Looking at the numbers tells us that there are several Bloc ridings that could easily be won by a federalist party, should they only combine forces.
In all but a handfull of Quebec ridings in the 2008 election the federalist parties garnered more votes than the Bloc, but because of vote-splitting the Bloc won over two-thirds of the seats with less than 40% of the vote.
As things stand now, they are set to win just about as many seats, but with support down to the 34% level, if the latest polls are to be believed.
The only problem about withdrawing a candidate in favour of another party is that you must be confident that the votes will go where you want them to go.
This was a no-brainer for the Conservatives in Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier, few of their supporters were apt to vote Liberal and even if some of their supporters bled to the Bloc, the vast majority went to Arthur.
Between the three major federalist parties, withdrawing a candidate in favour of another party's runner makes sense only for the Ndp and Liberals. It is natural that should an Ndp candidate stand down, support would move massively to the Liberals and vice-versa.
It'd be hard to predict where the Conservative support would go should they adopt a stand-down policy and perhaps many Conservatives would choose not to vote rather than vote Liberal or Ndp.
That being said, let's look at some Bloc ridings that would go federalist, would the NDP and Liberals cooperate by pulling one candidate or another. I'm using data from yesterday's projections as reported by Threehundredeight.com.
Here's a look at at ten ridings that could be be taken back from the Bloc by combining the Liberal and NDP vote;
There are another five or six ridings that are close.
While cooperation would seem to be mutually beneficial, it seems that the natural competitiveness makes it hard to put into practice.
In the hotly contested riding of Gatineau the Liberals are accused of trying to smear, Francoise Boivin, the former Liberal MP and now NDP candidate, who is actually leading the incumbent Bloc candidate.
Look up at the table and you'll see that if in fact Miss Boivin's support drops because of the allegations, it'll be the Bloc candidate who'll be the winner, even if the lost NDP vote goes to the Liberals!"New Democrat Leader Jack Layton accused the Liberals of playing dirty tricks against one of his star candidates in Quebec and called it a sign of desperation.........Montreal newspaper Le Devoir reported Tuesday that Boivin did not actually leave the party for ideological reasons as she has previously stated, but because she hired a woman to work in her office the Liberals say was her same-sex partner and then refused to acknowledge she had broken the rules." LINK
Cooperation? Oh well...... just dreaming.