number of non-runners is staggering:
Stephen Harper is losing incumbent lawmakers at one of the highest rates in decades, and history suggests that weighs heavily on the Canadian Prime Minister’s chances of winning another term in power later this year.
Of 166 Conservatives elected to the House of Commons during Harper’s first majority in 2011, at least 46 are not running for the party this fall. It’s the third-highest dropout rate since the Second World War and the highest since 1993, according to data compiled by Bloomberg…
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the first Prime Minister since Louis St. Laurent 1953 to seek reelection with such a high proportion of his caucus bowing out.
When next you read a poll, think of that number: 28% - nearly 1 in 3 – of elected Conservative MPs have decided not to contest the coming election.
They have, in a sense, voted with their feet.
What does that indicate regarding the fierceness of the support of PM Harper by the rank and file MPs? And what impact is this going to have on the Newbies, who have to fill the shoes of those missing in action Tory MPs?
Remember this fact:
In 1993, the Progressive Conservatives lost 40.8 percent of their incumbents and then 99 percent of their seats… Nine other postwar governments had a dropout rate of at least 20 percent, and seven went on to lose seats. The average dropout rate in the postwar period for a government that ended up losing seats was 21.8 percent, while Harper’s is a third higher than that.
Incumbency is powerful, true, but it takes an incumbent to wield it. Almost one out of three incumbent Conservative MPs are not exercising the power of incumbency this time.
This poses the question: Have the Conservative MPs – and other members of the Tory party – already ceded the election to the opposition parties?
And when it comes to the actual election campaign, how would you feel if almost one in three of your “winning” team decided to do something else, rather than fight in the trenches for your party?