NDP voters without commitment?


Some people argued that the NDP will suffer the same fate as the Lib-Demm in the last UK elections. In particular, because NDP supporters are less commited and more likely to switch their vote, they will end up performing under what the polls predicted. It was true most of the campaign.
However, look at this graph from the latest Ekos poll. The NDP voters are actually more likely to vote now, as compared with the Liberals. We find similar evidence in the latest Angus-Reid poll. So, another effect of the orange wave... And another reason to worry for the Liberals.

By the way, I'm busy making the final projections that should be up Sunday morning, and for sure Sunday evening.

Note about Ontario

Note about Ontario
Some readers yesterday rightfully pointed out the weird projections in Guelph where the model has the NDP closely winning against the Tories. While I acknowledge the fact it would require a major swing for the NDP to win this riding, I have to mention one technicality about the model.

In Ontario, my model (with all the variables) is able to explain around 70% of the riding-level swing for the CPC and LPC. This is not as good as Quebec but still pretty good (remember, the only actual source of information is the provincial swing). It means I would have made around 8-11 mistakes during the last two elections. However, the NDP is tricky because this party experienced almost no provincial swing. Indeed, the party of Jack Layton moved from 18.1% in 04, to 19.4% in 06 and back to 18.2% in 08. It's very small and not a good source of variation (which is required for the model). I can only explain around 30% of the variation. I'm not trying to find excuses, I'm just explaining clearly where the model works best and where it works less well.

When this is the case, I usually switch to a uniform swing model for the NDP (it is also the case in the Prairies). A linear swing model is les sophisticated but has been proven as providing an overall good approximation of the actual results (this is for instance what Ekos is using). It's more "extrapolation-friendly". Nevertheless, if you do that, the NDP would gain only one seat in Ontario, despite a provincial swing of 5-points (currently; wait two more days and if the trend goes on, it's gonna be 10-points lol).

So I'm left with two choices: I can go safe but have the NDP gaining almost nothing, or I can go with the model and have more gains. Since I believe the NDP will indeed gain more than one riding, I'm taking the chance to miss-identify those ridings. So yes, maybe it's not gonna be Guelph, maybe the 5-points swing will be concentrated in another region or riding, but the overall results for Ontario should be the NDP at 21-23 seats, not 18. It makes more sense to me.

Again, for the final projections I'll carefully look at various models and decide which one is best suited. But for now on, I'll stick to the original model and give Guelph to the NDP. You have to admit that it's not the most unlikely riding to switch! lol

Quelques commentaires sur les sondages CROP dans la région de Québec

Quelques commentaires sur les sondages CROP dans la région de Québec
Note to my English readers: since I firmly believe in a bilingual Canada and since this post is about Quebec, I decided to write it in french. You can use Google translate if you really have to, or better, try to read it anyway. Posts in french will remain the exception.

Nous avons droit à huit sondages dans des comtés de la région de Québec et du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Nous pouvons ainsi les comparer aux projections. Bien sûr, ces sondages par comté sont toujours moins fiables. Je ne ferai pas une comparaison comté par comté, mais par région en général.

Dans la région de la ville de Québec, les projections semblent marcher assez bien. Le vote Bloc semble un peu sous-estimé. Il semblerait que ce parti mange des votes aux Conservateurs. Mais en règle général, le modèle a le NPD projeté correctement. C'est une bonne nouvelle.

Dans l'autre région, le modèle ne semble simplement pas fonctionner. Ne nous voilons pas la face, les deux sondages dans Jonquière-Alma et Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean montrent une bonne progression du NPD, alors que mon modèle prévoit une très faible hausse dans ce coin de la province. Je dois m'avouer très surpris, surtout pour le comté de Blackburn. En 2008, le NPD n'avait récolté que 4.88% des votes! Bien en-dessous de la moyenne provinciale. Alors de voir le NPD sondé à 32% est assez étrange vu qu'historiquement, le "swing" provincial du NPD était réduit dans Jonquière-Alma. Mais bon, voilà ce qui arrive lors de vagues et de changements historiques! Cependant, je me souviens de sondages plaçant Blackburn perdant en 2008 et au final, il avait remporté la victoire facilement.

Finalement, dans Chicoutimi-Le-Fjord, le NPD n'est pas dans la course (telle que projeté par le modèle) mais les Conservateurs semblent bien plus bas que prévus. Si cela est vrai (ainsi que dans la région de Québec), il y a une chance que le PCC perde beaucoup de sièges le 2 mai. Un autre obstacle pour l'obtention de la majorité. Par ailleurs, le fait que le Bloc soit en meilleure posture que prévue à Québec avait déjà été remarqué ici.

Est-ce que je devrais manuellement modifier le modèle, en particulier dans le Nord-Est du Québec? Peut-être, mais je ne pense pas le faire. Je suis ok si mon modèle se trompe dans quelques comtés après tout, même quelques régions au Québec!

April 28th: new projections show NDP as official opposition

Harris-Decima finally released a new poll. They were pretty much the only pollster which didn't publish a poll since the NDP's surge. So I updated the projections with this new HD, one new Nanos and one new Ekos (by the way, we can see that voting intentions are becoming stable in Ekos, which is a really good news for the projections!).

As you can see, the NDP is now projected solidly in second place. This is the first time it happens when using an average of most recent polls. As for the Bloc, be carefull as the current projections have this party winning only 6 out of 17 close races. But the trend is definitely there for this party and it's starting to look ugly.

If we actually get these results, the NDP couldn't simply rely on the support of the Liberals in order to govern. On the other hand, Harper would need "only" the Bloc. Speaking of the Conservatives, the majority is still technically possible but it's becoming more and more difficult. Rifht now, they would basically need to win 95% of the close races they are involved in. I personally don't think they will secure a majority anymore. If anything, if you look at the trend in Ekos, AR or Nanos, you see the NDP rising way too high for that. Especially since the Liberals will not finish third with only 37 seats like the NDP last time. So I think the new parliament will have an opposition at least as important as last time. What does it mean for Harper? Well I don't know. The current projections would probably mean he remains PM and tries to govern. But if the CPC's numbers start to fall a little bit more and Harper actually loses seats (along with the NDP+LPC having the majority), I think we would be in for a lot of instability. These are all speculations of course. By the way, I believe that people wouldn't mind so much having the NDP forming the government in the event that the Tories would fall quickly. I think the difference with the 2008 coalition is that, at that time, the Conservatives did win the election and the Liberals were the clear losers. But this time around, the moral winner would probably be the NDP. This poll from Ekos kinda confirms my thoughts.

Riding-by-riding projections are here.

Let me know what you think: if Harper gets a (even reduced) minority and NDP+LPC have the majority, what kind of government do we have within the first three months?

Polls in two ridings in Quebec: good news for the model (and the NDP)

Polls in two ridings in Quebec: good news for the model (and the NDP)
A friend of mine just let me know about these two polls conducted in the ridings of Lévis-Bellechasse and Lotbinière-Chute-de-la-Chaudière. They both show the NDP rising but still 2nd or 3rd. However, the polls were conducted between April 12th and 17th, so before the main surge.

So in order to see if my model was correct, we need to compare the projections made with polls released during the same period. I found back the pdf for the projection of April 20th. The provincial percentages were:

CPC: 19.9%
LPC: 19%
NDP: 22.1%
Bloc: 33.8%

Using these, here are the projections for the two ridings.

Lévis-Bellechasse

Poll

Proj

CPC

37.7%

45.5%

LPC

5.9%

8.5%

NDP

22.9%

22.3%

Green

6.4%

2.9%

Bloc

25.5%

20.8%

Lotbinière-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière

Poll

Proj

CPC

35.4%

46.9%

LPC

11.5%

5.9%

NDP

23.3%

24.7%

Green

1.1%

2.8%

Bloc

28.7%

19.8%


The Bloc was a little bit underestimated for the second riding, but overall I'm pretty satisfied (especially since the margins of errors are big for these two polls) The NDP was spot on in particular!

Bloc supporters shouldn't be too happy though, as I've said, these polls and projections were valid for before the big surge. If you look at the current projections, you see the Bloc in third and way behind.

Why I think the NDP's surge is real

Why I think the NDP's surge is real
Today, we've got a new poll from Forum Research. With a sample size of more than 3000 (I'm starting to really like all these polls with large samples), they show... that the Tories only have a 3-points lead over the NDP nationally! Completely crazy but kind of consistent with the last polls from Ekos and Angus-Reid. So before talking projections, I would like to explain why I think the surge is real and why I don't believe that the NDP will suffer the same fate as the Lib-Dem did in the 2010 UK election. For those who don't know, the Lib-Dem got a big boost after the (first ever in this country) tv debate and was polled to be around 30% all campaign long. But then, on election day, they only increased their share of votes from 23 to 24% and actually lost 5 seats! So here are the reasons:

1. I believe in polls.

Obviously I wouldn't spend my time studying every single poll published if I thought polls were wrong! While I acknowledge the limits and problems of polls, I still trust them. In particular, when I see that every single poll shows the same thing, I will not start tweaking the vote intentions because the NDP voters might not show up to actually cast their ballots. So, I trust polls and we have enough of them to get a pretty accurate idea of the voting intentions.

2. The polls were NOT that wrong in the UK.

Check this pdf (I'll refer to it again later in this post) on page 6, you see that poll did indeed overestimate the Lib-Dem, but not by 10-points. But the Lib-Dem was not, in average, projected to gain 10-points, or 25 like this is currently the case in Quebec for the NDP. So yes, it is possible the NDP is currently being overestimated, but don't believe the NDP will end up at 19% on May 2nd or at 15% in Quebec.

3. The surge has come (so far) from Quebec.

Recent polls start showing a NDP surge outside of Quebec (in the Atlantic and in Ontario in particular) but it's nothing compared to the surge in Quebec. And because we know that Quebec can work by waves, I trust this surge more. Specifically, we've seen that more than once in this province. In 2006, Harper started the campaign at 5% and ended up at 25% with 11 MPs. The surge happened during the Christmas break. In 2007, the ADQ started with 4 MLAs and 15% in the polls. They were supposed to be doomed after this election. At the end? The ADQ rose all campaign long, up to 25% and actually got as much as 30% on Election Day! They got 39 MLAs and fell 5 seats short to be the government! So it is well possible to see the NDP climbing in the mid 30's.

4. The vote commitment of NDP supporters is softer but also has a lot of potential with the second choices.

Check the pdf and you'll see that the Lib-Dem voters were less commited with as much as 34% saying they might change their mind. In Canada, currently, the Tories have the highest level of commitment according to Angus-Reid. If the commitment is above 80% for the CPC' it's only around 70% for both the Liberals and NDP. But at the same time, we get that 80% of Bloc supporters are sure to vote for the Bloc. 3 weeks ago, you would also have got the same level of commitment from the Bloc. Yet, 3 weeks later, the Bloc has fallen from 35% to 25%... On top of that, second choices from Ekos show the NDP is the main second choice of every party's supporters, in particular the Bloc and Liberals (as much as 53%!). Therefore, among the 30% of un-sure Liberal voters, you could well have a lot of them switching to the NDP. On the other hand, the NDP's second choices are more diversified. Therefore, the NDP might lose votes to the Tories, Green and Liberals, while the Grits would switch mostly to the NDP. The net effect would be a pretty stable NDP.

5. The Lib-Dem didn't have the edge on any policy issues, the NDP does.

If you still look at the pdf document, you see that the Lib-Dem were high only because of their leader and his performance during the (first) debate. They weren't seen as having the best policies for any big issues. It is different here in Canada. First of all, I believe that the debat had a weirdest potential impact in the UK since it was the first time such a debate was broadcasted on tv. Secondly, Jack Layton is of course not seen as the best to handle the economy, but he has the edge for health care, as shown here. Also, if you look at the leadership index from Nanos for instance, you'll see that Layton has almost always outperformed Ignatieff. This wasn't the case for Nick Clegg and the Lib-Dem.

So all that to say that I don't think the NDP will suffer a big disapointment on May 2nd. Yes, they might and probably will be below some of the crazy scores we've seen in some polls, but they will not be at 19%.

Speaking of crazy numbers, if I was to use only the Forum poll, that would give me:

CPC: 130
LPC: 62
NDP: 107
Green: 1 (yes May would win)
Bloc: 8

Looks crazy doesn't it? Well, this is only one poll but as I've said before, the surge is still occuring (adding the Forum's numbers to the latest projections would give 70 seats to the Liberals and 69 to the NDP, +15 if we compare to the projections from april 26th! So one more day and the NDP will be projected to finish second). I could get very similar projections by using the last polls from Ekos, Angus-Reid and Forum, which would combine for a 10k sample size...

Elizabeth May leading in her riding?

Elizabeth May leading in her riding?
A short post where I thought I would let you know of this poll conducted in the riding of Saanish-Gulf Islands where Elizabeth May is running. She is projected to lead 45% to 38%, Howeber, this is a poll with only 398 respondents and conducted by a firm that I never heard of. If you apply the margins of errors, they are both statistically tied.

It's possible that May is indeed leading though, but that would mean that she would benefit from a huge boost, because the current polls don't put the Green that high in BC (or anywhere in Canada actually). I'm already giving May a boost of 20-points, taken mostly from the NDP. So I don't think I'll change that and give us an even bigger boost, even though she's is currently projected to lose this riding in my projections. If you missed it, here is where I explain how I estimated the Elizabeth May effect.

No matter the polls or projections, this will likely provide us with one last close race to follow during election night. Although, depending on the outcome, we might be more concerned with what type of government we'll get.

Making seat projections when a surge is occuring

As a polls and political junkie, I'm of course very excited by the recent turn of events we've seen during this campaign. However, I have to admit that making seat projections for this campaign will be difficult. First of all, polls give us a snapshot of the situation, but with 2-5 days of delay. This delay can clearly be seen by comparing polls from Ekos to Nanos for instance. Because Nanos uses a rolling panel, it takes longer to see the surge occuring. For projections, by using recent polls, there is the risk of being behind or outdated already. It is especially the case in Quebec where each new poll seems to give 1 more point to the NDP and one less to the Bloc. Right now, by simply updating the list of polls I'm using to calculate the average, I'm basically in a situation where the NDP gains 2-3 seats every day in Quebec.

So let's try to only use the four most recent polls: last one from Nanos, last two from Ekos and the recently released Angus-Reid. Ekos and AR have in common to place the NDP way ahead in Quebec and strong second nationally. They all place the NDP first in Quebec though. These four polls provide an overall sample size of above 8000, which is quite good. Here are the results:
And if it wasn't for Nanos who has the NDP lower in Ontario, the NDP could even reach above 90 seats. Notice how this scenario would lead to another incredibly unstable parliament where LPC+NPD would fall just short of a majority (by one seat actually if you elect the Speaker from the other party).

Ekos and AR also show a NDP surge outside of Quebec. In Ontario for instance, it's very interesting as the NDP is currently taking votes from both the Tories and the Grits. So again, NDP's surge doesn't mean Conservatives majority, not at all. We'll have to wait and see if it's confirmed elsewhere. But it seems more and more likely that the Liberals could well finish third, especially since they starting dipping below 30% in Ontario. For the Tories, if they can keep their support in this province around 38-39%, the NDP might split some seats for them. However, this is true only if the NDP grabs 2-3 points from the Grits and reach 21-22%. As soon as they go above that, every point switched from the LPC to the NDP leads to stable seat projections. For instance, try to input AR's numbers only and you'll see that the Tories would lose a lot of seats in Ontario.
So again, I said it many times on this blog but I'm not a big believer of the vote splitting. Those who say that are forgetting how many ridings are a race between CPC and NPD.

But you can see how difficult making projections can be right now. Simply compare these projections to the ones published yesterday, using other polls as well. If you believe the surge is mostly over, then by simply adding new polls this week, we should be ok. But if it isn't, we'll likely have the wrong percentages and therefore the wrong seat projections. On top of that, the swings are so large and weird that they push the model to its limit. The fact is that we never saw the NDP around 28% nationally or above 30% in Quebec. So my model, based heavily on estimation, might be in trouble lol rest assure though that for my final projections, I'll first compare my model to other ones. I have many excel files with many types of models (uniform, proportional, etc). So I can always see if one model predicts something very different and look into the details. But right now, I think the biggest challenge isn't that much to convert percentages into seats, but rather to have an idea of what the percentages will be. Hopefully things will settle down soon and people will spend the week-end watching the Royal wedding and not changing their minds!

By the way, I'd encourage everyone to publish, (by comments) their own projections (using the simulator under the tab "make your own projections"), based on the percentages you think will happen on May 2nd. That would make an interesting thread.

April 26th: NDP rising, Tories stable (surprisingly)

These are probably my last projections until the final ones, which should be published Saturday or Sunday. The big story is of course the constant and continuous rise of the NDP that is now projected at 55 seats, including 13 in Quebec. So let's talk a little bit more about la Belle Province.

Some of you would probably think I'm too generous with Jack Layton in Quebec or that I'm using the 2-3 polls placing the NDP above 30% in this province. Well, you would be wrong. These projections are based on 10 polls, all released and conducted within the past 2 weeks. I have two Nanos (I don't use more Nanos because I don't want to bias my average with too many polls from the same pollster), two Ekos (including the crazy one from yesterday, with a sample size of 3000), one Angus-Reid, one Forum, one Leger, one Ipsos and one from Environics. Also, for Quebec only, I have the Crop one. Among these polls, only one, yes one, has the NDP below 20% (Harris-Decima and its probably because it's a 2-weeks poll). I actually have 6 polls where the NDP is first in Quebec. So all that to say that I'm using quite a lot of recent polls. Therefore, it's only normal for the upward trend for this party to be reflected in terms of seats. Also, the NDP is currently on the edge of sweeping Quebec. Indeed, they are involved (or competitive) in 23 ridings in Quebec, of which they only win 6 (the Bloc is 14 out of 20). It's a fairly low convertion ratio, but I'm kinda ok with it as the NDP will still have to get its vote out on May 2nd. However, if the trend goes on this week, the NDP will soon be projected to be around 35% in Quebec and would win a lot more seats. For instance, if I was to use only the poll from Ekos published yesterday, I would get the NDP at 50 seats in Quebec and 99 nationally! And remember, it is a poll with 3000 sample size, therefore we have quite accurate estimates in each province. The orange wave will be THE thing to look for on May 2nd. Will it happen or will it be a burst like the Lib-Dem during the latest UK elections? I don't know. The fact the wave is happening in Quebec makes me believe it will indeed happen.

By the way, if the NDP does finish first in Quebec, with around 35% of the votes, this party has a real chance at finishing second nationally. If the Conservatives fall short of a majority (or even lose some seats), we could have a very unstable parliament. The Liberals would have to decide who they want to support. I'm guessing by that time, they woud also be looking for a new leader and Bob Rae looks to be the frontrunner (a former leader of the NDP in Ontario...). Could this mean that Harper would fall quickly and be replaced by a NDP government? And would it be a NDP-only or a NDP-led coalition? Not sure Jack Layton would feel very generous to a party who said no twice to a coalition (under Ignatieff), but a new leader could fix that. It's all political fiction of course, but the fact is: it's is possible! In particular, if NDP+LPC=majority without the Bloc, a NDP government could well become reality. You don't even need to run crazy simulations, just use a poll with 3000 interviews...

For the Conservatives, it's quite stable and quiet. They are mostly unaffected by the NDP's surge in Quebec. And since the NDP is rising only marginally elsewhere (especially in Ontario), the Tories are still projected around 145 seats. It's quite amazing how stable they are actually. For instance in Ontario, they have been projected at 41% for the last 3 weeks. Every time a poll shows up where the CPC is higher than that, there is another poll placing them below this number (at some point, I even double checked if my excel spreadsheet was woriking properly as I would not see any change for the CPC in Ontario!). A majority is still possible though, but they need to gain many seats in Ontario (in the GTA in particular). Not sure if they can really grab enough seats there though, especially since they don't enjoy a large provincial swing. If they were to shift their support to the GTA (and thus gain seats there), that would necessarily mean some losses elsewhere in Ontario. As I've said before, they also need the Atlantic, but recent polls (especially In NF-L) don't show this region to be a source of many seats for them.

For the Liberals and Michael Ignatieff, things are ugly. In Quebec they are down as some federalist are switching to the NDP. In Ontario, while they were very stable around 34% (like the Tories), they have started slipping to 32% recently. And they must pray for the NDP's surge to be contained in Quebec. While Ignatieff did pretty good during the first two weeks, the impact of its policies announcements are fading away. On the other hand, his less than stellar performance at the English debate still has a negative impact on its numbers. Just look at the traking polls from Nanos and you see that the LPC is clearly down. While the initial plan was to gain some seats and prevent a Tory majority, the current plan must be to "sauver les meubles" and not finish 3rd. Look at the list of polls. Every non-Nanos one published since April 20 show the same thing: the LPC behind the NDP. As for Nanos, the NDP is increasing and getting really close.

Nothing to say about the Green. The only riding to follow on May 2nd is the one of Elizabeth May. They are down in the polls as compared to 2008.

Finally, the Bloc is maybe close to an epic collapse. The NDP could well succeed where the Liberals and the Conservatives failed: finish first in Quebec, both in terms of votes and seats. We are still a little bit short of that, but the trend is not good for the party of Duceppe. And I'm not sure bringing back Jacques Parizeau is the smartest move ever. My guess is that the Bloc is now in a panic mode where the objective is to gather all sovereignist voters (which is around 30-35% currently). The problems? First of all, some separatists don't get out to vote for a federal election. Secondly, some of them just think it isn't the time and place to decide Quebec's future fate in the federation (and they would be right), so they feel free to support federalist parties, such as the NDP. But the Bloc knows that if they fall below 30%, they will enter the "losing zone" where each point lost translates into many seats gone.

Et si le Parti Libéral n'existait pas?

Et si le Parti Libéral n'existait pas?
Note to my English readers: since I firmly believe in a bilingual Canada and since this post is (mostly) about Quebec, I decided to write it in french. You can use Google translate if you really have to, or better, try to read it anyway. Posts in french will remain the exception.

J'avais écrit ce billet il y a quelques semaines pour étudier un scénario hypothétique dans lequel le Bloc n'existerait plus. C'était naturellement avant la soudaine montée du NPD qui rend ce billet moins fictionnel. Au fait, si je mettais à jour le scénario du Bloc disparu pour tenir compte du changement dans les intentions de votes au Québec (ainsi que dans les second choix), cela ne donnerait plus une course serrée à trois, mais le NPD à 50 sièges. Cela démontre bien que ce genre de scénarios hypothétiques est largement dépendant des intentions de votes courantes.

Aujourd'hui, j'essaie un autre scénario: et si le Parti Libéral n'existait plus? Qui serait le principal gagnant?

En utilisant les dernières projections ainsi que les seconds choix du sondage Ekos (ajustées pour tenir compte du fait qu'au Québec les électeurs ont un choix supplémentaire avec le Bloc), voici à quoi ressemblerait le paysage politique Canadien si le PLC n'existait plus. Un scénario fiction bien sûr, mais peut-être indicateur de la possible horrible performance qui attend ce parti la semaine prochaine (si les sondages plaçant le NPD 2e au pays sont vrais).

sièges

PCC

PLC

NPD

Verts

Bloc

Avec PLC

146

73

49

0

40

Pas de PLC

164

0

129

0

15


Remarquez que les projections (avec PLC) donnaient 9 sièges au NPD au Québec. Une fois disparu, la plupart des électeurs Libéraux se tourneraient ainsi vers le NPD (dans une proportion de 47%). Vu que ce parti bénéficie déjà d'une poussée incroyable au Québec, le résultat serait de pratiquement éliminer le Bloc du paysage politique. On parle souvent de la division du vote "progressiste" entre le PLC, NPD, Verts et le Bloc, ce qui avantage bien sûr le PCC (regardez mon post sur le mode de scrutin Alternatif et vous verrez que le PCC gagne environ 10-15 sièges grâce à cela), mais on n'évoque pas si souvent la division du vote fédéraliste. Bien sûr, la chute du Bloc ne serait pas aussi importante si le NPD ne pointait pas à 28% au Québec (si le Bloc était à 35% et le NPD à 18%, comme il y a 3 semaines, le Bloc ne perdrait aucun siège avec la disparition du PLC). Il n'empêche qu'il est ironique de voir que le Bloc survit grâce à la présence du parti de Pierre Elliott Trudeau!

L'autre grosse différence est bien sûr que les Conservateurs seraient majoritaires, même s'ils ne bénéficieraient que de relativement peu de gains (18) à comparer au NPD (70). Les détails comté-par-comté sont ici. Il est intéressant de savoir que dans ce scénario fictif, le PCC récolterait moins de votes (40% contre 42% au NPD) mais gagnerait davantage de sièges.

Tomorrow on this blog

Tomorrow on this blog
I'm a little bit busy today preparing the class I'll have to teach starting May 8th, but I just wanted to let you know of two posts coming tomorrow.

The first one is the simulation "What if the Liberals Party didn't exist?", a scenario not that fictional looking at the possible epic collapse this party is heading for... You'll be surprised by some of the results, especially in Quebec. Post will likely be in french for this reason.

The second one is to investigate whether we should start considering a NDP-led coalition. After all, the latest Ekos numbers are crazy.

In the mean time, if you can't wait to see what the Ekos numbers would mean in terms of seats, let me remind you that I provide an online simulator here. Just enter the percentages and you'll see the seats (and you also have riding-by-ridings projections under the second tab). So have fun and let me know if you used the simulator for a political pool.

Should the NDP support Alternative vote?

Should the NDP support Alternative vote?
In the UK, the Lib-Dem agreed to enter a formal coalition with the Conservatives. One of the conditions was to hold a referendum on a reform of the electoral system. Namely, the switch from the current first-past-the-post (that we also have in Canada) to the alternative vote, also known as instant run-off. In this system, if no candidate gets more than 50% of the votes, we eliminate all but the two candidates and redistribute the votes according to the second choices (of course, it means that your ballot is slightly different. Indeed, you can rank your candidates). Since we have the second choices from every Ekos poll, we can run a simulation.

I already ran such a simulation of how things would be if Canada had this system here. However, with the recent NDP's surge, I think it is worth revisiting. On top of that, as with first choices, second choises can change throughout the campaign. Therefore an update is maybe necessary. On top of that, I'm guessing some new readers of this blog didn't get the chance to see the first post.

So let's talk about the second choices. I'm using the latest Ekos poll, but I then have to adjust and make some calculations for the second choices for the Bloc. Indeed, Ekos only provides us with the second choices nationally. It means for instance that while only 2.7% of Liberals voters identified the Bloc as their second option, we know these 2.7% all come from Quebec. Here are these second choices for Quebec and the ROC (Rest of Canada - term usually used in Canada for every province except Quebec).

Second

Quebec

First Choice

CPC

LPC

NDP

Green

Bloc

CPC

-

10.3%

15.4%

10.5%

10.2%

LPC

15.9%

-

27.1%

19.6%

13.9%

NDP

21.3%

46.9%

-

22.9%

40.1%

Green

8.3%

13.1%

16.8%

-

16.0%

Bloc

10.7%

14.5%

24.4%

23.5%

-

other

1.7%

1.2%

0.1%

2.8%

1.0%

none

42.0%

14.0%

16.1%

20.7%

18.8%

Second

ROC

First choice

CPC

LPC

NDP

Green

Bloc

CPC

-

12.0%

20.4%

13.8%

-

LPC

17.8%

-

35.9%

25.6%

-

NDP

23.9%

54.9%

-

29.9%

-

Green

9.3%

15.3%

22.2%

-

-

Bloc

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

-

other

1.9%

1.4%

0.1%

3.7%

-

none

47.1%

16.3%

21.4%

27.1%

-


One think that is quite amazing is that the NDP is actually the main second choice of EVERY other party (excluded the "none" category of course and the Green in Quebec)! That answers the questions we had in some comments on this blog last week: yes people can "jump" directly from the Tories to the NDP, without passing by the Liberals case.

What this means is that the NDP has a huge pool of potential voters. We always hear the a lot of NDP voters switch to the Liberals at the end of the campaign (which is probably partially true), but we have here evidence of the other side of this effect. Therefore, with the AV electoral system, the NDP would naturaly be favoured, as this system is all about getting second choices.

So let's compare the seats projections.

seats

CPC

LPC

NDP

Green

Bloc

current

146

73

49

0

40

AV

130

78

67

0

33

share

42%

25%

22%

0%

11%


A couple of things to take from this table. First of all, notice how the share of seats is very close to the share of votes (the % are almost identical to the ones used for the "latest" projections on the right column of this blog). Yes the Tories get a little more than their "fair" share, so does the Bloc thanks to regional concentration of its votes, but overall, the AV system would result to a very proportional system (except for the Green). By the way, the redistribution would be necessary in 193 ridings.

Secondly, you can see the NDP would clearly be the winner of this reform. If you want to see where these seats are coming from, here is the pdf. Please note I haven't scaled the percentages to sum up to 100% (to take into account that some voters have no second choices) as it doesn't change the winner of the riding. Of the 18 new seats for the NDP, 12 are in Quebec.

The Bloc to some extent and the Conservatives mostly would be the losers of such a reform (they would really be under the threat of "coalition" NDP-LPC). Of course, this simulation assumes that people wouldn't vote differently under the new system, which is quite a strong assumption.

So should the NDP push for such a reform? I personnally would prefer the introduction of a german-like system, with the compensation operating at the province-level (for those of you who know the system). But we have to admit that the AV system woud probably be good for the party of Jack Layton. Although, a true proportional system for this party would insure that gains would be less dependent on Quebec only.