Top 8 federal ridings to watch in Sask.

Here's a look at eight ridings that could swing on election day in Saskatchewan.

Experts point out regions where strategic voting could matter most

The Saskatchewan electoral map in 2015 looks more spread out, but that's because there are more all-urban ridings packed away in Regina and Saskatoon. (Elections Canada/CBC)

For voters who care more about who doesn't get into power than who does, strategic voting often comes into play.

"It's basically putting aside your preference, trying to find the potential winner, because you actually don't want one of the other parties to win," said Joe Garcea, political science professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

It's basically putting aside your preference, trying to find the potential winner...- Joe Garcea, University of Saskatchewan professor

In the 2015 federal election, Garcea said there are several swing ridings to watch for in Saskatchewan, particularly where the winning candidate was only elected by a few hundred votes.

Garcea said there are also some changes that could give the strategic voter more impact than ever. 

"As a result of the boundary changes as well in Saskatoon and Regina as well, it has changed the dynamics and potential based on the results of the last election for a particular party and especially the NDP to have some success," said Garcea. 

Here is a look at some swing ridings in the province where strategic voting may actually matter: 

1. Regina-Lewvan 

Regina-Lewvan is a new riding made up of parts of the former Palliser and Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre ridings within the city limits of Regina. The 2015 election is the first time the riding has been contested.

Trent Fraser is campaigning for the Conservatives. Liberal Louis Browne and New Democrat Erin Weir are also looking to win the riding.

In the 2011 federal election, Regina had four hybrid ridings, part urban and part rural. (Elections Canada/CBC)

2. Regina-Qu'Appelle

The Conservatives had a fairly healthy lead in this riding in 2011, but there are several factors that make it one to watch this time around for a potential NDP takeover.

Clockwise from top left: Andrew Scheer (Conservative), Nial Kuyek (NDP), Greg Chatterson (Green), and Della Anaquod (Liberal) are running in Regina-Qu'Appelle. (Abby Schneider/Nichole Huck)

The area around Regina has 13 First Nations reserves, and at least nine of them will have polling stations on election day.

Jim Harding lives in the riding and called in to CBC's Blue Sky radio show. Harding said if First Nations people and frustrated farmers head to the polls on election day, there is a chance Regina-Qu'Appelle could change hands.

"If you are going to strategic vote, like I am, you really need to know your riding," he said.

3. Regina-Wascana

Clockwise from top left: Michael Kram, Frances Simonson, Ralph Goodale and April Bourgeois. (Abby Schneider, NDP)

Liberal incumbent Ralph Goodale is looking to hold on to his seat in the riding formerly called Wascana  — the only non-Conservative riding in the province last election.

Hisham Abdel-Rahman is the creator of a website called Strategic Voting that advises people who to vote for if they want to have a strategic impact.

Abdel-Rahman said this one will likely go Liberal again this year based on his data. Goodale has held the role since 1993, but the Conservatives often come in as a close second.   

4. Saskatoon-West

The former riding Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar was the closest race in the province last election, with the Conservatives narrowly squeaking a win with less than 2 per cent more than the NDP runner-up. The Conservatives went to Ottawa with 14,652 votes compared to 14,114 for the NDP.

In 2015, Saskatoon has three all-urban ridings. (Elections Canada/CBC)

However, with new electoral boundaries dropping Rosetown and Biggar from the riding boundary, there is a high chance an urban riding may favour the progressive vote.

Current MP Kelly Block is running outside the city in Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek, so candidates aren't going up against an incumbent, either. 

"All three Saskatoon ridings are in play in terms of undecided voters making last-minute decisions or potentially strategic voting," said Joe Garcea, political scientist at the University of Regina. 

5. Saskatoon-University

Last election the Conservatives beat the second-place NDP by more than 6,500 votes in Saskatoon-Humboldt. New boundary lines mean this riding is urbanizing this election and dropping Humboldt.

NDP candidate Claire Card, Conservative candidate Brad Trost and Liberal candidate Cynthia Block appeared on Saskatoon Morning. (Rosalie Woloski/CBC)

This riding also encompasses the University of Saskatchewan, so new on-campus polling stations could lead to a larger youth vote, which tends to run more progressive. 

Candidates will be up against incumbent Brad Trost, who has been MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt since 2004.

6. Saskatoon-Grasswood

The riding formerly known as Blackstrap could be instrumental for strategic voters, as boundaries close in on the urban.

Similar to the other Saskatoon ridings, losing a large rural chunk of the electoral area makes this one also one to watch.

Additionally, Conservative candidate Kevin Waugh is not an incumbent, which leaves more space for other parties to take votes. 

7. Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan

The former Palliser riding was another close race between the NDP and Conservatives in 2011.

In 2015, Moose Jaw is the biggest community in the Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan riding. The riding has more rural territory than Palliser, but doesn't include any Regina neighbourhoods. (Elections Canada/CBC)

That year the NDP candidate lost by 766 votes, getting 2.3 per cent fewer votes than the winning candidate. The Conservatives won with 15,850, but the combined progressive vote was 17,876.

New candidates in the area will be going up against the Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre incumbent, Tom Lukiwski.

But Abdel-Rahman said ridings like this, where the progressive vote count was higher than the winning candidate count, are going to matter for strategic voters this election. 

8. Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

Last election the Conservatives squeaked out a win with just 794 more votes than the NDP. Both the Liberals and the Greens came in significantly lower than the other parties.

Abdel-Rahman says this is one for strategic voters to watch because of the close race last election, and because the progressive parties got more votes than the winning Conservatives.

It's also a riding where mobilization of First Nations voters could affect the outcome. NDP candidate Georgina Jolibois would have to beat incumbent Rob Clarke to win. 


  • A previous version of this story included incorrect information about the history of the Regina-Lewvan riding, which is actually a new riding for the 2015 election.
    Oct 16, 2015 7:26 PM CT


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