Any single party that can get 40% of the electorate behind them wins. Federally or provincially. And the test isn't just that they can, its that no other party can.
This is why, sad and horrifying as the prospect is, that the Conservatives have an excellent chance of winning the next federal election. It's also why the Alberta NDP have an excellent chance of being reelected in four years and starting a new Alberta dynasty.
A three way tie means the Conservatives probably win federally. Of the two parties the NDP have a better chance of solidifying the progressive vote than the Liberals but very probably neither has the time to do it before October, The progressive split will probably continue and if it does, Harper wins. I will be delighted to be proven wrong but I'm afraid I'm probably right.
In Alberta, frustrated right wingers like to harp on the fact that 60% off Albertans didn't vote for the NDP. But of course the point is that no other single party could come close to that 40% the NDP won.
'Ah ha!' They say, but its only because the right wing is divided between the Wild Rose and the PCs.' Of course this is based on the highly questionable conclusion that Wild Rose and PC voters are generic right wingers who could end up following one party and this is of course nonsense. The real vitriol and bile in the recent Alberta election was that between PCs and Wild Rose. They are NOT interchangeable voters. The many reluctant progressives who supported the PCs to keep out the Wild Rose will throw their support to the NDP or the Liberals or the Alberta Party. That's assuming the PCs don't keep staggering on, and if they do they certainly won't win back the Wild Rose voters.
The electoral math favours the NDP, and so does the cyclical nature of petroleum prices. The NDP will probably be going into the next election on the heels of a boom, and voters reward governments lucky enough to match the boom bust cycle to the electoral cycle.
40% at least, and that's all any government needs barring bringing in proportional representation.sdnxry5z7g