Thursday, July 19, 2018

Dougald Lamont - Big win, could have been bigger

I've used this sort of phrase a lot recently, with elections in Mexico and Turkey, that someone won big, but could have won bigger. I want to go into exactly what I mean using Dougald Lamont as my example.

Lamont, as you may already know, is the leader of the Manitoba Liberals. Last night he won a by-election and he will now sit as an MLA, giving his party the 4th seat they need for official status.

The results of the by-election were as follows:

42.0% - 2,625 - Liberal (Lamont)
28.3% - 1,770 - NDP
16.3% - 1,017 - Green
13.4% - 834 - PC

This compares to the last general election, where Premier Selinger's NDP was defeated. He then resigned his own seat - this seat - later on.

42.4% - 3,624 - NDP (Selinger)
25.9% - 2,211 - PC
19.5% - 1,663 - Liberal
12.3% - 1,048 - Green

Comparing the two, the PC Party (which actually ran the same candidate) dropped the most, losing nearly two thirds of its vote, while the NDP only lost half of their vote. The Greens managed a fairly stable raw vote total, but fewer voters means their share of the vote increased. The Liberals, meanwhile, saw the largest increase.

This is a big win. Lamont was last a candidate in 2003, in this riding, where he took 14.4% of the vote.

A victory of 42% vs 28% is nothing to ignore. A more "expected" victory would have been closer to 38% vs 32%. The latter would indicate the NDP could easily win this seat back at the general election, but this margin of victory is far more decisive, and indicates that Lamont and the Liberals will likely hold on to this seat.

Lamont won his leadership against Cindy Lamoureaux, who had been expected to win. To win such an unexpected victory, and then, to win this by-election by such a margin, indicates that he likely has an amount of personal popularity and charm that will serve him well as party leader.

As such, it is the margin of victory that leads this to be a "big" win.

However, this win could have been bigger, and I'd like to examine that in greater detail.

First, this is a seat that is not unfriendly to the Liberals. It was the most Liberal riding in the 1969 election in Winnipeg, and, elected a Liberal in 1973, interestingly, by 1 vote, over the NDP candidate who had been elected as the Liberal MLA in 1969. That NDP candidate would win the 1977 election and hold the riding right up to the 1988 election, where, again, this riding became the most Liberal riding in Winnipeg, and, in fact, the most Liberal riding in the province. It would remain so until 1995 when Kevin Lamoureux's personal popularity would allow him to win by larger margins in his riding. Federally, the area has also been historically friendly to the Liberal brand.

In short, the win would have been bigger if the riding was not one that is "Liberal Friendly"

Additionally, this is only a win with 42% of the vote, not a win with 50%+1. 3,124 votes would have been needed for that. Beyond this, 3,625 votes, one more than Selinger took in the last election, would have also been a sign of a bigger win, indicating this riding as a lock for Lamont.

Neither of these two larger margins happened. This is why the win could have been bigger. Such a larger margin could have put the Liberals in prime contention to post a serious challenge to government, and while their current showing may bump them to first in the polls, a larger margin as outlined could have kept that bump going to and even through the election.

The Liberals will, thus, have an excellent shot at holding all 4 seats in the next election, and may even pick up another seat or three, which could force a minority pending how well the NDP and Tories do.

So in sum, the win was big. But, it could have been bigger.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Greyhound shuts down Western Canadian bus service

Along with politics, one of my keen interests is Transportation. I wanted to thus do a quick post about this.

For those who don't know already, Greyhound is shutting down bus services in Western Canada.

There are a few ways this will play out based on how this has played out in the past. To help set the stage I present this map as a google map: Click Here

The map is a bit of a mess so let me explain.

The black line is the existing VIA Rail line from Sudbury to Vancouver. It runs, if I recall correctly, runs two times a week.

Red lines show existing bus services provided by companies other than Greyhound. This is Ontario Northland in Ontario, Rider Express in Saskatchewan, and Red Arrow in Alberta.

The Yellow line, which might be a bit hard to see (by design) is the existing track where a new rail line could be run; it was one of the original VIA rail routes that went through Calgary and Regina. It would be fairly easy to again run a train on this route, but, I see it as very unlikely given the current situation politically.

More important is the Green lines. These are places where I fully expect some private companies to pick up the slack. In Ontario for example, the new Ford government has an MPP whose riding is losing its bus service. The MPP, who is also the minister for Northern Development, is almost certain to get a bus service to make up for this lack of Greyhound buses. Ontario Northland is already a private company that operates in Northern Ontario and it is thus extremely likely that Ontario Northland will simply be extended to Thunder Bay, if not Winnipeg.

Rider Express would likely opt to restart services to Estevan and Yorkton, both of which appear to have been stopped due to lack of demand. Without competition, it is likely these routes could see a re-introduction. Also possible is a line to Winnipeg. Should Winnipeg not be connected though both Ontario Northland and Rider Express, then we would most likely see a new bus company developing in the area to connect Winnipeg to both Regina and Thunder Bay.

Red Arrow, which seems to be the largest and strongest of the private companies we are speaking about, is likely to be the ones who would run any Edmonton to Saskatoon route, and, any route connecting Calgary either to Swift Current, or, more likely, Regina itself. I could also see Red Arrow running buses from Calgary to Kamloops.

BC would likely either see a new private company popping up, or, interestingly, the government step in. BC has a province-wide publicly owned bus company called BC Transit. While Vancouver has its own system, the bus in Victoria is simply known as "BC Transit" as is the bus in Kamloops, and Kelowna, and so forth. Given the current government in BC (NDP) my feeling is that BC Transit will simply start more intercity services, and that's why I have both Prince George and Kelowna in Green, even though both are more iffy in terms of profitability.

So what about beyond this?

Frankly, if your town does not have a green line on the map, you are probably out of luck.

I could see a Saskatoon-Winnipeg route though Yorkton, a Medicine Hat to Lethbridge route, a route from Edmonton to Grand Prairie, and a route through southern BC connecting Kelowna to Penticton to Nelson to Cranbrook and on to Lethbridge.

Each of these would have much more limited profitability than the other routes listed.

Other places, like Thompson, are simply too far "off the grid" to service via bus, and it is likely the only connections from these places to the rest of Canada for those without cars will be though the skies.

edited to clarify:

many of these routes are run with government subsidies, thats why politics count!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Look into the sort of regular tracking I do - Ukraine

While there have not been many posts recently - its the summer and politicians worldwide tend to be "on break" - but I am always following politics.

As a sort of preview and look into how I work I want to share this simple graphic I made.

I took the 2014 Ukraine election and made notes on how well each party is doing - in terms of expected popular vote as per polls - compared to how well they did last time.

The People's Front is effectively dead in the polls, and their coalition partner, the President's Bloc, is polling at half what they took last time. This means the 21.82% of the vote they took in the last election has been reduced, roughly, by half. (To 10.9% in the most recent poll if you want to be specific)

The Pro-European Self Reliance party is set to see its halved, while the Pro-Russian Opposition Bloc is set to see their vote double. The Radical Party is roughly at the same level as last time, while Fatherland, lead by Yulia Tymoshenko is polling at three times their 2014 levels. The far-right Freedom party is level, while the Liberal and Pro-Europe Civil Position is at triple their former level of support.

A brand new party, lead by Mikheil Saakashvili, the former President of Georgia, is set to take somewhere around 6%-12% of the vote, or, for reference, between half and a third of the vote the unaffiliated People's Front took last time.

In summary, the "pro-europe" parties, last time, took roughly 64% of the vote VS 21% for the main others (Nationalists and Pro-Russians); while this time, they are set to take 44% vs 32% for the main others. Given these polls, the most likely outcome of the next election is a Tymoshenko victory (she leads presidential polls and has the entire year) and a pro-Europe and Pro-Tymoshenko majority in the Parliament.

I keep track of all sorts of countries like this. Greece may well elect ND to a majority but it will be close. Poland is shaping up to become a stable two-party system with PiS set to win the next election. The CDP in Japan has been able to shore up its position as the chief opposition. Other countries I'm following include Israel, Portugal, South Africa, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Australia, and Slovakia. The three most interesting countries right now are probably: Spain, where the Socialists are now in government, and the PP party has fallen behind C's in the polls; Germany, where we finally have a polled answer to what would happen if the CDU/CSU alliance were to ever end (it would be much better for the CSU than CDU) and Italy, where the regionalist Northern League now leads nationwide polls.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Mexico - some numbers

I've calculated some numbers for the mexican election.

Morena leader Obrador has taken nearly 53% of the vote, leading his JHH alliance to victory. PAN leader Anaya has taken 22.5% leading the PMF alliance. PRI leader Meade took 16.4%, leading the TPM alliance.

JHH has taken 69 senators, and 310 deputies, a majority in both chambers.
PMF has taken 32 senators, and 126 deputies
TPM has taken 21 senators, and 64 deputies

This is all the data I can directly find, however, I've made some effort to try to break out the actual results by party. I caution, this is likely to be inaccurate as this is based on assumptions, but, I've decided to present it regardless.

SEN - DEP - Party

59 - 265 - MOR
20 - 82 - PAN
14 - 44 - PRI
6 - 28 - PT
6 - 23 - PRD
6 - 21 - MC
4 - 17 - ES
4 - 13 - GRN
3 - 17 - ALL

This means Morena has a majority on its own in the house, but, does not in the Senate. Reminder: this is based heavily on assumptions, and may simply be incorrect.

This would give Morena a minority in the Senate, but, very easy paths to a majority by allying either with their coalition partner PT, or other left-wing parties PRD and MC.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Mexico - half of all ballots counted

Current ballots counted suggest Obrador has won with over 50% of the vote; currently 53.5%. If I understand the math used to produce a final result, his coalition has won 300 of the 500 seats in the Assembly, and 70 of the 128 Senate seats, give or take a few seats in each; a majority in both chambers.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Early results from Mexico

Mexico's election was held today; I outlined some specifics here, and here, and here if you want to read some context.

 The long-story-short of the results is as follows.

Exit polls were very clear and generally agree. Actual results are very, very low with 1K of 156K boxes opened and counted. Regardless, its generally thought Obrador has won by somewhere in the area of 47.5% of the vote. Mexico has no 2 round system so this is an outright win. Beyond that, his two opponents are expected to each be below 29%, making it a very clear margin of victory.

All other candidates for President have conceded defeat.

The question then comes when asking what about the Congress? The answer seems to be that Obrador's alliance of parties has managed a Majority in the house, and may even have won a majority in the Senate as well, but that one still remains to be seen.

Its a fairly significant victory for Obrador, and while the same could have been said for Erdogan a week ago in that "the win could have been bigger", the same reality is also true that this win is plenty big, and is big enough to meet his expectations.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Election Reform - Ontario under different systems

There are a number of systems we can look at, lets start with some of the simpler ones

Alternative Vote (Instant Runoff Voting)

The Liberals would lose their seat in Thunder Bay, but gain Eglinton-Lawrence.

The Tories would not gain any seats. The Tory loss in Eglinton-Lawrence to the Liberals is offset by the NDP gain from the Liberals in Thunder Bay, meaning we begin the counter with the NDP up by 1.

The NDP further takes the following ridings:

The soo
Ottawa West
Rouge Park
Brampton West

and quite possibly also

Scarborough Centre
Etobicoke Lakeshore
and Brantford Brant

For a total of 12 NDP gains from the Tories, pushing our numbers to a final result of:

64 PC
52 NDP

A narrow PC Majority. Note as well that the last three ridings I listed were quite iffy on the math, and its quite likely that in the event the real election had used IRV, these three would have remained PC, pushing our split from 64-52 to 67-49, a much more comfortable majority.

Pure PR (Proportional Representation)

A pure PR system would see a single province-wide "riding" that elects 124 candidates. According to the popular D'Hondt method of counting (and the method whose online calculator is most user friendly in my experience) the results are as follows:

51 - PC
43 - NDP
25 - LIB
5 - GRN
0 - LBT

The Libertarians fail to win a seat even without a threshold.


This post originally was going to examine STV and other systems; and maps have been prepared for that purpose. However, other bloggers are dealing with STV, and as such, I've decided to truncate this post and end with an examination of a Parallel PR system.

Parallel PR

A Parallel PR system mixes the benefits and drawbacks of both PR and FPTP. Unlike a supplementary or "fill up" system, a parallel system is additive.

Longtime readers will know this is my reform of choice for Canada and its provinces. Two arguments seem to carry the most weight in Canadian debates about electoral reform. First, people want to be able to keep majority governments, even if they are, as some in the NDP have tried to classify them "false majorities". And second, Canadians are concerned about representation of the opposition; first that the main opposition party can, often, find itself without representation from certain entire regions, and secondly, that the third party and lower, can find itself with very few, if any, elected representatives. Parallel deals with both of these in ways Canadians want to see.

I also want to note that a true Parallel PR system would not see the total number of seats change much, but that I am using a larger number of seats as this saves about 6-8 hours worth of calculation of manually re-drawing every riding, and makes the calculation time for the Parallel system total around 2 minutes for calculating how popular vote turns into additional seats won. I use this d'hondt calculator for that purpose.

Additionally, most of the systems I propose for Canada have only a small number of PR MPs, as, polls do show Canadians are iffy on the concept of a mixed-member system, and having a smaller number is more likely to succeed. As such, to the 124 ridings, I am adding an additional 24 proportional seats.

Of these seats, the PC party wins 10, the NDP wins 8, the Liberals win 5, and the Greens take 1.

As such the final end results are as follows:

86 - PC
48 - NDP
12 - LIB
2 - GRN

As an example of how this may play out in reality, we could expect to see the 10 new PC MPPs from all over Ontario, including London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Northern Ontario, and various more rural areas. The NDP is more likely to see members elected from Mississauga, the York Region, and various rural areas, while the Liberals could easily end up with representation not just from Toronto and Ottawa, but in places like Windsor, Kitchener, Mississauga, and both rural eastern and southwestern Ontario. This would mean that all 3 parties have members from Mississauga, for example; and given how Parallel systems are usually implemented, this is extremely likely.