The BC election is underway, although I wouldn't blame you for not knowing. I'm pretty sure you heard more about the new Supreme Court nominee in the US than the various promises from Horgan, Wilkinson or Fursteneau.


We only had two polls so far and while they showed the BC Liberals more competitive than we might have thought (given pre-election polls this summer), it remains that the BC NDP is clearly ahead and significantly favourite to win. I currently have the NDP with a 89% chance of winning a majority and another 4% chance of winning a plurality. The Liberals only have a 5% chance of winning more seats than the NDP (and 1% of a tie). For the Liberals to win the most seats, it would require a fairly large polling error. Still, BC has had a history of polling failures (2013, 2018). Make no mistake here, I'm not saying the Liberals have a 5% chances of winning even if they really only get 35% of the vote while the NDP is at 43.5%. No, what those probabilities are showing is that if the BC Liberals are polling 8 points behind, given the traditional polling accuracy, they have a small chance if the polls are underestimating them and their vote is efficient.


So, how far are we from a 50-50 race? One that would be... too close to call?


I ran my usual simulations (you can too by the way now that I put my code on GitHub) and, using the results, I then estimated a logit regression showing the chances for the BC Liberals to win the most seats as a function of their lead in the popular vote (negative numbers mean the Liberals are behind obviously). Here's the results:




BC doesn't have much of a difference between the popular vote and the seats. At least not given the distribution of the votes in 2017. Essentially, it's a 50-50 race if the Liberals are tied with the NDP in the popular vote (the 0 on the x-axis). Wow, such great work Bryan, thank you! In all seriousness, this is relatively rare in Canadian politics. We usually see a difference between the two with one party being able to win with fewer votes (PQ in Quebec, LPC at the federal level). So it might seem like a whole lot of work for nothing -- it isn't!


The BC Liberals have their chances as long as they are within 1 or 2 points of the NDP. It'd naturally require better vote efficiency (in other words: having their votes in the right ridings) but it's far from impossible. In this scenario, it'd likely come down to fewer than 10 ridings (most of which in the Metro Vancouver area).


So, to answer the question of this post: I'd say that if polls start showing the BC Liberals within 5 points of the NDP, we will start seeing the projections with the Liberals with good chances. The historical polling accuracy in Canada, over the various provincial and federal elections of the last 10 years, is an empirical margin of error just shy of 5%. Therefore, if the Liberals are polling 5 points behind, the odds that the popular vote is a tie are becoming quite good. Don't misinterpret what I'm saying. It won't be a 50-50 race if polls start showing the Liberals within 5 -- it simply won't be one where a Liberal victory would require a massive polling error.


In other words: we are a 3-points shift in the polls away from having what I'd consider a contested election. If polls continue to have the NDP 8+ points ahead, Horgan can sleep nicely knowing his bet likely paid off. Although a major polling error can't be excluded given the possible low turnout of an election held during a pandemic (and, as opposed to NB, during a phase where cases are increasing). That's a topic for another day though.

Les membres du Parti Québécois éliront leur nouveau chef le 9 octobre. Nous avons aujourd'hui un 2e sondage Segma fait auprès des membres du PQ (donc une mesure plus précise que les sondages qui posent la question aux sympathisants).


Le sondage montre que Sylvain Gaudreault demeure en tête avec 31% des premier choix, suivi par Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon à 26%, Guy Nantel à 22% et Frédéric Bastien à 7%. Ce sont des chiffres assez proches du dernier Segma fait en août, avec PSPP and Nantel qui grimpent un peu. Et oui ce sondage a été commandé par l'équipe de PSPP. Cela ne signifie pas que ce sondage est invalide.


Segma n'étant pas forcément la firme de sondage avec la meilleure réputation cependant, se baser uniquement sur ce sondage est risqué. De plus, les courses à la chefferie ont démontré à plusieurs reprises qu'il y avait un meilleur indicateur: le financement.

En utilisant les données du DGEQ, on voit une situation très différente:




PSPP est en tête tant pour les montants collectés que le nombre de donateurs. Nantel est 2e dans la 2e catégorie. Gaudreault est étonnamment peu compétitif avec cette mesure. Pourtant c'est ma mesure préférée: peu importe combien vous donnez, un donateur=un vote. Les montants peuvent indiquer une capacité à être organisé, à faire sortir le vote, etc. Au final, je fais une moyenne 75/25 entre les % des donateurs et les % des montants.


Nous avons ainsi deux sources principales d'information. Dans mes projections ci-dessous, je fais la moyenne entre financement et projections, donnant un poids de 60% au financement car je crois sincèrement que c'est un meilleur indicateur. Mon expérience avec la course au PQ en 2016 ou la récente course chez les Conservateurs m'a convaincu de cela.


Il nous faut aussi estimer les 2e choix. Le sondage a cette information, montrant PSPP avec 31% des 2e choix, devant Gaudreault avec 24% et Nantel et Bastien à 13%. Cette information n'est pas super utile cependant car il nous faut les 2e choix par candidat. J'ai pu obtenir accès au sondage directement et je peux ainsi faire les calculs. Cependant je n'ai pas le droit de publier ces chiffres bruts.


On peut aussi utiliser le financement en regardant les donateurs qui ont contribué à plus d'un candidat. C'est une méthode valide mais qui me donne un faible nombre d'observations. Alors là aussi, au final, je fais une moyenne entre le financement et le sondage (moyenne 50-50 cette fois-ci car je ne crois pas forcément que le financement soit meilleur).


PSPP performe bien peu importe la source de données (financement ou sondage) alors que Gaudreault et Nantel font largement moins bien dans l'une de ces catégories. Quant aux 2e choix, le financement place PSPP dans une situation idéale. Le sondage Segma est aussi favorable à PSPP sur cette question.


Ok, fiou, maintenant qu'on a tout, voici les projections:


PSPP est ainsi favori mais c'est vraiment serré entre lui, Gaudreault et Nantel au 1er tour. Je dirais que l'on peut exclure une victoire de Bastien actuellement. C'est très serré au 2e tour entre Gaudreault et Nantel. Mais peu importe à qui PSPP fait face au 3e tour, il devrait gagner. Dans les faits, les 2e choix montrent que sa victoire serait plus large face à Nantel.


Au final, soyons honnêtes, il y a une grande incertitude dans cette course. Ajoutez des marges d'erreur d'au moins 8-10% aux projections ci-dessus étant donné la nature davantage imprévisible des courses à la chefferie et du manque de données. Il y a aussi la question de savoir combien d'électeurs n'auront pas de 2e ou 3e choix. Dans le tableau ci-dessus, PSPP gagne par 14 points au dernier tour non seulement car il reçoit davantage des votes de Nantel mais car une partie des votes de Bastien et Nantel sont perdus. Ainsi, on ne peut exclure aucune combinaison pour le 3e tour, c'est juste que PSPP est plus probable d'y être les deux autres.


PSPP est ainsi dans une bonne situation. Le financement reste le meilleur indicateur selon moi et PSPP y est en tête. Et tout indique que PSPP fera bien dans els 2e choix. Ainsi, si je devais parier $5, je miserais sur lui. Mais comme je le dis souvent, je ne miserais pas beaucoup plus que $5. Okay, peut-être $10.


We finally got some new polls for the recently started BC election. Overall they continue to show what we knew: the NDP is ahead and in majority territory. However, the lead of Johan Horgan over the BC Liberals of Wilkinson is smaller than what we could have expected given previous polls.

Research Co. published a poll, conducted between September 21 and 23 among 750 people. It shows the following:


Then Insight West published their own poll, conducted between September 22 and 23rd among 1000 residents (a high number for a BC poll) with the following numbers:


 

The NDP is ahead in both polls but the margins are very different. Maybe not surprisingly, the poll with the BC Conservatives at only 4% -- a level that is a lot more realistic -- also has the BC Liberals much higher.

So I'd say that I believe the Research Co. poll much more here. Polls in BC always have the issue of overestimating the BC Conservatives. It's most likely because respondents don't realize it's not a 'real' party like the federal Conservatives. To give you an idea, in 2017, the BC Cons only ran 7 candidates. To be fair to them, they have been more organized in the past and have had relative success. Still, at this point, I don't think there is any chance this party is at 12%. So a lot of the 12% in the Insight West numbers will likely end up being added to the Liberals on election day. The two polls are therefore not as different as you might think. The Insight West one also has a lot more undecided (20% versus 10%) and once I allocate those undecided not proportionally (I currently give 50% to each of the Liberals and NDP), I get smaller differences between the two polls.

What is more interesting is the NDP at 'only' 42-44%. This is quite lower than most polls published during the last few months (where they'd be closer to 50% in some). This should worry John Horgan. If he's below 45% at the beginning of this election, after benefitting from a covid-boost for the last few months, he could end up regretting this snap election.

Regionally, they also have similar results although I'll need to ask them to tell me precisely how their regions work (what exactly is 'Vancouver' and how far does the region go). They have the NDP well ahead in Metro Vancouver as well as on the Island, while the rest of BC is a close race. This region is the most surprising to me and I'll need other pollsters to confirm the NDP is that competitive outside of the Lower Mainland and the Island. The polling average has the NDP at 39% in the rest of BC, same as the BC Liberals. In 2017 those numbers were, respectively, 32% and 49.8%!

So, anyway, here are my projections for now. They are still very basic and not based on much data, but it's a start. The model will be updated as the campaign progresses, for now it's a very basic one. But such basic models usually perform not too bad anyway. As usual, feel free to use the simulators to make your own projections.

It's a NDP majority but things are closer than we might have thought. If the Liberals can climb closer to 40%, we might even get a race that will ultimately depend on a few seats (heeelllo Surrey...).








 Since it seems that we'll somehow end up with a fall election in BC, in the middle of the second wave of a pandemic, here are the simulators for this election. Yes, simulators, plural. There is the simple version where you only need to enter the provincial numbers. Then the model takes care of everything. The version 1.0 is very basic and doesn't have regional adjustments or anything (mostly because of a lack of polls).

If you feel more adventurous, there is the more advanced version where you enter the percentages by region. It's harder to use -- not least because we currently have a clear lack of polls with full regional breakdown -- but it has great benefits.

I'll update those simulators during the campaign. I don't currently have projections myself, mostly because of a lack of good polls. Not only do we have few of them, but they aren't from the best firms (which are Mainstreet and Leger). Polls also often have the BC Conservatives at 7-10%, something pretty ridiculous given the state of this party. Hopefully that will change soon if we are indeed in campaign mode starting this week.

With that being said, there is a reason why Horgan wants an election: he knows he's hugely favourite to win a majority. Polls have been good and the New Brunswick election last week has shown that a incumbent government can call an early election and not be punished for it -- although the situation wasn't exactly the same to be fair. A simple average of 'recent' polls would put the NDP around 45-48%, the Liberals at 30%, the Green at 12% and BC Conservatives at 7%.

Can the BC Liberals come back? Well, if we assume that the BC Cons are ridiculously overestimated and their votes would go back to the Liberals, it brings them to 35-38%. Can Wilkinson climb back from a 7-10 points deficits? Maybe. This is especially possible given the fact BC elections have very few swing ridings. So it could likely come down to 5-6 ridings, mostly all in the Lower Mainland.

Anyway, enjoy the simulators!

 Quelques semaines après la course à la direction du Parti Conservateur, je porte un regard rapide sur la course à la direction du PQ. Et comme pour le PCC, j'utilise un mélange de sondages et de données du financement pour arriver à mes projections.

Voici un petit résumé rapide. Analyse plus détaillée après.

- PSPP est favori mais pas de beaucoup. Il est compétitif au 1er tour mais surtout, il semble pouvoir bénéficier d'être le 2e choix des partisans des autres électeurs.

- Étant donné le peu de données et la nature imprévisible des courses à la direction, on ne peut actuellement exclure une victoire d'aucun des 4 candidats!

- Le financement est plutôt défavorable à Gaudreault alors que le sondage le plaçait en tête. PSPP fait bien dans les deux.

- En utilisant le sondage et les données du financement, j'obtiens les projections (moyennes) suivante pour le 1er, 2e et 3e tour:


Note: oui cela ne somme pas à 100% car le financement avait une catégorie "autre" qui representait 1%. Et il y a aussi des arrondis. Au final ce n'est vraiment qu'un détail.

Certains aiment prétendre que l'on ne peut absolument pas prédire les courses à la direction. Ce n'est pas vrai. Un mélange sondages+données du financement avait bien fait pour le PCC en 2017 (bien que j'avais Bernier comme favori), pour le PQ en 2016 (j'avais prédit une victoire de Lisée mais moins facile que sa victoire réelle) ainsi qu'il y a deux semaines pour le PCC (j'avais au final prédit une victoire d'O'Toole). Oui ces courses ont davantage d'incertitude qu'une élection "normale" mais nous ne sommes pas non plus dans le noir total.

La première source est le sondage Segma paru dans le Journal de Montréal. Il a été fait auprès des membres du PQ. Une distinction importante par rapport aux deux précédents sondages faits par Léger qui avaient sondés les partisans du PQ ou le grand public. Cette dernière option favorisant largement Guy Nantel de part sa célébrité.

Segma n'est pas la firme avec forcément la meilleure réputation (ils ne sondent pas si fréquemment) mais c'est mieux que rien. Dans leur sondage, Sylvain Gaudreault était en tête avec 30% des voix avant répartition des 24% d'indécis. Suivaient PSPP avec 20%, Guy Nantel à 15% et finalement Frédéric Bastien à 10%. Le sondage montrait aussi que les jeunes électeurs préféraient PSPP alors que Gaudreault bénéficiait du soutien des électeurs plus agés.

Outre les marges d'erreurs (je parle ici des marges d'erreur effectives, pas théoriques) qui sont toujours assez larges pour une course à la direction, l'autre problème est le 24% d'indécis. C'est une chiffre assez élevé. Lors d'une élection traditionelle, les sondeurs répartissent en général ces indécis proportionnellement (ce qui revient à faire la mauvaise hypothèse que les indécis vont soit voter comme les électeurs décidés ou ne pas voter du tout). Personnellement, j'accorde en général davantage d'indécis aux grands partis et surtout au gouvernement sortant. Mais une telle hypothèse est difficile à justifier ici.

Au final, j'ai décidé d'accorder la moitié des indécis de manière proportionnelle et l'autre moitié de manière uniforme. Oui c'est une hypothèse et non je peux difficilement la défendre au-delà de vouloir introduire une bonne dose d'incertitude dans le modèle. Au final, il n'y a pas vraiment d'hypothèse claire à appliquer ici, c'est plutôt subjectif.

L'autre source de données est le financement. Lors de la dernière course au PQ, c'est ainsi que j'avais JF Lisée devant alors que les sondages avaient tous Cloutier comme favori. C'est aussi la raison pour laquelle j'avais finalement prédit une victoire d'Erin O'Toole. J'utilise les données mises à jour quotidiennement par le DGEQ. Je ne regarde pas les montants contribués mais le nombre de donateurs. Un vote est un vote, peu importe que vous donniez $5 ou $100. Je m'assure de ne compter que les donateurs uniques (certaines personnes donnent plusieurs fois au même candidat). Si une personne donne à deux candidats, je compte le vote deux fois pour l'instant. Une meilleure façon serait peut-être d'attribuer le soutien au dernier candidat soutenu financièrement mais c'est davantage de boulot et on ne parle pas d'un nombre énorme de donateurs dans cette situation.

Voici (dans un tableau pas beau du tout, désolé) ces données présentées. Comme vous pouvez le voir, le financement est bien moins favorable à Gaudreault que le sondage Segma. Personellement, je fais davantage confiance au financement mais je ne peux pas ignorer le sondage.

PSPP est dans le top 2 peu importe la méthode utilisée. Ainsi je crois que l'incertitude est davantage de savoir qui il affronterait au 3e tour. Mes projections actuelles ont Gaudreault mais Nantel a ses chances. Bastien fait aussi plutôt bien en se basant sur le financement.

J'utilise aussi les données pour estimer les 2e choix. Le sondage Segma ne contenait aucune information sur ce sujet malheureusement. Je regarde les donateurs qui ont contribué à plusieurs candidats et je peux ainsi créé une matrice des combinaisons. À ce petit jeu-là, le plus grand nombre de double dons est entre PSPP et Bastien. La 2e combinaison la plus répandue est entre PSPP et Nantel. La 3e est entre PSPP et Gaudreault. Vous voyez une tendance ici: PSPP est le 2e choix des partisans des 3 autres candidats. C'est probablement l'élément le plus important de ce billet aujourd'hui et pourquoi je suis relativement confiant en déclarant PSPP favori.

Voyez la matrice ci-dessous, en pourcentages.



Un problème ici est que cette matrice ne me donne pas le nombre d'électeurs qui n'ont pas de 2e choix. Je pourrais partir du principe que les donateurs qui n'ont contribué qu'à un seul candidat n'ont pas de 2e choix, mais ce serait largement surestimer ce nombre. Si j'avais un sondage avec les données sur cette question, cela me fournirait une base. Au final, ce n'est pas ultra important, je ne fais que surestimer le nombre de votes qui sont redistribués. En réalité, un candidat qui tire de l'arrière après le 1er tour aurait davantage de difficultés à remonter si beaucoup d'électeurs n'ont pas de 2e choix. Mais comme mes projections du premier tour ont PSPP et Gaudreault très proches l'un de l'autre, cela ne change rien à mes projections finales. Gardez aussi en tête que cette matrice est estimée avec un nombre plutôt faible de donateurs.

Quoi d'autre à ajouter? La tendance semble bonne pour PSPP, comme le témoigne l'évolution des donateurs telle que présentée dans ce tweet.

Cette personne semble mettre à jour les données assez régulièrement, je vous suggère de le suivre. Remarquez aussi que PSPP est en tête peu importe que l'on regarde le nombre ou les montants collectés.

Au final, la course au PQ est suffisamment serrée pour être considérée comme une course à 4. En effet, si l'on applique des marges d'erreurs de 5-10% (donc environ le double d'une élection générale où nous avons plein de données fiables), on voit que Bastien pourrait être même être en tête après le 1er tour. Est-ce probable? Non, mais ce n'est pas à exclure totalement non plus. Cela étant dit, il semble bien plus probable que PSPP gagnera à la fin. Il devrait terminer dans le top 2 le 1er tour et pourrait largement bénéficier du report des votes.

Je ferai une analyse plus appronfondie dans quelques semaines. J'espère que nous aurons un autre sondage d'ici là.

 

After hours and hours (omg so many hours) of waiting for the Conservatives to find a way to open and count ballots, Erin O'Toole won the leadership race and is now the new leader of the Tories. This is a surprise given that polls had Peter MacKay as favourite.

My last blog post had MacKay slightly ahead but my final projections, posted on Twitter, had O'Toole winning. He ultimately won much more easily than anticipated in the last round. My method of mixing polls and fundraising data proved to be effective once again.



Why did my projections moved from slightly for MacKay to slightly for O'Toole? Because I incorporated the fundraising data from the third quarter (data recently released) and those were terrible for MacKay (contrary to what some CBC articles claimed). He was a distant third in number of unique donors. If anything, the fundraising was showing Lewis on the rise and MacKay collapsing.

The Mainstreet poll had the following numbers (for the share of points): 40.5% for MacKay, 32.1% for O'Toole, 16.2% for Lewis and 11.2% for Sloan. The actual results were, respectively, 33.5%, 31.6%, 20.5% and 14.5%. So mixing fundraising and polls did a much better job. It put MacKay lower and Lewis significantly higher. Sloan over performed both.

The polls were especially off in Quebec where Mainstreet had MacKay ahead, 56% to 30% for O'Toole. MacKay ultimately lost that province in the first round, 34% to 45%! Similarly to how polls were showing Bernier with a big lead in Quebec in 2017, the race proved to be very different.

MacKay had to run the scoreboard in Atlantic (he mostly did) and in Quebec to take a big lead on first votes. We knew he was weak on second votes, especially from Sloan and Lewis. His 34% in Quebec were definitely not enough and it was clear that O'Toole was going to win after the results of the first round. I always said MacKay needed to be at 40% overall after the first round in order to win. He only finished with 33%.

Leslyn Lewis almost created the surprise. She actually finished first in votes after the second round thanks to a very strong transfer of the Sloan votes to her. Her vote was quite inefficient, mostly because she was very low in Quebec (which makes sense, she doesn't speak French at all). But make no mistake, Lewis did phenomenally well and likely has a bright future in the Conservative party.

For MacKay, this is a really humiliating defeat. He was the big name, the supposed favourite. He was supposedly so ahead that many big names declined entering this race. He was meant to win. But he did a really crappy campaign (which did improve towards the end). He didn't offer much and he alienated a good share of this party. The fact he got so few of the Sloan and Lewis votes is indicative of that. Of course we wouldn't expect social conservatives to vote for MacKay, but they did vote for O'Toole who is, politically speaking, quite moderate and close to MacKay. O'Toole just ran a much better campaign.

Will O'Toole be able to defeat Trudeau? Well that's a big question. Personally, I feel that O'Toole is a giant upgrade over Scheer (MacKay would also have been). If Scheer managed to win the popular vote and come within a few seats in the GTA to win a plurality, I don't see how O'Toole doesn't at least achieved that. I also believe O'Toole to be particularly smart politically. He knows the CPC needs a better data game  for instance to compete with the Liberals. His leadership campaign showed he knows how to win. The road to a majority won't be easy however. Can he win in Quebec? He crushed it in the leadership but a general election versus Trudeau and the Bloc is a different story. So we'll see. I'll say this however, O'Toole has presented a more substantive plan than MacKay. So I expect the Tories to at least offer something bolder than what Scheer ran on in 2019.

Thanks for reading me and see you soon.

Three years after Andrew Scheer dramatically defeated Maxime Bernier on the 13th and last round (after being behind for the first 12th!), we are less than a week away from having a new CPC leader.

While there are four candidates, only Peter MacKay, Erin O'Toole and, to a lesser extent, Leslyn Lewis have a shot. Derek Sloan is pretty much guaranteed to finish fourth and be eliminated after the first round.

Projecting a leadership race is always tricky. Polls are rare and usually less accurate (hard to poll members only). The CPC also uses a weird electoral system where each riding is worth 100 points, no matter how many people vote in the riding. That means that votes in some Eastern riding, in particularly in Quebec, can be worth a lot more points than votes in Conservative members rich ridings of Alberta.

Before going into the numbers in-depth, here's an executive summary for the busy people that you are:

- MacKay is favored to finish first after the first ballot but should fall quite short of the 50% mark. The real issue for him is getting the second votes of Sloan and Lewis or O'Toole. Polls and fundraising data indicate that MacKay is by far not the main second choice of any other candidate. As a rule of thumb, MacKay must be around 40% after the first round to have a chance.

- O'Toole has a real shot at winning. As a matter of fact, it's not really possible to make a call between him and MacKay. The data we have doesn't paint a clear favourite and is quite noisy. I feel MacKay has a small edge, mostly because I expect his vote to be more efficient.

- Maybe the real surprise is that Leslyn Lewis has an actual chance. Don't get me wrong here, it would be a pretty big surprise if she won. But it wouldn't be a monumental one. As a matter of fact, fundraising data indicates a close 3-way race. She can also count on a massive transfer of votes from Sloan's 2nd choices.

Note: most of the tables in this post don't look nice, visually. Sorry but I didn't have time to make it look pretty.

The data

As mentioned previously, we don't have the luxury of dozen of polls like for a federal election. The calculations in this post are entirely based on two sources: 1) the most recent Mainstreet poll among CPC members and 2) The fundraising data from Elections Canada for the first and second quarter. Using fundraising data has proven to work in the past (CPC leadership in 2017 although I had Bernier as favourite because, well, I didn't factor how effective the dairy farmers would be) and especially the PQ race in 2016 where polls kept showing Cloutier ahead but the fundraising has Lisée leading.

The Mainstreet polls had been quite good in 2017 (although, as with my projections, they also had Bernier as winning at the end with a roughly 75-80% chances). They did less well for the NDP leadership the same year.

At the end of the day, we definitely do not have perfect data, far from it. But we are also not navigating in the complete dark or guessing. Moreover, the polling and fundraising data actually agree more often than not.


The (weird) electoral system

The same that our general elections are decided by a stupid and archaic electoral system, the Tories elect their leader with a weird one where each riding is worth 100 points, no matter how many members vote in it. Some ridings in Quebec in particular will only have a few dozen votes while some in Alberta will have a few thousands. This creates an extra layer of uncertainty as it's now possible to have more votes but fewer points.

In 2017, Andrew Scheer won 50.95% of the points but he actually got 53% of the votes. Bernier's vote was more efficient, mostly because he was winning the more urban ridings where there were fewer members. The difference was +2% for Bernier and -2% for Scheer. It's not huge but it was almsot enough for Bernier to win with fewer votes.

This year, the logical bet is that MacKay's vote will be more efficient. Mainstreet seems to agree as their detailed results (shared with me) show MacKay going from 37.5% of the votes to 40.5% of the points. So a boost slightly higher than what Bernier got. This seems reasonable to me but it's important to realize that this is mostly an assumption (although I guess Mainstreet has done some calculations based on who the respondents were from). Ultimately, I gave MacKay a 2% increase from votes to points and O'Toole and Lewis have a 1% drop. This is based on Mainstreet and the 2017 deviations.


The first round

Here below you have the predictions for the first round (% of points) from Mainstreet poll alone and from my projections that incorporate the fundraising data.


The fundraising data is much more favourable to Lewis. In pure raw number of unique donors, she's actually ahead in the second quarter (I do an average of the first and second quarter with a weight of 75% on the latter). But her donors are not evenly distributed across Canada, with below-average numbers in Atlantic or Quebec, thus making her votes to points conversion weaker. MacKay, on the other hand, could benefit greatly from crushing it in the Atlantic and in Quebec. He's getting a whopping 46% of his 1st-round points from those two regions while O'Toole only collects 29% of his points there and Lewis is at only 18%. This right here might well be the key to the victory of Peter MacKay on Sunday.

You have the percentages of votes for each province below, based on the poll and fundraising.


So no matter which method you use, you get the same qualitative answer: MacKay first, O'Toole second, Lewis third and Sloan fourth.

The fundraising numbers are exceptional for Lewis. She isn't an elected MP (never has actually) and I don't think anyone would have predicted her to be doing so well. She's a social conservative (well it's complicated, let's move on) and she might please some of the more militant base of the party. I therefore wouldn't be surprised if she ultimately performs worse than what the fundraising numbers indicate as the base might be more likely to donate and contribute.


The 2nd choices

Since it appears likely that nobody will be above 50% after the first round, the second votes will enter into play. Derek Sloan should be the first one to go. Where will his roughly 10% of votes go to? The answer is quite clear: a majority will go to Leslyn Lewis.

How do I know that? Well the Mainstreet polls indicates as much. Also, using the fundraising data, I identified people who gave to more than one candidates. Doing so showed me which pairs of candidates was more likely. By far the most common overlap is Sloan-Lewis. The table below show you how similar the results are whether we use the poll or fundraising data (note: for the fundraising data, I couldn't just assume that whoever only donated to one candidate had no second choice. I thus use the % from the polls and I scaled everything to match; Still, this alone isn't enough to explain why the two sources provide essentially the same results). For my projections, I simply did an average of the two.



What do we see? Well Sloan's votes will mostly go to Lewis. I don't think there is any doubt on that one. Lewis' votes are more evenly distributed but MacKay is clearly the 3rd option. Finally between O'Toole and MacKay, it appears that the MacKay to O'Toole is more common than the opposite. It will likely not matter as O'Toole and MacKay will face each other in the final round. Still, if Lewis were to sneak in and finish top 2 after the 2nd round, we need to realize that O'Toole might actually push her ahead of MacKay.

More generally, the various Mainstreet polls have shown that MacKay has decreased over time in the number of second votes he's getting. In the poll from May, MacKay was clearly the second choice of O'Toole supporters. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

All of this should be the number one concern of Peter MacKay: his capability of getting second votes from Sloan and Lewis is really limited. Like Bernier 3 years ago, MacKay might well finish 1st after the first round but lose at the end. If anything, MacKay is significantly weaker on 2nd choices from Sloan and Lewis than Bernier was overall.

We also need to deal with the 3rd choices of Sloan's supporters. We can assume that once they transferred (to Lewis mostly), that they act like supporters of that person. That's not perfect obviously. Mainstreet does show us the attrition from second to third with only about half of the supporters who have a second choice expressing a third. So that's a ratio we can use.

Anyway, given all this info and numbers, we get the following projections for round 2 and 3. It is assuming the same electoral advantage (the votes to points conversion) assumed earlier. If you hate this assumption, then take 2% away from MacKay and add 1% to Lewis and O'Toole (or 2% to O'Toole in the last round).


Without the electoral advantage, the last round ends as an almost perfect 50-50 where MacKay wins with... 50.01% of the points! And is naturally behind in votes! So it's really impossible to determine who of MacKay and O'Toole would win at the end.


Can Lewis win?

The answer is yes but it'd require the Mainstreet polls to be off. I haven't done formal simulations but essentially, she needs to beat her projections by about 5-7% in the first round. She does NOT need to be top 2 after the first round, she just needs to be close enough to O'Toole (or MacKay... but let's assume here that MacKay will be first originally) so that her votes+60% of Sloan votes are enough to finish top 2 after the second round. Since Sloan will be around 10-11%, Lewis can create the surprise as long as she's within 5-6 points of O'Toole.

Based on the polls, she is much further behind. Based on the fundraising, she is pretty much exactly where she needs to be. So, just for fun, I only used the provincial averages based on the fundraising and I got the following second round:

Sloan: 0%
Lewis: 31%
O'Toole: 32%
MacKay: 38%

So she's still falling short but it's super close!

Given how noisy and uncertain the data we have is, we really can't exclude a surprise Lewis win. Leadership races are full of uncertainties, much more than regular elections. So projections being off by 5-7 points is really not that far fetched. Especially with the weird electoral system the CPC use.


Other indicators

Using Google Trends over the last 90 days, it's surprisingly close. You'd imagine MacKay being much more ahead (note: Google only seems to know who MacKay is and we therefore can't do a comparison using a topic search, which is usually better. So I picked the search term option.



Purely anecdotally, but my Twitter feed has had a ton of people voting for MacKay. But Twitter in general, and my feed in particular, is not representative. If it were, Bernie Sanders would be cruising towards the presidency.

Finally, other polls done among CPC partisans (and not necessarily voting members) have had MacKay ahead, quite significantly. MacKay has the name recognition that the three others don't.


Conclusion

It's... too close to call. If you account for the uncertainty of any poll, add the uncertainty that it's a leadership race and they use a weird electoral system, it really isn't possible to make a definitive call. It's likely that it'll be between MacKay and O'Toole but Lewis can create a surprise.

MacKay was supposed to easily win this race, he was the big name that many others were afraid of. The fact that I can't even make the call that he's favourite is pretty crazy. It shows how lackluster his campaign has been (although it has improved from the catastrophic start). It also shows a pretty divided Conservative party.

Looking ahead, MacKay does have the profile to win where the CPC needs to win (Atlantic, Eastern suburbs), at least on paper. Mainstreet showed that among the 'pragmatic conservatives' (the ones who just want to defeat Trudeau), he's well ahead. But O'Toole could also do well and I believe both should be significant upgrade to Scheer. As for Lewis, well it'S hard to say. Her run is impressive and she doesn't fit the typical picture of a Tory (she's a woman, she's Black). I have no idea what would happen if she won.