Campaigning, door-knocking help explain why some Sask. ridings too close to call: political analyst
SASKATOON -- With some ridings being too close to call, political analyst Ken Coates said campaigning and door-knocking in the days leading to the provincial election may have contributed to those results.
“People expected the Saskatchewan Party to win, they expected the NDP to lose. The question is who is able to get their people to the polls. That will then determine the scale of the victory and the scale of the second place finish,” he said.
Coates noted that in this election, the Saskatchewan Party seemed to rely heavily on technology by sending out emails and making phone calls, whereas the NDP has traditionally done extensive door-knocking.
“We had no regular campaigning, we had no big rallies, we had no call to arms by the Premier coming up and saying let’s get 10,000 people to knock on every door in the city in the next five hours. There was none of that whatsoever,” he said.
Coates also highlighted something he noticed happening in the last week of the campaign.
“The Saskatchewan Party sort of got nervous a little bit about some of the polls that were suggesting that the gap was closing and basically said to their feet people, get out there and bring the vote in.”
That points to the “puzzling” results in some of the constituencies, specifically the ones where the NDP would typically dominate but are now in a “weak second place” to the Saskatchewan Party, Coates said.
Multiple ridings have yet to be called as the numbers are close and mail-in ballots still have to be counted, which could take a couple of days. NDP Leader Ryan Meili’s constituency, Saskatoon Meewasin, is among those.
Saskatchewan Party’s Don Morgan, who was re-elected Monday night in his riding of Saskatoon Southeast, said despite the challenges of campaigning during a pandemic, he and other candidates for the party still made an effort to get out not only in his constituency but also in Saskatoon Riversdale and Saskatoon Meewasin — two ridings where the NDP typically dominates.
“I mean we’re not making that as a specific target but taking seats and winning government is something we absolutely want to do,” Morgan said.
Meanwhile, Erika Ritchie, the newly elected NDP MLA for Saskatoon Nutana, said she is excited and proud of the campaign her party ran.
“There was just a lot of enthusiasm and energy that we had around our campaign and the platform that Ryan Meili put forward.”
In a statement to CTV News, the NDP said throughout its campaign, it remained committed to protecting the health and safety of its volunteers and the public, but with that came some challenges.
“COVID presented some unique challenges this campaign that did make it harder for people to volunteer because of safety reasons, and harder for us to contact our supporters, particularly those in multi-family dwellings.”
Coates said elections are about two things: getting people to believe in your platform and getting them to care enough to go out and vote.
Two things he said the Saskatchewan Party did well, especially when it came to urban ridings.
“I think you’ve got to give the Saskatchewan Party real credit for making a concerted effort to win the ridings in the urban areas and to avoid the splitting and bifurcation of Saskatchewan into a rural party and an urban party.”
Coates said the NDP may have focused too much on campaigning in larger cities and not enough on the smaller centres and rural areas.