Win, lose or draw? Byelection results suggest struggles ahead for major parties

All three parties made gains Monday night – and exposed some vulnerabilities

Is the glass half full or half empty?

Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats might all be asking themselves that question today after seeing the results from last night’s three federal byelections.

On one hand, each party scored a win and made some gains in popular support — the NDP in Burnaby South, the Conservatives in York–Simcoe and the Liberals in Outremont.

On the other, each party also suffered a hit in support in electoral battlegrounds key to their hopes for success in October’s federal vote.

Turnout was abysmal, even by byelection standards. It hit a new low in this session in York–Simcoe, where preliminary turnout figures stand at just 19.9 per cent.

Bad weather undoubtedly played a role in that, but neither Outremont nor Burnaby South had the same excuse. Turnout was just 21.4 per cent in Outremont and 29.9 per cent in Burnaby South — both below average levels for a byelection.

That makes it difficult to draw wider conclusions from the results but — notwithstanding the low turnout — the voting patterns still fit within the broader historical trends in each riding.

So what are the tea leaves saying?

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