Friday, April 29, 2016

Conservative Leadership, thoughts and notes

First a quick note: I've done some mild research, and leadership polls in Canada are useless more than a month or two out. With the Conservative leadership not expected to be decided until time some in 2017, that means we should take polls with a grain of salt. Patrick Brown in particular polled very poorly in early polls (despite his name being included) for the Ontario PC Party, and only took off after the leadership race really got underway.

However, there are some signs that leadership polls can indicate, in particular, they can give you a good idea of the candidates. Early polls tend to contain most of the final candidates, but they also usually miss one or two of them. As such I am refining my projection for the candidates of the CPC leadership:

Declared Candidates:
Maxime Bernier
Kellie Leitch

Candidates who have declared they will declare, but have yet to declare:
Michael Chong

Likely candidates:
Jason Kenney
Tony Clement
Peter MacKay

Possible Candidates:
Lisa Raitt

Unlikely Candidates:
Kevin O'Leary

"Dark Horse Candidates:
Doug Ford
Michelle Rempel
Gerard Deltell
Pierre Poilievre
Andrew Scheer

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Electoral Reform - Teddy's Crazy Proposal

I've tried two times before, and both times, I've failed to properly outline my proposal for electoral reform.

I figured the third time's the charm.

The first and most important change is to eliminate the Senate, the House of Commons, and the Supreme Court. To hammer home the point, the buildings housing these institutions should also be torn down.

Part of the problem I've had in the past when explaining this is people get confused. Bulldozing Parliament will help ensure this does not happen.

Next, we need to re-create the three branches of government.

The judicial branch actually works for the most part, so the old system will be brought back.

This is the branch of government which decides what is illegal and what is not.

As such, we will create a place called the "Legislature" to help determine which laws Canada will follow. This body should contain around 300-350 members, as Canada is used to dealing with assemblies of this size.

Elections to this body should be annual, to ensure that the elected members stay in close contact with the public.

The actual method of election is unimportant. It's not like these people make up the government. So I suppose hold a referendum on it, and see what people want, and just go with that.

Now we are down to business. This is the branch that really matters.

The size of the assembly of the executive should be small, perhaps 72 members, or as many as 150. For this example, we will presume 72.

We shall call this assembly "Parliament"

Note that Parliament has nothing to do with the Legislature, and vice versa. the Legislature makes laws, it does not spend any money, nor does it approve any fiscal bills. If there is a dispute as to which branch a particular item belongs (for example, a proposal to tax criminals) the three branches together will decide, with a majority vote among the 3 being the final answer. In short, the supreme court will solve any disputes.

Parliament should have a term long enough to ensure it's policies have a chance to be enacted. Ideally, the term would be long, such as 5, or even 6 years, but given that Canada is a neighbour to a massive country that runs on 4 year executive terms, we shall sync our terms with theirs. As such elections will take place on the monday prior to victoria day, in 2020, 2024, and other years that are multiples of 4.

So why are we doing this? Simple
When Canadians go to vote, they ask themselves many questions. While sometimes the question may be "should gay marriage be legal" the questions tend to reflect the executive. How high should taxes be, what should we spend our money on, who should lead our country, etc.
This reform system will actually let people vote for what they think they are voting for.
Let me repeat: this sytem lets people vote for what people already think they are voting for.

Now that this is out of the way
How do we elect the Executive?
Well we'll take our 72 seats and divide it into two groups. The first group has 40 seats, while the second has 32.

Within that group of 32 seats, there is a further subdivision, with the larger group having 24 seats, and the smaller having 6.

We will call these groups "Group 1" with 40 seats, "Group 2" with 24, and "Group 3" with 8.

At election time, people are presented with the names of the various political parties contesting the election. Parties may, at their own discretion, submit additional possibilities, that include coalitions with other parties.

In the election itself, all the ballots are cast as a preferential ballot. Voters rank the parties (and coalition options) 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth.

Next, a condorcet count is held. This means that all possible two party contests are tested. This means that each polling place will count the votes - on the first round - as though it is the final round, and do so more than once. The first test may be CPC vs LPC, followed by CPC vs NDP, followed by CPC vs GRN, etc etc etc. This is done until all results have been tested. This may take a week or more.

Once we are done, ideally, one party will beat all others in all matches. If there is no clear condorcet winner (IE someone winning all matches) it defaults to a simple preferential ballot with all parties contesting; the winner is then the party that wins the final round.

Once a "winner" is determined, that party is assigned all 40 "Group 1" seats, and becomes the "Government".

All ballots cast in the election that ranked the winner in the first slot are removed. In fact, lets burn them to avoid confusion. These ballots are burned.

The election is then contested again, now that these ballots are removed. The same methods are used to determine the "second winner" who is assigned all the "Group 2" seats, and becomes the "Official Opposition"

All ballots cast for this new winner are also burned. Then burned again.

A final round is conducted, where a final winner is determined. This winner is assigned all "Group 3" seats, and becomes the "Third Party"

After this we burn all the ballots because why not. In for a penny in for a pound, I suppose.

The parties then fill the slots assigned to them. Once filled, these slots are permanent. Only in the event of an emergency (defined as resignation of death of 25 or more members of Parliament) are these empty places filled. This gives the actual members power, as defections are not accounted for. As well the bar for replacement is low enough that the opposition can force it if and when needed.

In the event the Executive falls into emergency, it's powers are exercised jointly by agreement between the other two branches until emergency elections can be held.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Quickie: How Trump could win

Short answer, doing more things like this

Manitoba Post-Mortem: Green Party

The Green Party had a pretty good election. Winnipeg can be added to the list of cities such as Victoria, Vancouver, and Calgary, where the party may one day see a breakthrough. Sadly for the Greens, they were unable to turn this into any seats.

Here are the seats the Green Party could have won if they had taken 4 times their vote:

As you can see, the support for the party is concentrated in Winnipeg. In fact, due to the fact that so many ridings had no candidate,

This will be much shorter than the review of the Liberal showing. In short, the biggest mistakes of this campaign were not strategic but tactical. Beddome ran in the wrong riding, and a party that is missing about half it's possible candidates clearly has some other problems as well.

If the Greens plan to do better, they will need to step up their game. It's possible for them to do so, but not without years of hard work.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Thought: Splitting the Conservative Party

There is an interesting article from John Ivison in the National Post that I missed when it first came out.

Have a read of the article, and continue on after you've done so.

The claim in the article is that should MacKay become leader, the Conservative Party may re-split in two, the old PC Party and the old Reform Party.

It further implies that anyone from the old PC side could split the party should they take the leadership.

If I was a Conservative, I'd be highly offended by this. It implies that the party can only stay merged when half of it is subservient to the other half.

It implies that unless the PC Party does what the Reform Party wants, it will prevent it from ever getting in government.

I highly doubt this is the case. While there may be some in the Conservative Party that would leave, I can't see a radical change in politics. There are only a small number of options for those on the further right wing of the Tories

1 - Try to re-create the Reform Party. This new party would look an awful lot like a "Wildrose Party of Canada". Such a party would likely struggle to win very many seats, but could win a dozen in places like Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan.

2 - Join the Libertarians. This could gain some mileage, I could see the Libertarian Party, if it had sitting MPs, manage to at least re-elect them, if not gain; but fiscal differences between the wings within the CPC are just not that great.

3 - Join the Christian Heritage Party. While this party would be less successful at election time, it is more likely to see defections.

4 - The disgruntled MPs end up sitting as Independents.

Given this would mean destroying the Conservative Party, potentially preventing it from forming government, I don't see many MPs taking up this option, and if only a small number do, option 4 is most likely.


What is an omnibus bill? This article from attempts to look at that.

With this in mind, I have my own definitions for certain things. Definitions that, in some cases, are important, and I may want to reference from time to time.

Omnibus Bill: This is a bill that contains many different things that are mostly unrelated to one another. Now of course, just about everything the government does will require money, and so, you could argue that a budget bill should be coupled with just about any other bill, but most reasonable humans can see what is different and what is not. The article finds some difficulty finding things from the bill that are "different" - but they do find a few things.
Teddy's Conclusion: Trying to stuff different things into a single bill is what makes an Omnibus. This current budget is not one, nor are some (but not all) of the past CPC budgets.

Super Majority: This is a term media folks like to use without explaining what it is. What makes a majority so super? Well in the US Senate, that number may be 61, which means you can not filibuster. In the US House, 2/3rds, as this can over-ride a Veto. But in Canada? In Canada nothing different happens if you hold 51 seats in a 100 seat chamber, or if you hold 99 of those seats. Hence putting any sort of marker (2/3rd, 3/5ths, etc) is meaningless. What does hold meaning?
There actually is an answer. Take a look at this graphic to help you understand:
Notice the dots. This indicates Cabinet. There are 31 of them. This means of the 184 Liberals, only 151 of them are non-cabinet "Liberals", but among these 151 are 186 "others" in the house, including the 31 members of Cabinet.
Teddy's Conclusion: A "Super Majority" in Canada is one where a party has so many members, that even if it's cabinet is not counted, it's members retain an overall majority of possible chamber seats. As such, Brian Pallister, with 12 cabinet members and a speaker, does not have a "super-majority" but Brad Wall does, as does Dwight Ball, and as may both PEI and Nova Scotia, depending on exactly how many people are officially in cabinet or not.

Strong or Weak Minority Government: People tend to use this to determine how easily a minority government will be able to function. For those from outside Canada, let me make clear: When there is an election, there is almost always a one-party government as a result. This means that if the results (in a 100 seat assembly) are 40-30-30, there is an assumption that the party with 40 seats will form a minority government without any coalition or any deals with either of the other two parties. This is different from europe, where the expectation may be the opposite.
That being said, the difference between weak and strong seem to be determined by ability to govern.
Teddy's Conclusion: This is determined by the position of the other parties. As such a strong majority is one where only one other party is needed to consent to pass a bill, while a weak one needs two or more. What determines what a "party" is (such as a 1-seat party in a 338 seat assembly) can be left to reasonable people being reasonable, but this is the basic difference.

Around: This applies to numbers. Saying that so-and-so party will take this or that many seats. That a party may take "around" 100 seats, or such. There is no clear definition, but I have some personal rules.
Teddy's Conclusion: When talking about any ole random number, my role is .5 and 2X. This means if I say "around a million bucks" that $2M or $500,000 are both within the range of what I'm talking about. This does not apply as much when it comes to seats in a legislature, the range is generally narrower, and there is no real number limit. What does matter is that other definition for other numbers, which I do and will continue to use often.

Impossible: This is the biggest problem word I run into. There seems to be this idea that things like the NDP winning Quebec or Alberta is and always was "impossible" This is simply not true. Some parties have the ability to grow.
Teddy's Conclusion: Growth is important. There is an indication of a few instances of growth across the country, in particular, with the Greens in places like BC, Ontario, and other provinces. A Green government in BC by 2026 is not "impossible". The NDP also could win a majority in any province, on any level, given the right circumstances. Tories and Liberals could also win any province on a federal level. Provincially the Tories could win almost every province excepting those where a right-of-centre party already exists, such as BC (Liberals), Quebec (CAQ), Saskatchewan (Sask Party), and Yukon (Yukon Party), while the Liberals could win everywhere except the Prairies, where there are some deep structural problems (and bluntly, they already have)
Much less is impossible than you think. If you count extreme vote splits and defections, the Greens could a plurality of seats, provincially, in every province excepting Newfoundland, Quebec, and Saskatchewan.

In closing, I also want to include a list of "possible" in the next 4 or 5 years


A new party on the left that is successful in winning seats
This will not happen without taking huge chunks of sitting MPs out of the Liberals and/or NDP.

A new party on the right that is successful in winning seats
This is possible

A new party in Quebec that is successful in winning seats
Only if they displace the Bloc

The Greens growing
30 seats in the next election? Maybe. More is iffy, 45-50 at absolute most.

The NDP vanishing
For the NDP to take 8 or less ridings you'd really need to see this clearly going to another party, this would either mean a significant growth in the Green vote, or, a clear move to the Liberals to the left.

The Tories vanishing
Won't happen. You'd need to totally replace the right-wing vote with a new right-wing party.

The Liberals vanishing
If this happens you'll know, it'd take weeks, if not months, of daily newspaper headlines for the entire party to vanish. Is it possible? Yes, but not bloody likely.

NDP government
Yes. Minority. I can't see a majority in the next election though, but if Trudeau leaves, or, gets caught in a HUGE scandal (larger than sponsorship) maybe

Tory government
Yes. Period. Minority and Majority.

Liberal Super-Majority
Yes. Period.

Bloc Return
eh...under the right circumstances, yes. Again, you'd know about it, as you'd hear about this in the news. It would be a "big thing". Otherwise their hard-cap is about 20-25, but if we get into some other wedge issue that pits Quebec against "Canada", then yes, we can certainly see the Bloc climbing back up to 50 or more seats.


In the next election, the only parties that can win are either current incumbents or official oppositions. There are some caveats:
BC - With the right vote splits, the Greens could manage a minority. They could also take a minority if there is some huge scandal that rocks one or both of the other parties.
AB - If the "progressive voter" were to shift, we could see a different result in the next election. Regardless, the PC Party could still return, and as such, all 3 major parties have the potential to win the next election.
MB - We would need to see some kind of massive change (like MLA's defecting, or a massive corruption scandal) but if we do, we could see a Liberal win here in the 2020 election.
ON - If the Liberals drop the (progressive) ball, we could see the NDP pick it up and run with it. So far, we see no sign of this. If it does happen, however (like if the NDP proposes a basic income) we could still see an NDP win.
QC - Any of the 3 major parties could win. The Quebec NDP could also win, if they, you know, become an actual operating party.

I hope this clears some things up.

Patreon: a reminder

Good morning. I wanted to remind everyone that we have a Patreon page
You are under no obligation to give, but I was asked recently by someone about this; they suggested I should monetize and I surprised them by telling them I've already done so.

I also am a Patron of a few other people. In particular, there are three people who make videos who I very much enjoy watching. I spend at least an hour a day watching their videos, and can easily spend over 12 hours just sitting back and watching their old videos, and have a very happy day. One of these people is not on Patreon, but the other two are. Since I enjoy them equally, I give equally, which currently means $2 to each. As you may know, I am currently on social assistance, and this $2 is about the maximum I can give right now. Due to the small fees Patreon takes from donations, a $5 donation from you guys means my Patreon account breaks even every month, and I don't need to constantly worry about ensuring I have enough money in my PayPal and in the Bank to avoid an overdraft fee. As such, up to about $25 (or $35 if the other person gets a Patreon) I would use donations to break even. Money above and beyond that would finally make it to my pocket.

However it's not always about making me rich. The peace of mind of not having to worry every month about covering the costs of my donations (this month in particular was difficult, trying to balance sending the right amount of pennies, the exchange rate, and the limit I have on bank transactions) is worth a lot to me. So much that I am willing to use that "worry time" for a more productive purpose.

As such I have rewards. Anyone who pledges $5 or more a month gets to pick a topic on which I post. I will post on ANY topic related to politics in any way. I've already filled one such request, when I had two smaller donors, who requested an Alternate History. I would be happy to do things like this in the future as well, and if I have a small number of smaller donors, may also put out a call for requests to them.

The money tells me people are interested in my work. I currently am at $0 and this is my fault as I was inactive for quite some time in terms of posting. However, after the active April we've seen, I wanted to remind people that this option exists, and that if they can afford it, and wish to, that they can donate.

Posting during 'busy' political periods, such as we are seeing now, and will continue to see until the end of June, is easy. Posting in the "quiet" periods of February and August requires a bit more effort, effort that I personally find easier to exert when I know people are reading what I have to write. Posts like the ones I've made this month are posts I'd make even with 0 readers.

Regardless, weather you are able to afford to support us monetarily or not, I wanted to thank all the readers of this blog. I am very pleased that I've been able to post quality content that looks at things in ways others may have missed. For example, I was able to accurately call the low PC showing in Keewatinook. Not because I used math, but because I dug in and did research. I didn't explain THAT it would happen, I explained WHY it would happen, and this is the sort of thing I plan to continue to do.

To those who can't give money but want to contribute, there are two things you can do. The first is to comment. Either here on the blog, or to me on twitter, facebook, or anywhere else you meet me. This lets me know I have real people who are readers and not bots. The second is to pass on the posts you like. For example, I sent this post on my personal blog: to the twitter for Brad Wall. It's the highest read blogpost I've made on that blog in a very long time, telling me that Wall, or people who like Wall, likely read it, enjoyed it, and passed it on. While I secretly hope all 10 premiers read it and enjoyed it, the reality is it was probably people like you who passed it on to your friends; and this is again, something that tells me what I'm doing is worthwhile.

So in summary: thank you. I will continue to share my unique insights, and knowing that human eyes are reading it is what makes it all worthwhile.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A British Nightmare: Scotland and the EU

I was reading this news story from the BBC, and it has the same theme as most discussion about the EU Referendum in the UK has; if the UK votes YES Scotland may vote NO.

I wanted to outline the nightmare scenario.

It's election day, June 23rd, and the ballots are cast.
As they are counted, we start to see a clear result. Scotland has heavily voted to stay. In fact, 72% of Scotland has voted to stay in the UK.

This is partly offset by the 77% of Northern Ireland that has voted to leave, though, Northern Ireland is smaller, and so, the offset is not as great.

London wants to stay, 55% voted to remain within the EU.

Wales wants to stay, but narrowly. 50.6% have voted to remain.

However in the rest of England, a narrow majority has voted to leave, 52.8% in fact.

Turnout in all the areas is high, but not even throughout the UK.

The end result for the whole of the UK:
STAY 49.8%
LEAVE 50.2%

There are protests across Scotland. No other single area has voted to stay within the UK by such a wide margin. There is pressure on David Cameron to resign. Nigel Farage is having the best day of his life.

There will be calls for another independence referendum within Scotland. Polls now say that between 60% and 65% of voters would vote for Scotland to leave the UK, with the implicit understanding that doing so would mean it stays within the EU.

The Parliament in Westminster still needs to give it's approval for any referendum in Scotland. There are calls to say 'no' to a referendum; after all, Scotland just had one a short time ago. Others say that a referendum is fine, but only after the entire UK withdraws, Scotland included, meaning Scotland would have to spend some time outside of the EU. Others are suggesting that Scotland could take over the UK's membership, the same way Russia took over the Soviet membership in many international organizations at the fall of the USSR, while others suggest this is preposterous, after all, Russia was most of the USSR while Scotland is 1/10th of the UK.

What we are in is a nightmare scenario.
With a very narrow victory for the "leave" side, and a very resounding victory in Scotland for the "stay" side, we have a country that is deeply split. There are a few things pointing to this not happening

First, polls suggest the margin in Scotland would be closer to 65-35 or even 60-40. Secondly, polls across the UK, recently, are averaging on a "stay" vote, of around 51-55%
A 10 point split between the UK-wide result and the Scotland result would not inflame as much tension as a 22 point split would. In addition, a clear vote to leave, say 60-40, would also mean less "doom" saying from the media, as opposed to a very narrow victory (at least, in UK-wide media, in Scottish media, this makes little difference)

We'll see what happens, but my money is on a narrow victory (55% or so) for the stay campaign.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Manitoba Post-Mortem: Liberals

Despite some early indications of a possible outright victory, the Manitoba Liberals finished in third, and returned to their traditional "3rd party" levels of support.

Importantly, the party failed in what was their most important strategic goal, to displace the NDP as the home of progressive voters in Manitoba.

Despite that, we can see from the map below, that they do have some key areas of support from which to grow:

This is what happens when you double the Liberal vote in every riding. You can see the "S" in Winnipeg, as well as a few other ridings in the area. In the north you can see the two ridings they've done well in, as well as Interlake. I'm uncertain why they did well here, it could either be an indication of support in the area, or, a strong candidate. Regardless, if we want to see what happens when the Liberals return in force, we need to bump their vote from 200% to 300%

This map is more explicit in where areas of growth exist. With some key differences, this map does mirror Federal support, as well as past Provincial support. As such, the party is in a good position from which to grow.

This brings us to the leader. Rana Bokhari. Bokhari seems to have control of the machinery of the Manitoba Liberal Party, and support of it's President, and presumably, Executive and Council. This is a radical change as the party's "establishment" was her primary opponent when she became leader. Since then she's managed to gain control over the party itself, and has done a good job at this, showing a level of competence that is hopeful.

However, Bokhari and her party machinery utterly failed in the election. This indicates a level of incompetence that needs to be dealt with. It remains to be seen how things will play out, but from a tactical point of view, it's important to get rid of Bokhari. For this reason, I feel the caucus will, if not soon, later, feel the need to dump her. The problem comes with her control over the party. It is very unhealthy for a small party to see it's caucus and executive fight; when this has happened before, it has always put the party out of contention for a decade or more.

As such, it remains to be see if she will be a Jim Bennett, who is forced out due to party conflicts, or Dalton McGuinty, who did awful in his first election, but later went on to become Premier.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Manitoba Port-Mortem: Projection

The bad news is I was wrong in 14% of ridings

The good news is that Federally, I was wrong in 18.5% of ridings, and even the best of the best, were off by similar amounts.

While a failure rate nearing 1 in 5 is not a positive thing, it does mean that Manitoba can be added to the provinces in which I can and will do projections.

Over the next few days I will be looking at how the projection math actually handled the real polls, and digging into the actual polls to see if there are signs as to which ones were wrong in advance.

200 days out - US election

With 200 days to go, it's time to take another look at the US election.

On the Democratic side, Clinton has pretty much secured the nomination. While it's still possible Sanders can win, the chances are very low. Even if Sanders were to win 70% of the vote in each remaining state, he would only roughly tie Clinton due to the gap in unpledged delegates. While some Clinton delegates did switch to Obama, the actual number was roughly 1/3rd, and even with 1/3rd of her delegates switching, Clinton still has far more unpledged delegates than Sanders. 70% to 30% is very unlikely, meaning that unless something shocking happens, Clinton is the Democratic Nominee.

On the Republican side, things are not so locked in. While Trump is the only candidate who can gather enough delegates to win on the first ballot, he does not have enough to avoid a second ballot. Meanwhile Kasich, who polls very well in the general, has still yet to overtake Rubio in the delegate count. While he could still win if there are multiple (IE 5 or more) ballots, the chances of this are rather low given the huge lead Trump has, and how far Cruz has come. There are 408 delegates for someone other than the top two candidates, 544 held by Cruz, and 846 by Trump. There are 674 delegates left, and over half of these delegates come from 4 states combined: California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Indiana.

Polling in California indicates a split somewhat similar to the already-existing national split (50%-30%-20%)

Indiana has not been polled in quite a while, but the old poll indicates that Trump and Cruz will do well enough to prevent Kasich to gain enough.

New Jersey polls do show Kasich in second, but Trump far out in first.

Pennsylvania is also showing Trump out to a good lead.

To add, Trump leads in Maryland as well.

Here's the catch: these are all winner-takes-all states. Even if Kasich wins Indiana, we find that Trump's lead only increases. This continues for other winner-take-all states that have been polled.

As such, the chances that anyone except the top two wins is very small, and the chances that Cruz wins is small but still present. Trump meanwhile, remains the front-runner by far.

So, with that in mind, what sort of general election are we looking at. The answer is a landslide:

As such, we don't have much of a change from the last update. I do, however, want to make clear that Trump, who I earlier said 'could not' win the nomination, can win the general election if Clinton (however unlikely) decides to run a campaign as awful as the Republican candidates did. 

The next update will occur on or after June 8th, after the final primaries are over.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Manitoba Post-Mortem: overview

First off, I want to look at the estimated raw votes, changes between this and last election

PCP +47,130
LIB +30,118
GRN +11,830
MBP +4,856
IND +1,856
CPM +115
NDP -86,221

These numbers are not final, they are all subject to change and will certainly change. Regardless, it does clearly show that the "gain" the PC Party made was far smaller than people may think. In fact, of all the new votes, under half (not over half) went to the PC Party. The strength of the party came from their already existing voter base. The big difference is that the PC Party has won Winnipeg in terms of seats, as opposed to last election when they took only a handful. The share of vote was as follows:

53.4% - PCP
25.6% - NDP
14.2% - LIB
5.2% - GRN
1.1% - MBP
0.5% - IND
0.1% - CPM

This is the largest win since 1915. Both then and now the government will command 40 seats, with the difference being that now there are 17 opposition seats as opposed to 2 back in 1915.

The PC Party's base of support, mentioned earlier, has been around for quite some time. 35% is the lowest level of support since 1953 when they took 21%. The Tories, hence, have a very strong base of support and can not be under-estimated. Even facing a loss next time, they will still be able to hold together a good chunk of support.

Facing them is an Official Opposition that is by no means small. It may have been 1962 when we last had a smaller one, but between 1915 and 1962 most oppositions were smaller. Their over 25% means they beat their 1988. This could have been much worse for the NDP.

The Liberals meanwhile have returned to more recently-traditional levels of support. The roughly 14% they took this election, however in 1999, 2003, and 2007, the party took between 12%-14% in each election. As such, this election is less of a success for the Liberals and more of a returning to their former presence as the clear 3rd party option.

The Greens have done very well, especially for a party with only 30 candidates. If they had a full slate, they could have taken 9.9%. Of course, this presumes the same average, when, in reality, ridings 'missing' candidates often indicate weakness in the party in the area; so perhaps 8%, or 7% is more realistic.

I've already addressed the Manitoba Party in an earlier post. With dedication, the party could become a permanent fixture, taking a quarter to a third of the vote in some ridings.

I will be looking at more specifics when I address the individual parties in future posts. I've done one on the Manitoba Party, and will be doing one on the Green Party, the Liberals, and on my own projection.

As such, the general story here is less that Manitoba has changed in any radical way, and more that about 1 out of every 10 Manitobans (mostly those living in Winnipeg) has decided to try out a different brand of government.

Manitoba: Post Mortem - Manitoba Party

I was expecting to need to write more about this new force in Manitoba Politics. For those who don't know, the Manitoba Party is a party that's far to the fiscal right. They wanted to reduce the PST to 5%, cut income tax to a flat 10%, and other such things. This article explains how they plan to fund the government. Unfortunately, by their own math, if a doubling in tax increases revenue only 60% of what you expect, a cut will still cost you 60% of what you expect it to cost in lost revenue.

That aside, I started to look into the history of Manitoba, and I realized something; this is, in fact, not new at all. Manitoba has always had a presence (a small presence) for parties like Social Credit and Confederation of Regions. Sure there have been times where these parties have not been present, but when they have been, the pattern has been very simple and clear. As such, using the official election results, and with this in mind, I've redone my "Reform Party" map:

These are the ridings that the Manitoba Party could win if they put their mind to it. Their successes in Winnipeg were based either on local candidates, or, lack of a Liberal opponent. I should also note, the above is a fiction. The Manitoba Party is nowhere near being strong enough to win any of these ridings.

As such, the story pretty well ends here. Disappointingly. There is not much more to write. These are the ridings where alternative right-wing parties have always performed well. If I had access to 1993 Federal poll-by-poll results, I'm sure I'd have figured this out earlier.

Upcoming Elections

On May 5th, many of the UK's various sub-units hold elections. This includes elections for the assemblies in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. This also includes city and county level elections in England, including in London.

The UK also has an important vote on June 23rd, a referendum on possibly leaving the EU.

I've also completed a map showing upcoming US votes. New York voted last night, and I will be making a post summing up the US race in entirety tomorrow, which will mark 200 days until the election. Hopefully this map makes sense, if not, let me know, and I'll see what I can do:

There are also other elections that I do have my eyes on:

April 24th - Serbia. The boring part is that the current government looks like it'll be re-elected with a similarly large majority.

May 9th - Philippines. This is not a country that really catches my interest, so I'm not certain how closely I'll be following it.

May 22nd - Cyprus. I do have some interest here, but not much, so we'll see how close I follow this.

June 5th - Macedonia. Not a country I know much about, so I may not follow this very close either.

July 10th - Japan, upper house. Half of the upper house is up for election. The Opposition holds 44 seats not up for election, with 62 opposition seats up for election. The opposition needs to hold on to 37 of these seats, at least, to prevent the government from winning a 2/3rds majority. Expect more posts on this.

August 6th - Northern Territory election in Australia. Expect more posts on this as well.

August 8th - My Birthday. Not an election, but I'll see if I can't get a nice present to myself as a blogpost on this day.

Manitoba Results

Post-mortem in the coming days, for now, the results on a map:

A few short takeaways:

Bokhari, the Liberal Leader, screwed up big time. In her own riding she finished third. In fact, bluntly, she did not elect 3 MLAs, she elected around 8, but those were NDP MLAs. The hate for the NDP should have been enough to swing a number of ridings over to the Liberals, but that did not happen. In fact, all 3 ridings that Liberals won were due to local factors such as popular candidates.

Thompson went Blue. Steve Ashton, the longtime NDP MLA for the northern riding of Thompson was defeated by a PC candidate. This will send ripples though the political sphere of Manitoba.

The Greens did well. They didn't win any seats, but they came damn close. I'll be looking at their vote when I do my post-mortem.

The Manitoba Party did shockingly well. I've not mentioned them as I expected them to do very poorly, but they, in fact, captured nearly 2% of the vote, despite running only 16 candidates.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A different way to look at the Senate

I'm still working on this graphic, but there were a few tweets from Kady today about the Senate arguing about seat assignments and it made me think of my graphic, which I was working on only last night.

As you can see, I'm trying to indicate and follow the transition from a partisan to a non-partisan senate. The move from the oppositional seating to facing the speaker is supposed to represent this.

The problem I'm currently having is that you could pretty well fit the entire senate on either of the three benches. A long term project is using these graphics to show party standings, in all houses (Senate, HoC, Provincial Legislatures) across Canada going back to Confederation (and maybe even before) and I don't want to have to end up changing the Senate graphic radically. As such, I've ensured there are enough seats for the highest ever level of Senators (Liberals during St. Laurent) on the same benches, which will result in some very large bench sizes (I'll also need to fit Mulroney's majority into the HoC graphic)

Anyway, the just wanted to share!

Manitoba: fun stuff

First, there will be no update to the projection. While there was a new poll, it only served to show the current projection carries weight.

So, I decided to have some fun. Remember when we "de-merged" the Saskatchewan Party? I decided to create a "Saskatchewan Party of Manitoba" to show what is likely when we merge the PC party and Liberals. First, a caveat; it is not a simple addition, we do see differences in areas where the NDP does well and the PC Party does poorly; in that the Liberal vote actually goes to the NDP more than it does to the newly merged party. Regardless, on with the map:

As you can see, you end up with a "Saskatchewan sized majority" with the "Saskatchewan Party of Manitoba" taking an overwhelming majority. Not quite as large as in Saskatchewan, but nearly. Do not fret, however, as applying this to the most recent election still results in an NDP majority:

So, I decided, lets see what else we can do. What if we created a "Reverse Saskatchewan Party" - IE a merger of the NDP and Liberals. This is the basic result for the current election:

As you can see we still have a right-wing majority, unsurprising when they are polling at or over 50%. So I thought, what else can I do? The answer was to just plain erase the NDP and Liberals, and have the Greens be the only opposition to the PC Party:

There is an area of Central Winnipeg where the PC Party does poorly. To this I added the riding James Beddome is running in (the southernmost riding) to give the Greens 8. You'll notice a break in the pattern, the Greens do not win the northern ridings. In fact, it seems the PC Party has a bit more pull with first nations voters than the Greens do. So what else can we do? Well if we can unmerge a party, why not do it again?

This is an estimation of the current election, if the Tories were still divided like they were, Federally, in the 90's.

This was difficult. In particular, deciding how to split things. In the end I decided to go with splitting things similarly to how they were in 1997. Brian Pallister, at the time was a PC Candidate. Later, he decided to join the Canadian Alliance, but we have some different circumstances here. I could go on for paragraphs outlining why, but I'll just say that the PC Party would be the dominant force here in Manitoba. Pallister would also be PC Leader. As such, I've determined the following result:

As you can see, most of the strength of the win comes from Winnipeg. The Reform and PC Parties actually had quite a battle in many rural areas of Manitoba, but within Winnipeg, the PC Party was clearly ahead.

Regardless, these are just for fun. Tonight we'll see the real results.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Manitoba: no final prediction

Sad news, I have no final prediction for Manitoba. Predictions are things I do for fun and for your entertainment. This contrasts with Projections, which use hard math.

I have no prediction because I've decided to do a Projection. A long time ago, I decided to ignore the 6 "smaller" provinces, due to the fact that there are about 500 or so votes per riding that behave nothing like the math would suggest, due to local concerns (like knowing the candidate personally) and when you are talking about results that look like 4,000 votes VS 3,000 votes, such as you find here in Manitoba, those 500 voters can matter much more than in federal ridings where you can easily see margins of 22,000 to 23,000.

However, Manitoba has one huge advantage: Winnipeg. Cities tend to behave more as the math would suggest as opposed to rural areas. Compare Manitoba to it's neighbour, Saskatchewan. They have two smaller cities (smaller cities make things much worse, think of it like a square root) with 24 seats VS 37 outside the cities. In Manitoba, however, Manitoba has 31 Winnipeg seats, vs 26 non-Winnipeg seats. Manitoba has far more people living in it's large cities, and has cities that are far larger.

As such, if the math is to work in any province that has under 4 million people, Manitoba is the best bet. So. Lets dive in:

Recent Polls have actually - when averaged - indicated the Liberal "dip" might not be as low as we had thought. Of course (at the time of writing) the two most recent polls indicate a strong recovery and a massive drop respectively. On the whole, when averaged, the Liberal vote has stabilized at somewhere around 17%.

You'll notice a few X's. These are ridings where I've decided to over-ride the math. First, a few ridings where I chose not to:

Brandon East: The Liberal campaign here has had some problems, including some anti-Brandon comments made by the candidate in Brandon West. If the Liberals were doing even better, I'd consider putting them higher, but as it stands, I just can not project a Liberal win in Brandon East based on these numbers.

Fort Rouge: This is where the Liberal Leader is running against Wab Kinew. Why? Simply; the math suggests a massive Liberal lead here. I do think Bokhari will drive voters away, but the lead is so large (even the NDP+PC vote only beats the Liberal vote by 0.3%) that I can not see this gap being overcome, even with a popular candidate. This does not even get into possible strategic voting from Tories eager to split the left-wing vote by voting Liberal.

St. Boniface: This is where Greg Selinger is running. The math behind a victory for him is very strong, and his chances of losing are extraordinarily low. Excuse the allcaps, but; IF the Tory candidate was potentially able to tap into the francophone vote by being known by the community, then MAYBE I would consider this. I am NOT saying that I'm putting the NDP in the column because they are running a white guy, I am saying that I'm not even willing to consider making such a huge math leap when the candidate can not be considered a "star" in any way.

And now where I have overturned the results

Burrows: I have this riding going Liberal even though the math indicates it should be a 3-way race with a narrow NDP lead over the Tories. Why? The simple answer is Lamoureux and Lamoureux. First is Kevin, who represents part of this riding Federally, and has built a small Liberal base of support. The second is the Provincial candidate, who has the Lamoureux name. I believe that these two factors can combine into the few extra points needed to win a close 3-way race.

Kewatinook: The math suggests the Tories can win, but I have very strong doubts. The poll by poll results from 2011 indicate pockets of PC strength, pockets that, in the 2015 Federal election, frequently saw the CPC candidate beat by the Libertarians. It's no surprise that the 2011 candidate came from a reserve in the riding, the reserve he won heavily. The former candidate in 2007 was also from a reserve within the riding. The current PC Candidate is not. When you get this far north, things like that matter a great deal, and for that reason, I am considering this riding to see the largest increase in NDP vote in the province.

As such, that is my projection for the election tomorrow. I will only be doing an update if a we get a poll from one of the form that has not published in two weeks publishes a new poll. Given the margins between the Tories and NDP, the only real change from an update would be the possibility of the loss of Liberal seats.


The two most vulnerable Liberal ridings are The Maples, in the far north of Winnipeg, and Logan, in the middle of the "S" which could be lost to the PC Party and the NDP respectively.

Manitoba: Penultimate Update

Next to last update; expect a final update at some point tomorrow:

Response: 15 ridings to watch

A response to this article:

The article is full of too many "cool" people in ridings they will clearly and obviously win or lose. these are the 15 "swing" ridings that will or could switch parties.

Ireland: Minority Government

An update to the Irish Election.

FG and FF had tried to form a coalition but were just too far apart; they also tried, each, to talk to the independents and form their own majority, but were unable to.

As a result, FG will be forming a minority government, one which will have limited FF support. Exactly what shape this takes is yet to be determined, but in general, the thinking is that it will be an accord for 3 years that will see FF pass confidence motions (or perhaps abstain) which would peg the next election sometime in 2019.

As a result, this is likely one of the last posts I make about the Irish election. There will be an election in Northern Ireland coming up, and I may post some sort of update about politics in the republic at that time.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Canada: A general update

I like doing these from time to time to ensure that everyone (myself included) is up to date. A note; given the recent and future elections in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, these provinces will be skipped.

House of Commons
It has been quite a while since I last did an update, so, I will use the election as the "last update" time. Since the last update, we've only seen one change, the death of Jim Hillyer (C), the MP for Medicine Hat.
184 - L
98 - C
44 - N
10 - B
1 - G
1 - V

The Senate has changed radically, in that the new Prime Minister, like his father, has actually changed the way the Senate works. As such, I need to change the way I report party standings. Officially, they look like so:
42 - C
26 - L
20 - I
16 - V
However, given the move towards a non-partisan system, I will need to start including 'leaners' As such, the results are as follows
52 - C
36 - L
16 - V
This puts all 9 Harper appointed Independents within the Conservative fold, as well as Anne Cools, who has been leaning to the right over the years, and puts the 10 remaining Senators in with the Liberals.

British Columbia
Since the election, the party standings have only seen a minor change, that being the pick up of a seat by the NDP.
48 - L
35 - N
1 - G
1 - I

The party balance remains as it was at the election, with the sole change being the pickup of Prentice's seat, as he resigned from his seat prior to being elected to it. The Alberta Liberals have an Interim Leader at the moment, as does the Alberta PC Party, leadership elections will thus need to happen in these parties.
54 - N
22 - W
9 - P
1 - L
1 - A

Due to it's small size, strange things can happen. Party lines are not as solid as they are elsewhere. The largest change is the defection of the Liberal leader to the Yukon Party.
12 - Y
6 - N
1 - L

Prince Edward Island
There have been no changes singe the election. The Tories will be holding a leadership election to elect a new leader.
18 - L
8 - P
1 - G

Nova Scotia
Two government members were removed from caucus since the election. The small Green Party has an interim leader at this time, and will need to hold a leadership election.
33 - L
10 - P
6 - N
2 - I

New Brunswick
No changes since the election, but the PC Party has an interim leader at this time, as such, a leadership race will be needed.
26 - L
22 - P
1 - G

Newfoundland and Labrador
No changes since the election. All the parties currently have permanent leaders.
31 - L
7 - P
2 - N

The seat of Sudbury changed hands in a by-election; the other by-elections held since the election have resulted in the incumbent parties holding the seats.
59 - L
28 - P
20 - N

There have been a few changes due to by-elections. All the parties currently have stable leaders.
71 - PLQ
30 - PQ
20 - CAQ
3 - QS
1 - IND

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Manitoba - NDP in deep trouble

The NDP in Manitoba has failed to take in as many Liberal votes as I've previously expected, as such, I've updated my prediction:

This would be the largest majority by any party since 1915, and the most seats (raw number) ever won by a single party in the history of Manitoba.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Manitoba; prediction based on math

I've been able to apply some math to the prediction within Winnipeg itself, using a rolling poll average. While I do caution that the small sample size may mean the polls are off, and, the small riding size may introduce local variables that are not accounted for, this is where things currently stand.

Note that I've included a date and time stamp on this map to make clear which polls are and are not included in this prediction.

Note that this prediction was updated from the original at 11:15am on the 12th. The change is the removal of the Liberal seat in Brandon East due to a new poll edging the party down.

Note further that this prediction was updated again at 4pm on the 13th, to include information from the Debates. This has changed things as follows:

The Liberals are effectively dead. They will be fighting to get 8% in the polls and beat their popular vote from last time. Their increase in seats will be due to the NDP's failures. The drop off in the Liberal vote will also allow a point or two to go to the Greens who may end the election over 5% provincewide. Beddome, who is personally popular, is running in a different riding than the one he ran in last election, had he chosen to stick with his old riding, there might be some Green on this map, but given the switch, the best he can hope for is about 20%-25% of the vote. There is still an outside chance that vote splits may mean that is enough for him to win.

I've also re-assigned a point or two of the Liberal vote to the PC Party, which changes nothing, and also, a few points back to the NDP. With the realization that the Liberals are not an alternative force, I predict that many disgruntled NDP voters will hold their nose and cast their ballot for the NDP, resulting in a very slight boost.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

NDP Leadership

First a reminder: many of these posts are written in advance. I'm writing this a short time after my previous post was published. I already have (the math/map for) tomorrow's post written, it is about Manitoba, but we seem to be having polls every few days, so there is a chance that by the time that post goes up, it may again be already dated. If so, I will pen another post, but I am making an effort to keep my Manitoba posts spaced out on every other day.

On to the NDP.

With the removal of Mulcair, the NDP will need to pick a new leader. I've been looking through the possible candidates and have created a list, grouped by the odds, of the people who may run.

Unlikely to win.
These potential candidates may decide to run, but for various reasons, are unlikely to win. They also may choose to not run, however, since they can't win, it does not impact much.

Niki Ashton
She likely will run, but has a problem being visible. People (IE NDP leadership voters) know who she is, but likely do not know much about her. She can't grab attention, which was part of what brought Mulcair down.

Robert Chisholm
He has a similar problem as above, people may know who he is and what he's done, but he is unable to grab the attention that someone needs to win the leadership.

Guy Caron
While Caron may be able to grab attention when he wants it, his problem is he's simply not done enough, and as such, is too fresh and new. In addition, I strongly suspect another Quebecois will be running for leader, and suck up a good fraction of vote that would otherwise go to Caron.

Hassan Yussuff
I don't know why people think he might run. His cred is that he is head of the CLC, but labour is not exactly popular in the country. Most people feel that labour unions only stand up for the middle class as the underclass is generally not represented.

Unlikely to run.
These are candidates that might do well if they run, but are not likely to do so.

Gary Doer
There are a number of reasons he's unlikely to run, take your pick: He's a Moderate when people want to move Left, he's been out of Politics for quite some time, he is going on 70, etc.

Mike Layton
While I admit I don't know his personality personally, it does seem he wants to build a name for himself in Toronto, and he still has some work to do in order to solidify his reputation there. Layton is still partly running on the reputation of his father, when he has his own reputation, he may jump to another level of government.

Romeo Saganash
While it would be good for the party to have a first nations leader, the problems he has faced will likely keep him from running; though his endorsement may be extremely valuable.

Daniel Blaikie
Similar to Mike Layton, he needs to build his own reputation first.

Rebecca Blaikie
The same problem as her brother has, but more than that, she has never struck me as very much of a "leader"

Olivia Chow
I had a hard time deciding to put her here, but given her two recent losses, I think that she may decide to take some time off from politics.

Unlikely to do well.
These are people who are similar to the first group, but may have the support needed to end up winning in a shocker, such as Stephane Dion did.

Paul Dewar
His lack of French will hurt him, but also the fact that he sort of blends into the background. His major plus is he is inoffensive, but that blandness is also what hurts him.

Peter Julian
Less bland than Dewar, Julian may be able to find a path to victory by convincing everyone to rank him #2 on a preferential ballot. Julian is a constituency MP, and as such, is less known nationally than he otherwise would, or perhaps should, be.

Nathan Cullen
His main strength last time, his being a moderate, is deadly now. Cullen will need to wear the fact that he was seen by many as the "merger candidate" last time, an idea that has no pull now.

Wild Cards.
These are people who the media have not focused on, but who could make a run regardless.

Pat Martin
Defeated MP but still popular among some in NDP circles. Martin, known for being angry, may find a lush field of voters should Trudeau's government fail to mollify the working class.

Alexandrine Latendresse
One of the best NDP MPs elected in Quebec in 2011, she resigned after only one term. While there is little to no sign that she wants the job, if she did attempt to take it, she could finish very well indeed.

Dominic Cardy
While a moderate, Cardy has a unique problem that everyone in New Brunswick seems to like him, except for the NDP which he leads.

Pierre Ducasse
The first Quebecois to run for NDP leader, in 2003, he has had an awful electoral record. Despite that, he has managed to become known by those within the NDP, and those looking for an alternative option may look to him.

Strong Candidates.
These are the people who I expect the media to focus on.

Jagmeet Singh
The party has a strong desire to connect with immigrant communities. The NDP has always been about diversity, but the ethnic makeup of their caucus does not reflect this to the degree the party would like. Many may feel that having a leader from a minority group would serve the party well.

Avi Lewis
Associated with the Leap Manifesto, Lewis certainly has the last name to make a strong run. Should be able to rally around the Leap Manifesto, he could use that as a wedge issue to propel him to the top. A Lewis candidacy would certainly result in many keys typed across the blogosphere, and would grab the attention of political nerds across the country.

Charlie Angus
More and more attention is being paid to first nations and problems within some reserves. Most of those reserves are in Angus' riding, and Angus has done a great job of getting attention. The problem has come with turning that attention into action. Angus could easily convince people that he could use that same attention getting ability for the entire party, and that this could lead to Government itself.

The Winner.
I feel that one of these people will win the leadership, however, as noted a few groups back with Stephane Dion, anything can happen when the chips are down.

Peggy Nash
Despite losing her riding, she is still a potential candidate. She did well in 2012, and does have the left-wing credentials to do very well. Nash also has labour connections, and is based in the growing city of Toronto. Another factor may be age. Nash is 64, and may feel this is her last chance to become leader, if so, she may throw everything into this race, and that will serve her well.

Alexandre Boulerice
A certified leftist, Boulerice will have no problem appealing to the left wing of the party. Boulerice will almost certainly unify the Quebecois voters within the party, and will be able to use that base to boost his leadership. I will be surprised if he is not within the final three. The only way he does not run, IMO, is if there are some skeletons in the closet he does not want to come out.

Ruth Ellen Brosseau
Brosseau started her political life as a 20-something "vegas girl" who was seen by many as a 'dumb blonde' who couldn't even speak French. A few short years later she became one of the only NDP MPs to increase her vote share, and has risen the ranks within the NDP itself. Brosseau's biggest strength is that people under-estimate her. A Brosseau candidacy would likely get little serious attention at first, but would also likely quickly rise to the top. Of all the candidates above, she is the only one I could see putting the NDP in serious contention for government in the coming decade.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Manitoba Update: 1 week out

A week from today, Manitoba goes to the polls to elect a new government. Unlike Saskatchewan, where that phrase simply means "re-elect the current government", here in Manitoba, they actually will elect a new government. The PC Party will take office (unless the polls are so wrong that their errors in Alberta and BC will look like 'widdo booboos') The election of Brian Pallister will mark an end to the period that started with the election of Dwight Ball in Newfoundland; a period of time where no government party in Canada has the name "Conservative" in it's name.

My current prediction is as follows:

There are a few ridings I have my eye on:

The NDP "fringe"
These are the ridings still painted Orange that had the Blue X in them in my earlier map. The PC Party has momentum, and if that continues, they could take these ridings.

Fort Rouge
On the numbers, this riding should go Liberal, but Rana Bokhari has not run the most competent campaign. Being able to skate through media questions is something a leader must be able to do, and her ability to do this is iffy. In addition, many see the dip in poll numbers for the Liberals as due to her inability to impress. As such, there will likely be a desire among some Liberal voters to punish her personally. Add to that the fact that she is running against Wab Kinew who is easily a star.

Winnipeg's Due North ridings
Like many cities, including Toronto and Montreal, part of Winnipeg is on a bit of a "slant" from true north. As such, the entire north-east border is seen as "Northern" Winnipeg. I, however, am talking about the 3 ridings located "due north" and hugged against the corner; two of which are Liberal on this map, and the third is NDP. These ridings are where the Liberals have grown strength in the past decade, and if they plan to have a base of support, they need to build it here.

Flin Flon
This is the northern riding I have coloured in Liberal Red. This riding is a bit iffy on the math; the Liberals have a good strong history here, but their drop on the polls makes this borderline. What confuses things is that the current MLA, elected as an NDPer, is running as an Independent. It is always difficult to say how these things impact the vote. There are two things that frequently happen. One is that party voters split while voters for the other stay with their traditional voting home. If that happens the Liberals certainly win. The other, which has happened with candidates such as Bob Simpson in BC or Brent Rathgeber, is that voters from the other parties see the Independent as their best hope for defeating that party, and line up behind the candidate. If this happens, the current MLA will be re-elected. It's difficult to tell what will happen here.

Brandon East
With the Liberals at or around 22% in the polls, this riding should go Liberal, however, with the party headed towards a number closer to 15%, this riding just does not have the Liberal strength to elect an MLA. The problem for the NDP is that even on the 2011 results, the PC Party nearly took the riding. As a result, I am currently predicting this riding will go PC. Remember that the Liberals took about 7.5% last election. 15% is a doubling, while 22.5% is triple. At triple, they can take the riding, at double, they can not.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A leadership reviewed.

I was wrong. In particular, I made a key incorrect assumption.

The media has been telling us that Thomas Mulcair was unpopular because of the faults in the NDP campaign of 2015. Mulcair took a party that was leading in the polls and managed to finish third.

I had insisted, and still insist, that Justin Trudeau had more to do with this inversion of the progressive vote than Thomas Mulcair did. Running on the same platforms, the NDP still would have lost the progressive vote to the Liberals even if Jack Layton was still leading the NDP.

What I missed is the platform. Layton was always seen as a leftist, while Mulcair likely would have been more comfortable policy wise in the Liberal Party, or even the Tories.

The problem was the platform, and the fact that Mulcair was so supportive of it.

If the NDP had run on a left-wing platform, there's good chance they would have done better. Remember, people voted for Jack Layton and his left-wing NDP; Canadians were and are willing to accept a left-wing government.

As I outlined in the Saskatchewan election post, the NDP has serious problems with organization. I had assumed it was these issues that Mulcair was being blamed for, and with that in mind, I had assumed that he would take about 71% in the leadership review. With the policy problems in mind, his 48% is thus unsurprising.

What is surprising is the history.

The concept of a leadership review was inspired by the revolt against Diefenbaker in 1963 which nearly caused the government to fall. Diefenbaker held on to the leadership to 1967 when the Party President finally forced a vote. The leadership review was seen as a way to avoid such divisions in the future.

Parties began adopting the idea, and, since then, all major parties have held leadership reviews at their conventions. Federal and Provincial Liberals have had their own instances; Gordon Wilson and even Jean Chretien both chose to resign rather than face a potentially embarrassing result in a leadership review. Turner, who achieved 76%, decided to stay. Trudeau Sr's lowest was 81%.

80% has also been a good marker. PQ leader Bernard Landry resigned after failing to reach this level. Elizabeth May, and Preston Manning both remained over this level for their terms. Even Harper, leading the non-Progressive Conservative Party managed to beat this mark in his only review.

The PC Party has had quite a bit more trouble with leadership reviews. Stuart Murray, Manitoba Opposition Leader, and Ralph Klein, Alberta Premier, both achieved 55% and resigned over it. John Tory, meanwhile, captured 66.9% and decided to stay. The Federal PC Party has had more interesting results; Many know that Joe Clark resigned after getting 66.9% in 1983. What is lesser known is that he earlier decided to stay after getting only 66.4% in 1981.

As such, there is a fuzzy line, somewhere around two third of the vote (66.6%) that is seen as having passed or failed a leadership review. 55% was seen as a low, a very shocking low. What happened yesterday however was a first.

This leadership review will displace Joe Clark's 1983 review for one simple reason: this is the first time a party has ever voted "yes" to throwing it's leader out.

So what does this mean?

Tomorrow, not much.

However, some time in the next two year, we will be picking a new NDP leader.

I will be reviewing the possible candidates, as well as posting updates on Manitoba, and updates on politics elsewhere in the world, this week.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Manitoba Prediction: Liberals in deep trouble.

Manitoba's election is more exciting than the one over in Saskatchewan.

The short of it, for those who do not know, is as follows.

First, the NDP has formed the government for quite some time. Prior to that the province had a PC government, prior to that an NDP government, and so on. The Liberals, while present, have not been able to form a government in quite some time.

Secondly, the current NDP Premier was expected to lose the last election, but managed to squeeze out a victory that some say was fueled by news of the return of the Winnipeg Jets. The NDP has, as such, been "on the way out" for years.

Third, the current NDP Premier was challenged from within his own party, and while he managed to defeat that challenge, it has hurt him and the party, and he's not been able to recover.

Fourth and finally, just as Jack Layton boosted provincial NDP Parties in 2011, Justin Trudeau has had a similar impact on provincial Liberals. Like the earlier example, this did not turn into results, but rather, only poll numbers. The difference is that an increase in poll numbers can mean attention, and at a time when centre-left voters in Manitoba were being disgruntled with the NDP, the Liberals suddenly came into the spotlight.

There had been polls earlier in the campaign suggesting that - with just a bit more momentum - the Liberals could win. Since then we've seen them losing support.

As such, this is where I currently feel things are headed

You may wonder why such a large change over a short time. The answer is simple; information. I do not live in Manitoba, nor is Manitoba one of the "big 4" provinces (which I make an effort to keep up on) and as such, my information on Manitoba politics is limited. I've been learning more (and plan to continue learning more) and what I've learned has indicated the Liberals are doing poorly. Added to that, but separate from that, is the poll showing that this feeling is accurate.

I'll be keeping an eye on things, and make posts between now and the election on the 19th, but from what I can tell, this seems to, generally, be where things are headed.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Manitoba, undecided seats

Using my last prediction, I've decided to indicate the undecided seats.

I should note that my earlier prediction was actually written in advance, the day before. Since then we've seen polling indicating that the Liberals are not doing well, and as such, I will be writing a new prediction map, right now, scheduled for posting tomorrow morning.

I feel it's important to create daily posts, when possible, and hence, why I'm spacing things out.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Manitoba Prediction

I've worked on my prediction for Manitoba a bit, and have come up with the following:

Nothing else really to comment on at this time. The Tories seem to be doing rather well in Winnipeg, and if that continues, I will need to increase the number of seats they take in that city.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Saskatchewan without the Saskatchewan Party

First, a quick note; yes I am keeping my eye on what's going on in Iceland, as well as working on Manitoba.

Earlier, I said that I could use 3rd place results to determine what things would look like without the Saskatchewan Party. I've been able to do so. It became quite simple, actually, once I was able to fill in the gaps in the PC Candidate list.

There are a number of ways I was able to do this, and I wish to detail the method(s) I've used so that you may do so yourself.

1 - Use a swing from another party, or other parties. This is most difficult, as you need to figure out exactly where the swing is coming from. It's also most likely that the swing is not coming from just a single party, but multiple parties; compare, for example, the Reform vote in 1993, and you'll notice it does not match the PC vote, but rather, a combination of PC and NDP vote, but with the NDP weighted less in areas where the NDP did well, and vice versa in certain rural areas.

2 - Check the past. In the last election the party ran in Moose Jaw, but it did not this time, as such, one way to fill in the gaps is to simply pen in the last-time results, with possible adjustments for vote growth (or shrinkage) based on the ratio of the last-time vote, with further adjustment for current or past star candidates. This is also the sole method I used to fill in slots for the Green Party. You can also use results from another level of government (Federal or Provincial) but it is very important to keep in mind unique circumstances, (like the BC Liberals), or that strengths are not equal (like the Tories right here in our example of Saskatchewan)

3 - Check nearby ridings, or similar ridings. One simple way to fill in a gap is to take the average of all neighbouring ridings. This, clearly, has some faults to it, but it can do in a crunch. Always be sure to reduce the result by 10% or 20% when the gap was created by the party being unable to find a candidate, as opposed to an error (like a death or being slightly late with the paperwork) as being unable to find a candidate tends to indicate weakness in any particular area.

4 - Use the area's average. This is more useful in cities. For example, the PC Party missed a few spots in the "South and East" region I use, and as such, using the area average (with the same reduction noted above) is a good way to achieve the result you need.

5 - Randomness. At some point, especially for the tiny parties, picking a random number actually provides you with the most accurate. Note this only works for tiny parties, parties taking about 1% of the popular vote in the ridings where they run, and, who only run in a handful of ridings. You can also use this to decide upon a random factor; for example, I've decided that 0.1% of the vote is an accurate number for the "Other" parties in Saskatchewan, based on randomness alone.

6 - Update Update Update. If you plan to keep using your file, you will want to keep things up to date. Any of these methods can work for a growth of about 2X (double the last-time result) plus about a raw 2% of the vote. As such the PC Party, which took 4.5% in the ridings they ran. This is too much for Randomness. As such the "area average" can be used to determine the entire PC vote province-wide, and, accurately work even if the PC Party takes 11% of the vote. (double plus 2%) If, however, they are polling at 12%, you will want to use the next method up on the list. There is no exact math to determine when you need to use #1 from the list, but I am personally comfortable that using accurate swings will work even if a party is up 100 fold (0.5% last time, 50% this time)

Remember that these numbers are a baseline, to which you can add further adjustments later on.

I've also divided the province into a number of regions, as outlined on this map:

The reason for these regions focuses almost exclusively on the PC Party, especially the rural split. This split is the most useful for using method 4 as outlined above, and that was the first method I used.

One important thing I noticed was a negative swing compared to the Liberals; that is, where the Liberals did well, the PC Party did poorly. I also noticed that where the Sask Party did well, the Pc Party did well. This helped me determine which ridings would lean more Liberal (where the Liberals and Sask Party did well) and which were more Conservative (where the Sask Party did well, but the Liberals did not)

Either way, when I ran the math, this is what I ended up with:

The NDP's weakness becomes clear, as even with the Saskatchewan Party split in two, they fail to win a majority, or even a plurality. What is most interesting is there has been a change, over time, in areas of strength. The Liberals previously had done in the central-east areas, near Yorkton, but now find themselves doing better near the Battlefords. Federal results over the last two decades do indicate a slight shift in this direction as well; this seems to have been instigated by conservative and Conservative strength in the eastern area or the province, which has prompted former Liberals to choose between the NDP and the Tories, while the opposite has happened in the areas around Battleford, where the NDP's weakness has allowed more votes go go Liberal.

It's difficult to say how such an alternate election would have turned out. The parties have been "merged" as the Saskatchewan Party since 1997. You'd need to re-run the 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011 elections to determine a more "real" result. In 1999 in particular, it's likely the NDP would have faced a minority, but also faced a Liberal party unwilling to deal. 2007 also may not have been won by either the Liberals or Tories.

Regardless, this is a potentially useful way to indicate ridings (IE Liberal ones on the map) that the Saskatchewan Party could lose if it decides to move too far to the right, or, ridings they could lose to a resurgent PC Party (the blue ones) if it moves too far to the centre.

As it stands, Brad Wall is too smart to pull his party off it's successful track, and it would take a significant change for any of this to actually be of any impact to the Saskatchewan Party.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Pirate Party to win government - no this is not a joke

Again; this is not a joke.

Thanks in large part to the Panama Papers, the Prime Minister of Iceland has asked the President to dissolve the legislature (The Althing) and hold a snap election.

Due to the nature of the Panama Papers themselves, the Pirate Party of Iceland can be expected to gain 5%, perhaps even 10% above their current position in the polls; especially given the unique nature of Iceland.

Here's the "problem",_2016#Opinion_polls

The party is already on nearly 40% of the vote.

There is an honest to goodness chance that if they play their cards right, the party could top 50%, and win a majority.

Even at current strength, the Pirates are a shoe-in for the largest party, and given the issues, will almost certainly retain that position.

I will keep you updated as the situation develops.

UPDATE: The President has apparently said "no"

UPDATE: From what I can gather, the President's actual answer was along the lines of "Try again later" with some implication that if a majority of Parliament wants a dissolution, he'd grant it. The President also has made noises that he may be willing to act on his own in the interests of the country.

UPDATE: Final update to this post: The PM has resigned. This has an implication that there will not be a dissolution; as it's unlikely (though possible) the new PM would dissolve a parliament he (or she) controls.

Saskatchewan Election Results.

The results of the election were as follows:

51 - SKP
10 - NDP

You likely heard the NDP took 9 seats last time, and that is true, but also misleading. Due to boundary changes, the NDP was actually sitting on 10 seats. This election they took 10. The differences are in where those seats changed. Both Moose Jaw and Prince Albert are split into two ridings, one covering the north, and another the south, of their respective cities. The NDP has, effectively, changed their Moose Jaw seat (which was based on math) for a Prince Albert seat (filled by a real human) The NDP also exchange it's current leader's seat in Saskatoon for it's former leader's seat in Regina. Should the NDP exchange this seat for their next leader in the next election, that would be a "hat trick" of leader losses.

So, we all knew this was coming, that's a bit boring; so what is interesting? We could look at second place finishers:

As you may see, there is one riding with a giant blue X in it. This indicates that in this riding, if you combine all the "other" parties (not including the first two) that the total would put that combined vote in second. This is more to indicate that this does not occur in any other riding; in 59 of the 61 ridings, the two major parties took so many votes, that even all other parties combined could not finish second. Kindersley is the one riding where the NDP finished in third, as an Independent and former Sask Party MLA ran (and lost). Speaking of third:

This is perhaps the most interesting map. The PC Party actually maintains some of it's historic pattern, not exactly, but the north-south split is clear. The Liberals meanwhile win a majority of the ridings on this 3rd place map, indicating a positive step in rebuilding. The Greens are not left out; they win their leader's riding, as well as three others in more rural areas. I can not say for certain exactly why they won these areas, but I have noted a few things. First, Weyburn (in the extreme south) saw both the Liberal and PC Candidates doing worse than expected, leaning me to think there are local voting patterns and/or issues impacting the result. Second, Swift Current (the small one) is the home of Brad Wall. It's important to remember that the Saskatchewan Party was a merger of the majority of PC Party MLAs with the majority of Liberal Party MLAs. Wall, although a PC member at the time, has governed very much in a "Liberal" manner (or at least, how Liberal was understood, provincially in Saskatchewan, at the time or said merger.) It is extremely likely that he gains a personal vote from Liberals. Lastly in Rosetown, the Greens seem to actually have (a very small amount) of local strength, while the Liberals do not. There was no PC Candidate in this riding and it is my guess that had one run, they would have won (3rd place in) this riding.

I may be able to use some of this data to "unmerge" the Saskatchewan Party, and do an estimation as to what an election would have looked like, if the Saskatchewan Party did not exist, and if the PC Party and Liberals were both competitive.

So what does this all mean?

Independents: 1,680 votes, 0.39%. Nobody won, so nobody will remember any of them even ran. Last election they took 44 votes, at 0.01%.

Western Independence Party: 318 votes, 0.07%. They finished 4th and beat the Liberals in the one riding in which they ran (the northmost PC riding on the 3rd place map), but despite that, my mentioning them here on this small blog is the best thing to come out of the election for them. Last election they took 58 votes, at 0.01%.

Tories: 5,515 votes, 1.29% or 4.14% in ridings where they ran. This is not that bad, better than the Liberals on a per-riding basis. The PC Party seems to be on the slow path to rebuilding, the problem is long-term loyalty and stability. The Liberals could always pull on Federal members, but the PC Party has no similar pull with most CPC members being Saskatchewan Party supporters. If the party can manage a full slate, and take 5% of the vote or more, they could be on the path to being truly "back". Last election they took 1,315 votes, at 0.33%, but 3.5% in the ridings which they ran.

Greens: 7,896 votes, 1.85%. Not so great, but not so bad that any heads need to roll. While they are down from last election, that was facing a much less crowded field; where the Tories had only run 5 candidates, and the Liberals, 9, with only 3 others running, meaning that 42 ridings had only SKP, NDP, and Green candidates. Losing what they did in that context is fair. Last election they took 11,561 votes at 2.87%

Liberals: 15,399 votes, 3.61%. Good, not great. Had this been great, Lamoureaux would be guaranteed his job next election. There's certainly no reason to dump him, but he may not want to stick around as a seatless leader of a 3.6% party. What's important is that all the above parties combined only took 15,409 votes; and while that is 10 votes more than the Liberals, it does indicate the province now clearly has a "3rd party". The problem is they also clearly had a "3rd party" last time, and that party finished 4th this time. The future of the party will be determined by what it's members do over the next year. If they are still committed to the party, it will continue to grow, but if they say "screw this" because things did not go as well as they hoped, the party will not be any further ahead after this election than they were before it. Last election they took 2,237, at 0.56%.

NDP: 129,530 votes, 30.36%, 10 seats. Wow did things turn out badly. The election did not turn out this way because the Saskatchewan Party has done so well; it has turned out this way because of the NDP's awful campaign. Lets also look at other provinces. In PEI they failed to elect an MLA. In NB they failed to elect an MLA. Federally they lost Leslie, Stoffer, and Harris. And now here in Saskatchewan, Broten, the leader, has lost his seat. The NDP has forgotten tactics; compare this to the aforementioned PEI and NB where the Greens managed to elect MLAs. The NDP (not just the Saskatchewan NDP) has forgotten how to organize, and this problem will continue to haunt the party until such as time as they figure it out. Last election they took 128,673 votes, 31.97%, and 9 seats (10 redistributed)

Saskatchewan Party: 267,238 votes, 62.63%, 51 seats. It's interesting to compare raw votes over time, while this is a high share, you only have to go back to the 80's and 90's to find parties taking a higher vote, mostly due to the fact that in those elections, 100,000 more people voted. In addition, Saskatchewan is a funny word, say it a few times... Okay I admit, I am avoiding discussing the performance of the Saskatchewan Party because there's nothing new to say. People like Wall. Saskatchewan's economy has done well compared to other provinces. The Saskatchewan Party has taken moderate stances that appeals to the electorate. That's all. Last election they took 258,598 votes, 64.25%, and 49 seats (51 redistributed)

What we knew would happen, happened; NDP did poorly.