personal popularity is still pretty high - probably higher than his party?s.?

Political junkies should also keep an eye on Timmins-James Bay, where NDP incumbent Charlie Angus won over the Liberals by a slim margin in the last election, he says.

Nipissing-Timiskaming, where Liberal incumbent Anthony Rota won by less than 2,000 votes over the Conservatives in 2004, is also worth watching.
One of the most important election issues to Sudburians is employment, says Seccaspina.

?This is a typical northern issue because we do live in a resource economy where things are cyclical,? he says.

?While the mining industry is prospering in Sudbury, there is still an undercurrent of people who are earning minimum wage. That?s something that continues to plague this area.?

Health care is an important issue both nationally and in Sudbury, says Seccaspina.

?It?s kind of a three-pronged issue. Number one, it?s a hospital that?s not completed, and there?s issues around when it will be completed and if it will be completed,? he says.

?Number two is the issue of waiting times and waiting lines and getting treatment. Number three is the issue of access to physicians and family doctors.?


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