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| October 14, 2015

Acadie-Bathurst candidates: Riba Girouard-Riordon (CPC), Jason Godin (NDP), Serge Cormier (Liberal), Dominique Breau (Green)

What's happening in this battleground riding?

The retirement of Yvon Godin, the NDP MP for Acadie-Bathurst, has meant the riding now faces a potentially tight race in riding that has been safely NDP for years. Godin, who has served in a variety of critic portfolios and as whip, has held the seat since 1997. Though predictions are varied, that history has helped make Acadie-Bathurst a top priority for the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

"It's no secret. We've made Acadie-Bathurst a priority seat. It's an incumbent seat. We are encouraging people to get out and vote," the CLC's Danny Mallett told rabble in a phone interview.

Mallett went on to explain the CLC's campaign activities there as well as highlight Godin's profile.

."..[W]e're running a better choice campaign and we're running on issues. ...It's jobs, pensions. We've got a coordinator going into all the workplaces," he told rabble. Mallett expressed that Jason Godin is young and well-liked by the labour community. As well, Mallett noted that he is not related to Yvon Godin --- Jason Godin's opponent in the mayoral race for Maisonnette, N.B. was also a Godin.

In January, ThreeHundredEight.com suggested that the seat is a "potential Liberal pick-up." Currently, however, the site is projecting an NDP hold. The riding is not currently included on the StrategicVoting.ca list of swing districts, while Leadnow, a popular third party group which runs votetogether.ca, does not consider Acadie-Bathurst a swing riding. However, the site is focused on electoral districts where the Conservatives are most likely to win.

Liberal candidate Serge Cormier, when contacted by rabble, commented on his campaign and emphasized his belief in his chances of victory on October 19.

"I have a great team around me. It's been five months since I travel[led] the riding to explain our plan to our citizens and it's going very well," he wrote. Cormier went on to describe Liberal plans for infrastructure, housing and child-care policy.

Indirectly alluding to the New Democratic Party's softening levels of national poll support in recent weeks, Cormier asserted the inevitability of a Liberal government.

"I do not see the race in Acadie-Bathurst [as] a competitive race," he wrote, when asked to comment on his chances of winning. "The latest polls show that the Liberal party of Justin Trudeau will form the next government. It is time to get rid of the Stephen Harper government and Acadie-Bathurst cannot spend another 17 years in opposition."

As of October 11, Eric Grenier's popular Poll Tracker, which analyzes poll results, was providing a seat project of 134 Liberal, 119 Conservative and 80 NDP. Election Almanac, a site run by Nova Scotia teacher David MacDonald, maintains a detailed list of seat projections from Poll Tracker and other sites.

Importantly, opinion polls and reports of individual polls may vary widely in their quality, while academic political science has described "significant gaps in our understanding of the effects of polls on electoral outcomes[.]" More broadly, horserace journalism has been the subject of much criticism, though some research has suggested that poll reporting can be highly substantive and valuable.

Stephen Brunet, the Mayor of Bathurst, also expressed a desire for the area's representation in government, though he stopped short of making an explicit endorsement for any particular party. He also emphasized the importance of employment, infrastructure and tourism for Bathurst.

"My hope, as the Mayor of Bathurst, is that we finally get on government side. We have been in opposition for far too long, and it is my belief that we have not received our fair share of federal funding and projects over the last 12 years that I have been the Mayor," Brunet told rabble.

In June, a Globe and Mailanalysis found that federal infrastructure funding disproportionately favoured Conservative-held ridings.

NDP candidate Jason Godin and Green candidate Dominique Breau were also contacted over the weekend for commentary but a response has not yet been received. Dominic Cardy, the leader of the provincial NDP in New Brunswick, was also contacted. Yvon Godin had previously criticized Cardy for taking the provincial party too far to the right, while Cardy has expressed disagreement and criticized Godin for a lack of involvement in the provincial party.

If you're interested in what happened in this riding in the 2011 election, look no further:

CPC 7,456; 16.20 per cent

NDP 32,067; 69.69 per cent

Liberal 6,491; 14.11 per cent

rabble is looking closely at other battleground ridings. Read more here!

Cory Collins is a nonfiction writer, visual artist, poet and contributor to rabble.ca and other publications. His poetry, criticism and art work have appeared in the Island Review, Lemon Hound, The Telegram, Burnaby Now, Off the Coast and Cordite Poetry Review, while he has written on current events, economic news and political affairs for Aslan Media, People's World, Bee Culture and Canadian Dimension. He lives in St. John's and can be contacted via Twitter @coryGcollins or corycollins.ca.