Le PLQ est en train de disparaître du 450 (sauf à Laval)


La banlieue de Montréal, aussi connue sous le nom "le 450", est la région électorale la plus volatile au Québec depuis plusieurs élections. En d'autres termes, c'est en général dans cette région que les partis varient le plus d'une élection à l'autre et peuvent perdre ou faire des gains de sièges.

Le Parti Libéral du Québec y a fait élire 15 députés en 2014. 6 à Laval et seulement 9 dans le reste du 450. En termes de sièges, ce n'est pas une si mauvaise performance. Le PLQ n'est de loin pas allé chercher sa majorité dans le 450 mais il n'avait non plus pas été complètement effacé de la carte.

Cependant, le PLQ baisse dans le 450 à chaque élection depuis 2003 en termes de pourcentages de votes. Je parle ici d'une tendance lourde et qui tient compte de la tendance à l'échelle de la province. Globalement, le PLQ a fait le yoyo depuis 2003, alternant en général entre être au-dessus des 40% (2003, 2008 et 2014) et juste en-dessus de 30% (2007, 2012). Son résultat dans le 450 fluctue aussi logiquement.

Afin d'isoler la tendance propre au 450 (sans Laval), j'ai pris les différences entre les pourcentages de voix dans cette région et à l'échelle de la province. Par exemple en 2014, le PLQ a obtenu 30% des votes sur la Rive-Nord et Rive-Sud, comparé à 41.5% à l'échelle de la province. Cela nous donne une différence de -11.5 points, ce qui est indiqué dans le graphique ci-dessus.

Comme vous pouvez le voir, la tendance est très nette pour le PLQ dans le 450. J'ai répété l'exercice pour tous les partis dans toutes les régions et c'est l'une des tendances les plus nettes depuis 2003 (dans bien des cas, il n'y a pas vraiment de tendance). Le 450 n'a jamais été la meilleure région pour le PLQ (même lors de la majorité de 2003) mais elle devient de plus en plus hostile à ce parti. Si vous voulez une autre façon de comprendre l'effet, sachez seulement qu'en 2008, le PLQ avait déjà obtenu environ 41-42% dans tous le Québec mais était à 35% dans le 450. Comparé à 2014, on voit une chute assez nette.

La CAQ (ADQ avant 2012) est la grande gagnante du déclin du PLQ. La tendance est particulièrement positive sur la Rive-Nord. Aussi, alors que la CAQ (ADQ) était traditionellement très volatile dans le 450 (donc elle baissait davantage qu'en moyenne), 2014 a été différent. En effet, alors que la CAQ perdait 4 points provincialement, elle ne baissait que de 3 dans le 450. Il s'agît d'un renforcement du parti de François Legault dans cette région clé (et est, en passant, l'une des raisons de la sous-estimation du nombre de sièges CAQ lors des projections lors de la dernière élection).

Heureusement pour le PLQ, la tendance est à la hausse à Laval (de +5.7 en 2003 à +11.4 en 2014), ce qui compense un peu ce qui arrive dans le reste du 450. Il reste que si ces tendances persistent pour la prochaine élection, le PLQ pourrait bien se retrouver dans une situation périlleuse. Ce sera d'autant plus le cas si le PLQ récolte moins de votes à l'échelle de la province. Dans ce cas-là, ce parti pourrait bien se retrouver avec très peu de sièges dans le 450 et cela pourrait lui coûter le pouvoir.

73% of Canadians want a referendum on electoral reform according to Ipsos poll

I already wrote in details why I was of the opinion that an electoral reform had to be adopted using a referendum. I believe the Liberals are currently using nonsense arguments to justify their position.

Since then, the Liberals have stacked the "all-parties committee" with 6 of their members, out of 10 (because hey, there is no irony in using the distortions of the system you are criticizing in order to get rid of this system). 3 Conservatives and 1 NDP complete it, along with 1 Green and 1 Bloc who don't have a vote. Beyond the absurdity to pretty much exclude the parties that have wanted electoral reform for a long time (NDP and Green), this just reinforces my suspicion that this committee will be completely useless. The government will spend months listening to people and ultimately go with the plan the Liberals like (and that most likely benefits them): the alternative vote. A system that might not even be an improvement over the current First Past The Post depending on how you look at it.

Also, Maryam Monsef, the Minister in charge of the reform, might just have used the absolute worst argument against a referendum: it's not inclusive! She said that half the people who would have been impacted by the BC and Ontario reforms didn't vote! This is so absurd. So what? If some people or groups don't even want to vote during a referendum, why would they vote in the next election when the chosen system would be in place? At some point we just need to accept the fact that some people voluntarily exclude themselves from the process.

The new poll from Ipsos shows that Canadians are not fooled. It's not surprising and it isn't the first time we've seen it (although, to be fair, a recent Ekos poll showed Canadian mostly divided on this question). It doesn't take a ph.d in political science to understand that it doesn't make sense for a party who won 39% of the vote to completely change something as fundamental as the electoral system. If they could find a consensus with (at least) the NDP and Green on which system to adopt, then maybe we could consider a referendum not necessary. But I highly doubt we'll see that. And stacking the committee with 6 Liberals sure doesn't send the right signal.

The Liberals are turning this whole process into a giant mess before it even started. If I were wearing my tinfoil hat, I'd say they are doing it on purpose because many Liberals have realized that the current system isn't that bad - hey, we just go a huge majority thanks to it!- and don't want electoral reform. Derailing the process is the ideal way to make it go away.

Look, one of the main arguments of the Liberals is that over 60% of the voters last election supported a party who wanted electoral reform (LPC, NDP and Green). Then why is holding a referendum on this question seen as so complicated? Do your committee, listen to everybody and their brothers and then do a referendum! And campaign during this referendum (along with the other parties supporting it) and you should win easily! That would give the new system a much greater legitimacy.

I said it before and I'll say it again: one of the worst moments in my life following politics was in 2009 when BC rejected the STV. So I know first hand that referendums can be cruel (hey, I "lost" all three referendums/plebiscites in BC since I live here!) but they are still the most democratic tool to implement major reforms. This poll shows that Canadians are very divided on whether the electoral system should be changed or not (it's pretty much 50-50) but it doesn't mean a referendum is doomed to fail.

Le départ PKP: une bonne chose pour le PQ?


Pierre Karl Péladeau a pris tout le monde par surprise hier en annonçant son départ de la direction du PQ (et de la vie politique) en raison de problèmes familiaux. Cela à peine un an après son élection triomphante (57% des voix) à la tête du parti souverainiste.

Au-delà du choc initial, il y a de bonnes raisons de penser que cette annonce est en fait une bonne nouvelle pour le Parti Québécois. J'irais jusqu'à dire que la personne la plus triste hier était probablement Philipe Couillard!

PKP à la tête du PQ n'a jamais vraiment eu beaucoup de sens. Un corporatiste qui veut faire de la souveraineté une priorité pour le PQ? Un gars qui a déjà été directement opposé aux syndicats, eux qui ont depuis longtemps été avec le PQ? La personne qui avait fait déraillé la campagne de Pauline Marois en 2014 avec son poing levé, demandant un pays? Soyons honnêtes, PKP avait été élu à la tête du PQ simplement en raison de son nom et du fait qu'il était vu comme une "superstar" qui pourrait faire gagner le PQ, un parti qui a comme meilleur résultat du 21e siècle une courte minorité en 2012. En d'autres mots: le sauveur dont le PQ avait besoin.

PKP n'a jamais semblé très à l'aise en politique. Sa campagne au leadership n'était pas bonne (ça n'avait pas d'importance, la course avait été remportée dès que PKP avait annoncé sa candidature). Il multipliait les gaffes. Et son court règne à la tête du PQ a été marqué par plusieurs problèmes, surtout avec la vieille garde de ce parti.

Mais il y avait un gros problème, le PQ sous PKP n'allait nulle part. Du moins selon les sondages. Après une courte (et petite) lune de miel après son élection, le PQ était repassé en 2e position.

Regardons les plus récents sondages. Selon le Crop du 21 avril, le PLQ était en tête des intentions de vote avec 33% (1 de plus qu'en mars), le PQ arrivait 2e avec 26% (-4), la CAQ juste derrière avec 25% (+1) et QS à 14%. Tout cela avec 61% d'insatisfaits! Quant au Leger du 24 mars, le PLQ y était à 33%, le PQ à 30%, la CAQ à 22% et QS à 10%. 65% d'insatisfaits.

Transposés en sièges via le modèle de projections, cela nous donne essentiellement les résultats suivants:

PLQ: 46-64 sièges; 86% de chances de gagner
PQ: 29-55; 14% de chances
CAQ: 14-35; 0.2% de chances
QS: 3-6

À première vue ce n'est pas si mauvais pour le PQ. Ce dernier avait aussi remporté confortablement la partielle dans Chicoutimi il y a deux semaines. Mais rappelons-nous que nous sommes à mi-mandat du gouvernment Couillard, un gouvernement avec plus de 60% d'insatisfaits et empiétré dans de multiples scandales. Le PLQ est aussi souvent sous-estimé dans les sondages. Or, malgré tout cela, le PLQ reste en tête! Le PQ se bagarre pour la 2e place avec la CAQ et continue de perdre des sièges à QS (qui est probablement surestimé, comme c'est souvent le cas en-dehors des campagnes électorales).

C'est vraiment là que le bât blesse (ou blessait) pour PKP. Et l'ex chef du PQ en était bien conscient. Bien sûr, nous ne sommes pas en période électorale et Justin Trudeau a bien démontré que les campagnes peuvent changer les opinions. Mais PKP n'était pas Trudeau. Raisonnablement, le PQ devrait être en tête dans les sondages. De plus, la cote de popularité de PKP n'était pas bien haute. 55% des répondants du dernier Leger étaient insatisfaits de son travail. Même en se limitant aux électeurs Péquiste, PKP n'était "qu'à" 79% de satisfaits, le plus faible résultat des 4 chefs des principaux partis (auprès de leurs partisans).

La résistance du PLQ est remarquable. Tant dans les intentions de vote provinciales que dans la partielle dans Chicoutimi. Les Libéraux sont vraiment toujours là. Mais ils le doivent en partie à une opposition faible. Si cet article porte sur PKP et le PQ, on ne devrait pas oublier que François Legault et la CAQ ne font pas mieux.

Si l'on regarde dans l'avenir, une campagne avec PKP aurait pu être catastrophique pour le PQ. Surtout si son chef allait vraiment parler de souveraineté à tout va. Le PLQ se réjouissait de cela. La peur d'un référendum avait complètement déraillé la campagne de Pauline Marois, alors imaginez contre PKP! Les électeurs plus à gauche se seraient reportés sur QS. En plus, PKP avait le mérite d'attirer certains électeurs CAQ, ce qui divisait l'opposition. À plus court terme, PKP avait raison de vouloir moderniser le parti mais sa façon de le faire n'était probablement pas optimale. Son inexpérience politique était un autre handicap. Finalement, il reste qu'une partie des électeurs traditionnels de ce parti n'étaient pas vraiment d'accord avec PKP. Ces membres acceptaient PKP car il devait les amener à la victoire, mais cette dernière semblait de plus plus en improbable.

Les membres du PQ vont devoir faire un choix. Mais s'ils choississent le bon candidat, ils pourraient relancer leur parti. Le PQ va aussi bénéficier d'une visibilité accrue dans les médias (ce qui peut être à double tranchant cependant). Et une fois choisi, le nouveau chef bénéficera d'un petit bonus traditionnel. Juste à temps pour préparer l'élection de 2018. Dans tous les cas, l'expérience PKP au PQ est maintenant une chose du passé. Qui lui succèdera? On peut imaginer qu'Alexandre Cloutier, qui avait terminé 2e l'année dernière, devrait être l'un des favoris. Cependant, il était aussi l'un des candidats les plus ouverts à organiser un autre référendum. Un enjeu pas forcément gagnant actuellement et une position qui permet au PLQ de faire une campagne facile. Si je devais donner un conseil, je dirais qu'unifier le mécontentement contre le gouvernement Libéral est bien plus prioritaire pour le PQ que de parler d'un autre référendum.

Let's stop this nonsense: a referendum on electoral reform is not only necessary, it is desirable

Canada has used the same electoral system for federal elections since 1867. All the provinces also still use the same system of "First Past The Post" (FPTP). For many Canadians, this is probably the only system they even know or are aware of. However, the (new) Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking to change or reform this system.

Justin Trudeau announced his plan before the campaign and repeated it as an electoral promise: 2015 would be the last election under the FPTP system. Which system would replace it would have to be decided later. But the Prime Minister doesn't seem to want to submit the proposed change to a national referendum. I believe that this decision is borderline non-democratic. At the very least, it's just plain wrong for multiple reasons. I'll go over them in this post.

Before I do however, I'd like to remind the readers that I have been one of the biggest supporters of electoral reform in this country. I have made this position clear on my blog many, many times. I truly despise FPTP and I personally think proportional representation is a far superior system. So do not think that this article is written by somebody who is simply trying to find ways to kill electoral reform. It's quite the opposite. And to add to this full disclosure, I voted Liberals last October. Not that it really mattered anyway in my urban Vancouver riding!

1. Domestic as well as international precedents make holding a referendum a reasonable expectation

Some provinces have attempted to change their electoral system. British Columbia held a referendum on the question in 2005. Almost 58% of the voters said "yes" to changing the system to the Single Transferable Vote (STV). However, the government of BC had set the threshold at a ridiculously high 60%. Since it was so close, they held another referendum four years later. That time around, voters chose the status quo by more than 60%. Why the sharp shift in public opinion? Well, for starter, the questions asked were not the same in both referendum (and the question does matter!). More generally, I guess electoral reform was simply not seen as important anymore. It must be noted that the proposed system, STV, is a relatively complex one and many voters didn't take the time to actually study it.

Ontario also held a referendum in 2007. Instead of the STV, the proposed system was the mixed member proportional representation (MMP), a system inspired by the German system where two different types of MLAs are elected: some with the current system and some with a proportional system. Ontarian rejected MMP by more than 63% of the votes.

PEI also rejected the MMP in 2005.

While all these referendums were unsuccessful (well, it's debatable for the first one in BC), they show that asking voters if they want to switch system is a well established precedent in this country. And these provinces are just following in the foot steps of other international examples such as New-Zealand (MMP, accepted in 1993, confirmed in 2011) or the UK in 2011 (who rejected the Alternative Vote).

All in all, it's quite difficult to find an example of a jurisdiction who changed its electoral system in the 21st century without asking its citizens.


2. The Liberals do not have a mandate to unilaterally change the system

This is one of the main arguments I always hear. Put simply, people will argue that since the Liberals won a majority last election while promising electoral reform, then they already got the mandate they need to do so. A variation of this argument (made necessary when people are reminded that the Liberals still "only" won 39.5% of the votes) is to add the votes of the LPC, NDP and Green (all in favour of reforming the system, although not necessarily with the same preferred alternative), we get over 62% of the voters who already supposedly "approved" an electoral reform.

This argument is absolute nonsense. It makes me genuinely mad when I hear or read it. And I also think a lot of the people using it are hypocrites. For instance, I'd like to see what they'd say if the Parti Québécois was to hold a "élection référendaire" where the PQ would interpret winning a majority of seats as a "OUI" to separate from Canada simply because it was one of their promises, along with what they'd do in education or public finance. And yes, I'm well aware that this would be illegal based on the ruling of the Supreme Court, but I'm talking about political legitimacy here, not legal one.

An election is not a referendum on every promise of the winning party. On top of that, electoral reform was never a major issue during the previous federal election. I dare you to find a poll where voters cited it as a major one.

A majority (or plurality, depending on whether the option "no opinion" is offered) also thinks the government should indeed keeps its promise to change the system. At the same time, Canadians seem almost perfectly divided regarding the need of a referendum. It's interesting to note, however, that only Liberal supporters (and, surprisingly, Bloc voters) think a referendum is not necessary. Even NDP voters (who we can think would usually support electoral reform) think asking Canadians is required. A different poll, conducted a couple of months ago, showed strong support for holding a referendum.

It's also important to note that even if you accept the principle that the Liberals have won a mandate to change the system, they never said which alternative they'd choose. It wasn't part of the electoral promise. And depending on whether they choose the STV, MMP or the Alternative Vote, it can have dramatic impacts of the outcome of the next election. Therefore, it's only fair to at least ask Canadians which alternative they prefer. On a personal note, I'd vote YES to the STV or MMP without any hesitation but I'd have to think about it if we were offered the Alternative Vote as this system might make the results even less proportional.


3. It creates a dangerous precedent

The electoral system is an essential part of the Canadian system. So much that some people argue the government can't change the system on its own and that it's similar to a Constitutional change. I won't enter this debate, but let's remember the outrage of many over the attempts by the previous PM Stephen Harper of reforming the Senate unilaterally. While he indeed didn't have the legal right to do so, let's realize that, for all intents and purposes, changes to the Senate would have far smaller consequences than changing the electoral system.

If Justin Trudeau changes the system unilaterally, what would prevent the next Prime Minister to do the same? Do we really want to have such a fundamental part of our democratic system at the mercy of the next guy winning a majority of the seats (with, most likely) a plurality of the votes?

At the very least, such big changes should require a super majority of the House of Commons. You don't want one party with 39.5% of the votes being able to rewrite the rules of the game. While the Conservatives will most likely never accept to change the electoral system, we should at least have a consensus among the other parties. I could tolerate the system to be changed if 65 or 70% of the MPs were to vote in favour. I'd still consider a referendum a much more democratic solution. And one that would guarantee the alternative not to be changed in 4 years for instance.


4. It's just plain wrong.

Yes the Liberal government can change the system without asking us. It can even do it without the support of the other parties if the current commission doesn't lead to a consensus opinion (which is quite likely if you ask me. I believe the Liberals will stick to the Alternative Vote/Instant Run-Off they favoured while the NDP will want proportional representation and the Conservatives won't want to change anything). But it simply shouldn't.

Justin Trudeau won the last election fair and square. The achievement is all the more impressive given that he started the campaign in third place. He ran a very good campaign. And a mostly positive one. He made some bold promises. So why would he now stop and be a coward? Why would he now start imposing a reform on people if he truly believes they might not want it?

I understand why many supporters of electoral reform don't want a referendum. We've seen that it has systematically failed in previous experiences in this country. This is why Justin Trudeau even said last week that "a referendum is a good way not to get electoral reform". While I commend the Prime Minister for not forgetting about this promise (as opposed to Jean Charest in Quebec in 2003 who, after promising a reform, kinda realized that the current system wasn't that bad), I feel truly disappointed in hearing the Prime Minister literally admitting that this is the best way to force this reform on Canadians.

In particular, I think he's forgetting one very important fact: no major party campaigned for the "YES" during the lost referendums in this country. I was already in BC when the STV got defeated. The referendum was held the same day as the general election. Which means this issue was never really put forward during the campaign. Both the BC Liberals and NDP didn't want to get actively involved in the campaign, including when asked during the debate. Given that the proposed system wasn't the wasn't the easiest one, it was pretty much impossible for the "YES" to win. Same thing in Ontario with an easier system.

What I'm saying here is that the situation could and would be very different if we were to hold a referendum just on this, with the Liberals (and I guess the NDP and Green) actively involved and trying to convince people. If people really want electoral reform, then asking them shouldn't be an issue.

Do not mix it with the next election though. This is an issue important enough that we should vote on it alone. And preferably before the next election. We still have time to do it the right way. Yes it might be objectively difficult to win this kind of referendums as many voters might not be fully informed (something that was very apparent in the reasons why BC voters rejected the STV) and therefore choosing the known status quo. But the Liberal government should see this as an opportunity to campaign and convince people, not as a reason to ignore people and decide for them.

I have wanted electoral reform for years, but I also want it done the right way. And this means a winning referendum. I was devastated when BC voters rejected the STV in 2009. That remains truly one of the worst moments I've had while being involved or following politics (side note: I've been on the losing side of every single referendum or plebiscite in BC since I moved here in 2008). I still think a referendum is the only way to go.

Élection partielle dans Chicoutimi: le PQ favori

Un premier billet depuis un bout de temps! Après la (très) longue campagne fédérale, j'avais décidé de faire une petite pause. Il faut dire que faire des projections hors des périodes électorales n'est pas des plus intéressants. Mais après ces quelques mois, il est temps de retourner au travail. J'ai plusieurs projets, incluant des modifications importantes au modèle afin de tenir compte du taux de participation. Mais en attendant,  l'élection partielle dans Chicoutimi représente l'occasion idéale pour relancer le blogue.

Si vous ne voulez que les chiffres et projections, les voici:


Maintenant, voici les explications.

Après 17 ans en politique, Stéphane Bédard avait démissionné en octobre dernier. Perdre un député de longue date n'est jamais une bonne nouvelle pour un parti. Mes estimations montrent que cela se traduit en moyenne par une perte de 5 points (peu importe les variations provinciales et régionales qui peuvent s'ajouter). Une moyenne qui cache cependant d'importantes variations d'un député à l'autre. La première tâche est ainsi de déterminer si Stéphane Bédard bénéficiait d'un effet personnel important.

Lors de la précédente élection générale, il avait remporté son siège avec 34.5% des votes, devant le PLQ à 29.5% et la CAQ à 17.5%.  Tout cela avec une participation de 70%, soit juste en-dessous de la moyenne provinciale. Mes projections en 2014 avaient bien Stéphane Bédard gagnant, mais avec une marge bien plus importante (40% contre 31% pour le PLQ). Tant le PQ et la CAQ étaient surestimés dans mes projections, probablement car je n'avais pas inclus (ou prévu) la bonne performance du candidat indépendant Marc Pettersen qui avait obtenu 11% des votes.

Par rapport à 2012, Stéphane Bédard avait chuté d'environ 10 points, soit bien davantage que le 6.6 points du PQ à l'échelle provinciale. Entre 2008 et 2012, il  avait cependant perdu un peu moins de pourcentages de votes que le PQ en moyenne.

Ainsi, s'il y avait un effet Bédard, cet effet n'était pas des plus forts. Je pense qu'appliquer mon estimation moyenne d'une perte de 5 points est raisonnable.

Le plus récent sondage Crop (fait entre le 17 et 21 mars) avait le PLQ devant à 32%, le PQ deuxième à 30%, la CAQ à 24% et QS à 11%. En se basant sur ces chiffres, et en incluant l'effet de la perte d'un député de longue date, les projections ont la candidate PQ largement en avance.

Il y a également eu deux sondages locaux faits par la firme Segma. Le premier, du 18 au 23 mars plaçait le PQ juste devant le PLQ. Le second, du 5 au 6 avril, voyait la candiate PLQ chuter lourdement et la candidate PQ confortablement devant. Est-ce l'effet de l'affaire Sam Hamad? Ou s'agît-il tout simplement d'une variation statistique normale? Étant données mes projections, j'aurais tendance à penser que le premier sondage surestimait le PLQ.

Au final, il semble que Mireille Jean va remplacer Stéphane Bédard comme députée de Chicoutimi et que le PQ conservera son siège. Tous les indicateurs montrent une victoire de la candidate péquiste.

Après, il reste que les élections partielles sont plus difficiles à prédire. La participation y est en général moindre et cela peut influencer les résultats. En particulier, il n'est pas rare de voir les pourcentages des tiers partis en-dessous des prédictions. Cela pourrait nuire à la CAQ ce soir. D'autre part, tel que mentionné ci-dessus, il y avait un candidat indépendant lors de l'élection générale. Le modèle redistribue ces votes proportiellement entre les autres partis mais cela constitue probablement une mauvaise hypothèse. En utilisant les résultats et projections de 2014, je dirais qu'il est raisonnable de penser que l'absence de Marc Pettersen est probablement une bonne nouvelle pour le PQ.

Au final, tout autre résultat qu'une victoire du PQ constituerait une surprise majeure. La question est davantage la marge de victoire. Je fixe la barre de succès pour le PQ à 40%. Quant au PLQ, terminer deuxième et passer la barre des 30% constituerait un bon résultat.

Performance of the polls for the 2015 federal election

Well, what a Liberal wave! Even the most optimistic projections didn't have the Liberals over 180. It wasn't a very good night for me (in terms of projections, not saying anything about the result itself) and I'll have to look into it. But it doesn't look good, there is no way around it.

When I wrote my final projections analysis, I said that while the poll average was showing a Liberal minority, they were essentially three possible sources of error or uncertainty. 1) Is the last minute momentum for the Liberals (seen in the very last Forum and Nanos) as well as the collapse of the NDP real? It turned out it was, especially in Quebec 2) Will the Conservative be underestimated? They were, slightly (one of the few successes for me last night!) and 3) What about Quebec? The race was so tight that pretty much anything could happen. And what happened is a collapse of the NDP.

For now, let's look at the polls and how close they were. Some did really well, others were quite off.



I calculated the average total absolute deviation. For each party, you take the absolute deviation as the official results minus the voting intentions in the polls, you sum it over the five parties and you average. I also calculated how many parties were within the margins of error for each poll. This is indicated by the color.

As we can see, the averages (adjusted or not) did better than most of the polls except the very last two. This is quite rare that the average doesn't do significantly better than the polls and this is really because of what appears to be a last minute collapse of the NDP with its voters going to the Liberals. By the way, my adjusted average had the Liberals slightly too low, but notice there are the same (or partially the same) Nanos poll twice here. If we count it once, the unadjusted was 37.1 and I was really close. My adjustments were really to boost the CPC a little bit and to decrease the Green and Bloc. All three were going in the right direction and made the adjusted average better.

I admit I'm usually skeptical of such last minute trends but it seemed to have been the case yesterday. Notice however that Nanos didn't have the NDP 10 points behind the Liberals in Quebec in its last poll. But I'll add the provincial comparisons later.

So bottom line, the very last polls got it right. Nanos got all five parties within the margins of error, although these were pretty wide given the small sample size. Still, very impressive. Forum did also very well and I hope it'll finally stop people from always thinking they are a bad firm. Forum also got most of the provincial numbers right, but I'll add to this later.

By the way, Mainstreet did well for the average total error but terrible for the number of parties within the margins of error. This is because of the insane sample size they had.

So, should we always only use last minute polls? I don't know. It's very risky to base the analysis entirely on 1 or 2 polls with small sample sizes. But it would have worked a lot better yesterday. Although Quebec, one of the biggest surprises of the night, would still not have been right as even last minute polls had the NDP much closer to the Liberals than what happened.

So polls did pretty well yesterday, at least at the national level. However, it shows that even small deviations (like for the NDP) can have dramatic impacts on the seat projections. You get one province wrong (like Quebec) and you are off by 20 seats.

I'll add later this week the analysis by province.

The 58 ridings that will decide the election

The 58 ridings that will decide the election
Here is the list of ridings where there is uncertainty. Specifically, I defined them as ridings where the winner was projected with less than 70% chance of winning. So that includes all the 2, 3 or 4-way races out there. And by experience, once your chances are above 70%, the model makes few mistakes (logically, duh).

There are 58 of them. As you can see, in most of the ridings, there is little to no uncertainty.

You can find them here or below.