Feb. 25th 2013: BC NDP extends its lead

A little bit after the provincial budget comes the new poll from Angus-Reid showing that the the BC NDP is still comfortable ahead. Actually, the trend of the past few months where the BC Liberals were climbing back up seems over. With a 16-points lead, the BC NDP is all but sure to win the election as well as a majority.

If you look at the detailed projections, and the probabilities of winning each riding in particular, you'll see that the BC NDP is currently projected to win 45 seats with 100% probability. What this emans is that even in the worst case scenario, Adrian Dix would still have 44 MLA along himself and therefore a majority.

Let's take a moment to talk about these ridings where one party is projected to win 100% of the time. Remember, these probabilities come from 1000 simulations where I randomize the voting intentions, taking into account the margins of error. Basically, since the Liberals are polled at 31%, I sample them around 31%. In the best case scenario, this party would get 35.5% of the vote. This is actually outside of the margin of error. It's a possible scenario but a very unlikely one. For the NDP, the worst case scenario would see this party get only 41.7% of the vote. As you can imagine (and as you can test in the simulator), the projections are quite different whether the NDP is at 47% and the Liberals at 31%, or if these two parties are at 41.7% and 35.5 respectively. On top of that, I also add a random term for each party in each riding. This term, of mean 0 and varying between -3% and 3%, is there to account for the fact that knowing the percentages doesn't provide the full information. In other words, it's a random error term for the electoral system.

So when a riding is projected for one party with probability of 100%, it means that out of the 1000 simulation, a party is projected to win this particular riding every single time. It means that even by varying the parties by as much as 5-6 points provincially, even by having the additional random term, that only one party finished first. This is quite significant as the min and max for each party in each riding are actually quite different. It's not like the simulations have a party varying between 42% and 44% in a given riding. No, the typical maximum variation is more around 15 points.

In the best case scenario, the Liberals would get 36 seats, while the worst case scenario for the NDP is 47 (the 45 seats at 100% plus two others). In clear: unless the polls are incredibly wrong, there is absolutely no race in BC. It might change during the next 3 months, especially during the campaign, but for now, projecting BC is quite easy.

For the two smaller parties (Green and Conservatives), the chances of electing even a single MLA are very slim. The BC Conservatives are projected to win at best one seat. As for the Green, the model, as well as the simulations, don't currently project a possible win anywhere. For both parties, the main problem is really that they are too far behind the main two parties.

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