Vote splitting

Even though polls seem to all show a significant Liberal lead (except Ekos), the "issue" of vote splitting still exists. There still are two parties (NDP and Liberals) splitting essentially the same "Don't want to vote for Harper" electorate. It doesn't mean these two parties are identical or should merge, it simply is a reality of the electoral system. After all, the Conservatives are still in this race, albeit with lower odds, despite an overwhelming majority of Canadians not satisfied and wanting change.

I already did the analysis a couple of weeks ago, but the Liberals' surge of the last two weeks requires me to do it again. Here's how I proceeded. First of all, I gathered the second choices in multiple polls. They don't all provide this information but Nanos (every day), Ekos (sometimes) and Leger did in their recent polls. I then averaged these second choices and adjusted for the fact the Bloc can receive second votes in Quebec only. Here below you have the second choices for Quebec and the ROC.

                   1st choice --->
CPC LPC NDP Green Bloc
CPC 0.0 14.4 5.5 5.2 11.0
LPC 25.1 0.0 41.8 10.4 18.0
NDP 12.1 39.0 0.0 10.8 34.0
Green 6.9 11.0 11.0 0.0 10.0
Bloc 15.1 17.7 26.6 64.1 0.0
none 40.7 17.8 15.0 9.6 27.0

CPC 0.0 17.5 7.5 14.4
LPC 29.6 0.0 57.0 28.9
NDP 14.3 47.4 0.0 30.0
Green 8.2 13.4 15.1 0.0
None 48.0 21.6 20.4 26.7

I then used my most recent projections and look at how many ridings were in a situation with CPC first, but NDP+LPC would be greater. There are currently 60 ridings in this situation. This is less than the 72 of last months, but more than the 41 of 2011.

In these ridings, I thus removed the lower candidate between Liberals and New Democrats and I redistributed the votes (so no controversy in this exercise!). This means 17 Liberals candidates withdrawn and 43 NDP. See this as a what-if situation where the two parties would make a deal to run a unique candidate in some ridings.

Quite often people forget that even though the NDP and Liberals voters have each other as their main second choice, it's not 100%. Many voters would switch to a different party or not vote at all. Therefore, it's completely unrealistic to expect to regain all 60 ridings.

Doing so gives me the projections below

CPC LPC NDP Green Bloc
Normal projections 117 138 79 1 3
With unique candidate 83 164 87 1 3
Difference -34 26 8 0 0

The Liberals would be very close to a majority while the Conservatives would be third and with no chance of winning. Of course, as usual, I completely realize it could be very different if that were to happen in real life. In particular, the second choices used are very hypothetical and could be non representative of how the voters in these ridings (or in general really) would react. Moreover, I can't really see the NDP agreeing to withdraw 43 candidates while the Liberals only do the same 17 times. Still, I do my best with what I have.

Notice that out of the 60 ridings where theoretical vote splitting is occurring, only 34 would be reclaimed. So really, vote splitting is an "issue" in 34 ridings max right now.

The good news for people really worried about this and considering voting strategically? Both the Liberals and New Democrats want to change the electoral system. A proportional system would make vote splitting a non issue.