Second choices: what if?

In its latest poll, Ekos asked the second choices, as well as asking who they voted for in 2008. I always find those questions very interesting.

For the retention rate, we see that the Conservatives are the best. They would keep 77.3% of the people who voted for them in 2008. The Liberals would keep only 63.8%, while the NPD and Bloc stand at respectively 61.6% and 73.8%. Surprisingly, the "lost" voters of the Liberals would actually go the the NDP (13.3%) and the Green (14.2%), more than to the CPC (11.5%). This is one of the only good news in recent weeks for Igniatieff: it seems he has a pool of potential voters in the Green and NDP. In case of an election, I think it's likely that those people could quickly come back to the Liberals if te prospect of a Tories majority becomes real. Of course, for the Lib, keeping the voters of 2008 is hardly enough to make some gains in term of seats. But it's a start.

The second choices show how the Conservatives are different. Indeed, they are the party with the most voters that have no second choice at all (as much as 48.6%!), while this number is only around 25% for the Liberals or NDP. I was also surprised to see that among Green voters, the second choices are split almost evenly between the NDP and the Liberals. I was expecting the NDP to have the edge here.

So using those numbers, let's do a little bit of math. In particular, let's see what would happen if the Bloc didn't exist in Quebec, and what would happen if the Green party didn't exist. For each scenario, I will also input those calculated numbers into my model, even though the model is not meant for that. I'm assuming that people without a second choice would simply not vote.

Scenario 1: No Bloc.

actual no Bloc seats
cpc 15.4% 22.3% 20
lpc 21.7% 30.6% 36
ndp 12.5% 23.8% 13
green 11.3% 19.3% 6
bloc 35.9% - -
other 3.2% 4.0% 0

In term of percentages, the NDP would be a clear winner. However, in term of seats, the Tories would actually get all the forteresses of the Bloc (in rural Quebec). The Green would get as many as 6 seats, but this is only because in this poll, they were already high. As opposed to the projections using this Ekos poll, the CPC would gain 12 seats, the LPC 19. the NDP 12 and the Green 6.

Scenario 2: No Green Party of Canada

Here I'm assuming that the second choices are the same in every province, since Ekos doesn't provide us with the provincial breakdown.

actual no Green seats gain
cpc 35.2% 37.9% 137 0
lpc 27.8% 31.2% 84 -4
ndp 14.9% 17.9% 34 2
green 10.1% - - -
bloc 8.8% 9.6% 50 2
other 3.1% 3.5% 0 0

In term of seats, not many changes, even though the Green Party seems to be costing the NDP, 2 seats and 2 other seats to the Bloc, both at the expense of the Liberals. Since the Tories don't suffer any overall loss, it seems the Green party is only affecting the distribution of seats among the other parties. If you want to compare province by province, here is the breakdown:

Ekos projections:

Ekos No Green:

You can see that at the province level, the absence of the Green party would also affect the Conservatives. But at the end, it seems that the Green party is not big enough (yet?) to actually change the colour of the government or cause substantial seat cheanges.