Sunday, April 30, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017


Just a quick update today; a lot of personal troubles regarding a legal situation and the building I live in, so, my attention today has been otherwise occupied. As such plans about posts are being pushed back a day. Also, there is a (hopefully small) chance that the power could get cut off to this building and remain off for months; if that happens I clearly will be unable to keep everything up to date.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bonus post: a Bernier Majority

I drew this up for fun. Assuming Bernier were to win a Majority government, what would it look like? Note that this is not me saying he will win a majority; only if he won a majority, what seats would be part of it.

C - 163
L - 122
N - 54
B - 6
G - 2

I kept the NDP level around where it was last time, so don't read too much in to that.

Bernier, as a Libertarian, would shit some of the voting patterns of the Conservative Party, in particular, doing better in urban areas and worse in rural areas compared to a random other person as Conservative leader.

CPC Leadership (audio)

Another audio episode

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kevin O'Leary drops out (and NAFTA)

O'Leary has dropped out of the CPC leadership.
I'll do a more full examination of this tomorrow; but in short, this now pits Bernier vs whoever can position themselves as the "Not Bernier".

Also, stories Trump may withdraw the US from NAFTA. I'll make a post about this on Friday; but in short, he probably will, but that does not mean what you think it does.

Audio Episode for 26APR2017

Monday, April 24, 2017

1st round, French Presidential Election

France held the first round of it's Presidential Elections yesterday. The results were as follows:

24.01% - Emmanuel Macron
21.30% - Marine Le Pen
20.01% - Francois Fillon
19.58% - Jean-Luc Melenchon
6.36% - Benoit Hamon
4.70% - Nicolas Dupont-Aignan
4.04% - All Others

The various "Other" parties include two candidates thought of as Left, taking 1.09% and 0.64% of the vote; two that are seen by many as Right, taking 0.92% and 0.18%, and one regional candidate with a strong base in the South and West of France, taking 1.21% It is likely these voters will split near evenly in the final round.

Dupont-Aignan ran on a traditionalist platform reminiscent of Charles De Gaulle. He did better than many expected, especially earlier on in the process, and likely took votes away equally from Fillon and Le Pen. His voters are expected to swing strongly to Le Pen in the second round.

Benoit Hamon ran for the incumbent Socialist party as their official candidate. When looking at Presidential elections since 2002, this compares to 28.63% in the first round in 2012, 25.87% in 2007, and 16.18% in 2002. As I will explain later, you will see that this poor result does not necessarily spell the death of the party however. His voters are expected to swing very strongly to Macron.

Jean-Luc Melenchon ran for an alliance of Left parties, including the Communist Party. When looking at Presidential elections since 2002, this compares to the 11.10% Melenchon received in the last election, 1.93% for the Communists before that, and 3.37% for the Communists in 2002. While the clear majority of his voters can be expected to swing to Macron, some, angry with "the system" will swing to Le Pen

Francois Fillon ran for the Conservatives, and will miss the final round; the first time the main Conservative Party in France has missed the final round since 1981. His result compares to 27.18% last time for Sarkozy, 31.18% before that, and actually beats the 19.88% received in the first round by Jacques Chirac in 2002. Fillon endorsed Macron, but many of his voters, perhaps even a very narrow majority, will swing to the more ideologically similar Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen ran for the National Front; a Far-Right and Pro-Trump party. Due to the two round system used in France, the party has only ever elected a total of 4 members to the assembly in general elections, two of which sit currently. However, in 1986, the party won 35 seats due to a switch to Proportional Representation. Le Pen will advance to the next round. She beats her 17.90% she received 5 years ago, the 10.44% her father received prior to that, and the 16.86% her father achieved in 2002 that allowed him to advance to the second round.

Emmanuel Macron ran for En Marche, a new political party. He is often compared in the media to Justin Trudeau (yes, even in France) and has been called a Trudeauist, whatever that means. He is the first Moderate to advance to a second round since 1981. Macron will advance to the second round, despite having never run for office previously. However, we can actually compare his results to previous results for one key reason; his endorsement by Francois Bayrou. Bayrou ran in the last three Presidential elections and holds very similar policy positions to Macron. Additionally, now that the ballots are cast, it is quite clear Macron's vote pattern is very similar to that of Bayrou. As such you can compare this to the 9.13% taken last time, the 18.57% before that, and the 6.84% before that.

One interesting quirk is that Macron's vote seems to be made up of Bayrou's vote, as well as half of the Socialist vote. Unsurprising given that Macron was a Socialist when he served in Cabinet. Using this logic, one may assume had Bayrou ran, he would have received, 11.93%, while Hamon may have finished with 18.28%, far more in line with a "poor" result for his party. Polls show that while Macron did receive the vote of about half of self-identified Socialists, only half of those from Bayrou's party claim to have voted for him in the first round.

Polls, which up to this point remain accurate, show that Macron would defeat Le Pen by a vote of around 64%-36%. My money is on a narrower victory of 61%-39%, and possibly even as narrow as 59%-41%. However, I do not think that Le Pen can win without a major change (such as another Terrorist attack) and even then a victory will be difficult. Unlike the US or UK where a 1% vote swing can massively change the number of Seats/EVs that are taken, a head-to-head popular vote competition is much easier to forecast and harder to swing, especially at these levels.

On the 11th and 18th of June, France will elect a new Parliament. Historically, the winner of the Presidential election is usually rewarded with additional seats in Parliament (though not always) and as such it can be expected for the winner of the Presidency to impact this election.

Macron's party (and allies like Bayrou) should be able to win around 100-150 seats in the Assembly should he win the Presidential Election, and that some form of coalition consisting of upwards of 300 members should be able to be hammered out giving Macron somewhat control over the Parliament. The largest thing Macron has going for him is that even should be only achieve a Plurality in coalition negotiations, his position in the centre means that opposition to him may well be divided, lowering the chance of cohabitation (an opposition Prime Minister) It is possible the FN may even be able to elect a dozen or two dozen members in this instance.

Le Pen's FN, should she win, would also see a boost. Given the two round system, however, the boost may not be as large as might otherwise be expected. The absolute maximum would be around 120 seats, with 80 being a much more likely maximum, and 40-60 being much more realistic in the event of a Le Pen victory. This would leave her with a minimum of 460 hostile members of the opposition, with that number being perhaps as high as 540. Best case scenario would see about 160 of the 460 be from the open to stronger Conservative ideals, and as such, there may be instances where Le Pen would be able to pass Legislation; but in general, she would face a hostile Parliament for the term.

Friday, April 21, 2017

UK Election risk, and timing change

A few news stories I suggest reading:

Put simply; there is a chance that, now there is an election and Corbyn's relationship with the voters (through the media) will change, there is a chance that this message will resonate despite his bad relationship with the media, and that he could actually win this election. (as my projections show, I doubt this)

Also a timing change; I've changed my normal "wake up" time which will impact the time I am able to make posts on this blog; I no longer have time to have a post ready for 7am. As such I'm moving to later posts.

It has come to my attention that many readers are still in high school; which is great as I purposefully write to an audience that is eager to learn. As such I will be aiming to have a post ready, every day, for these readers when they come home from school at between 3pm and 4pm eastern. It also means a new post should be ready for those working 9-5 jobs when they come home.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 1 UK Projection

A caution; this is a day 1 projection, meaning it is full of assumptions about how the campaign will go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

UK Election, June 8th

Breaking, the UK goes to the polls on June 8th

More to come.

Possible NI election on that date as well

Monday, April 17, 2017

Turkish Referendum

This will be a short post; but a Referendum was held in Turkey. The short of it is that a yes vote would empower Erdogan, the President.

Official results show a victory for Yes by 51.4% to 48.6% for the No side.

The opposition is contesting the results; so it remains to be seen how this will play out.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bonus post - Car Insurance

Put simply.

Car insurance is going to become a big issue in Ontario within the next years; if not in time for the next election.

What would it take to remove Trump from office?

This is actually going to be a much shorter post than I thought.

First, I recommend reading this article, which details how Alabama's governor recently resigned.

Note that the margin is 42%-54% which is a ratio of 1.2857, (54/42) which I will express as "as 28.57% ratio lead"

When Trump's disapproval ratio among both Republicans reaches 25%, he will be removed from office by Congress.

Trump could be removed at a lower rate, but by the time it reaches 25%, he's certainly gone. Given how divisive Trump his, this means you'd likely see an approval similar to above, 42%-54% among Republicans, which, probably would be around 20% nationwide.

TLDR; What would it take to remove Trump from office? 80% disapproval.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Why nations use Nukes

Teddy needs a bit of a break, so, here's something from the old "stuff teddy has memorized" file

No, the one on the right is not a model, it is real size. On the left is a GBU-43/B while on the right is a W54.
The W54 part of the Davy Crockett nuclear system. It is a tactical nuclear weapon. It is a nuke.
The GBU-43/B is also called a MOAB. It is the most powerful non-nuke the US military possesses.
Both these bombs have explosive powers, AKA yields, of around 11tons of TNT.
The nuke in the picture is actually rated "between 10 and 20"
So yes, both bombs are equally powerful.

This is why nations use nukes.

fun fact: the majority of nuclear weapons in the world are tactical nukes - small bombs designed for battlefield use. The massive ICBM "city busters" are 1/3rd of the US nuclear arsenal; 2/3rds of US nukes are small missiles that can be strapped to airplanes for battlefield use.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Busy day in Teddy's personal life.

Tomorrow I'll be doing a post about this article from 538, and how it applies to Donald Trump.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The further problem with the BC Polls

Despite all of this, I really can't say what the 'real' poll numbers in BC are. Why?

Look at the actual polls.

Now look at the polls from last time.

This one, in particular. Page 5.

Notice how the NDP is under-represented. For some reason, not enough people admitted to voting NDP to the pollster. In the end, the NDP lost.

In fact, this has traditionally been how to spot which party will lose, the one that's under-represented. Take Alberta for example. Wildrose was lacking.

The only reason I've not used this in BC is none of the polling firms will come out and tell us their numbers for "voted last time", you have to do math to even try to get a picture, they are unwilling to share their actual breakdowns; and I think a key reason is they are fully aware of how far off the mark these numbers are.

Put simply; this suggests the NDP is headed for a massive majority.

However, that's unclear, and, as such the answer to "what are the actual polls in BC" is something I never thought I'd type on my professional blog:


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The problem with the BC Polls

In the last BC Election, the polls were, simply, wrong.

Look at this Forum poll for example. Page 5. You may note that only 64 people who responded claimed to have not voted; this implies an unheard of 95% turnout. This is what originally caught my eye when I went hunting for ways to find polls that are wrong.

Take a look at this poll in particular. Page 4 gives us a nice breakdown we can use.

This is where we get into some math. In the last election the BC Liberals took 44.14% of the vote, so, I will assign them 4414 points. According to this, 81% (or 0.81) are going to back them again. That means the party gets 3575.34 points from these voters. The 9% that say they are voting NDP earns that party 397.26, and so on. The NDP itself gets 3335.64 points for voters who say they voted NDP last time, and will vote NDP again. When you total these points you end up with the BC Liberals taking a 41% share; as such, the Liberals should be actually polling closer to 41% than the reported 38%. The NDP would be at 43%, while the Greens would be at 13%. Contrast this last number with the 17% the Greens are reported to be at.

Put simply: people who plan to vote Green are much more likely to answer the pollster and take the poll.

If you apply this to Federal results, you get 44% for the Liberals, 42% for the NDP, 10% for the Greens, 3% for the Tories, and 1% for other parties.

When looking elsewhere, this pattern holds.
Take a look at the last Forum poll in Alberta in 2012. Notice the raw sample size for each party in the "past vote" 1170 for the PCs and 92 for Wildrose, as well as 211 for the NDP, and 268 for the Liberals. The total sample was 1949. Now there will always be some distortion, but consider that there *should* be nearly two times as many Liberals. In fact if you apply the same math I did above, you'll find this poll *actually* says the PC Party is at 36%, but Wildrose is only at 35% A close race, but it corrects the 3 points Wildrose had been assigned incorrectly. While incorrect about the Greens, doing this also gives us the correct 1% total the Alberta Party would take. In fact, if one assumed a flat 2% of voters, from each of the 3 left-of-centre parties switched to the PC Party to stop Wildrose, as well as the usual jitter in polling, you get your end result, 44%-34%

This is, of course, not an exact way to find the "real" poll results. It is simply a way to find out if the poll in question is close to being accurate or not.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


There are ongoing protests in Belgrade related to the recent election
Unsure of the nuance, but appears focused on corruption issues.

BC's election is kicking off. Nothing has changed from my last posts on the issue (that the polls are wrong again and for the exact same reason)

I'm also keeping an eye on France as polls show the far left challenger has momentum.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A look at electoral systems

I want to start with a map posted by twitter account OnlMaps

I've added my own circles to the map showing countries I am going to talk about.

We used First Past the Post, or FPTP. In such a system, each area elects one member, and that member is simply the one who received the most votes.

France uses a two-round system. It is similar to FPTP except a standard FPTP election is only the first round.

In the second round, the top two candidates advance, so that a winner can be determined who has the support of the majority.

STV is what is used here. In such an election, voters can transfer their ballots to other candidates by ranking their favourite candidates with a 1, 2, 3, and so on. Ireland uses multi-member electoral areas; this is contrasted with Australia which, while also using STV, only elects one member per area.

Because of the multi-member nature of the seats, and the usage of the Single Transferable Vote, Ireland's system is seen by many as a 'light' Proportional system, without the need to delve into full Proportional Representation.

New Zealand:
Like Germany, New Zealand uses Proportional Representation. In particular, they use a mixed system, where some members are elected in single-member seats, and others are elected on a proportional list.

In these systems, each party wins however many list seats they need so that the final result is proportional.

Iceland uses a districted system of Proportional Representation. Each district elects a number of MPs based on a PR ballot. However, Iceland (like many countries that use sub-national districts for electing their MPs) uses levelling seats. This means the final result is fully proportional and equal to the nation-wide vote total, or at least as much as is possible. One seat in each district works as a levelling seat.

The exact math for calculating the levelling seats is too complex for this cursory examination.

South Africa:
South Africa has the purest system, a single nationwide list, based on Proportional Representation, without any threshold cut offs. Election is based on pure math.

Greece uses a top-up system alongside nationwide list PR. There are many ways to do this, but in Greece's case, whichever party wins the most votes, gets an additional 50 seats. This makes the top-up system a sort of nationwide FPTP worth 50 seats. Due to the math, a party only actually needs to win around 40% of the vote in order to achieve a majority.

Japan, Mexico, and Russia:
I'd encourage everyone to go back and look at the map now that you know what the various colours mean. You'll notice there are a fair number of Purple countries, countries like Japan, Mexico, and Russia.

These countries use Parallel Proportional Representation. Like top-up systems, the explicit rationale behind these systems (compared to pure PR) is to preserve the ability to win a majority. Putin, for example, chose to move to PPR from PR as an attempt to strengthen his ability to win majorities.

Japan however transitioned from a FPTP-like Block vote so PPR for a different reason. Japan had become a "one party state" while remaining a democracy, as the governing LDP won every election in a 40 year period. Finally, in 1993, an opposition coalition defeated the LDP. the 8 party coalition helped to bring an a PPR system as it enables opposition representation.

I will show some examples of how both of these work.

There is a simple math formula that can help you guess the results of a FPTP election. It has a high error margin, but works better than any other formula so simple. To do this you simply square the popular vote for each party, and the resulting total of numbers will be the share of seats won.

For this example I will be assuming that the Cat Party has won 47%, the Dog Party has won 36%, the Rabbit party has won 14%, and the Bird Party has won 3%.

The square of these numbers are 2209, 1296, 196, and 9 respectively, meaning we can estimate that in a 200 seat assembly, that the Cat Party would take about 59.5% of the seats, the Dog Party about 34.9%, the Rabbit Party about 5.3%, and the Bird Party, 0.2%

The results of a FPTP and PR election would thus look like this:

119 - Cat
70 - Dog
11 - Rabbit
0 - Bird

94 - Cat
72 - Dog
28 - Rabbit
6 - Bird

This puts us in a situation where we need to choose one of two options.
Option A - A Majority that has a weak Rabbit Party, and a Bird Party without any seats
Option B - A Minority that has a representative Rabbit Party, and a Bird Party with seats

Most people, when asked about electoral fairness, are actually alright with a party winning a majority on a minority of the vote; not only does it bring stability, but it also allows for focused policy. A party that won 47% should - in their minds - be allowed to govern on their own.
Most people, when asked about electoral fairness, want the smaller parties to have a voice. While there is a concern about "extreme" parties, when parties are actually named (IE the Canadian Greens) people are nearly universally alright with additional representation.

As such, compare these two outcomes with that of a Parallel system. 100 seats, picked proportionally, with no regard do what happens in the other 100 seats; and 100 seats chosen via FPTP.

107 - Cat
71 - Dog
19 - Rabbit
3 - Bird

Not only do we get a stable majority, but we also have representation for the smaller parties.

One of the great things about these systems is you don't need the same number of PR seats and FPTP seats. Russia assigned 225 seats to PR and 225 to FPTP. Mexico however assigned 300 to FPTP and 200 to PR. Japan assigned 300 to FPTP and 180 to PR. As such, you are able to adjust how proportional your system is, and, thus, how unlikely a majority is. Lets use the above example to show this in action.

With 50 FPTP seats and 150 PR seats, the majority is razor thin:

101 Cat
71 Dog
24 Rabbit
4 Bird

With 50 PR seats and 150 FPTP seats, the majority is far larger:

113 Cat
70 Dog
15 Rabbit
1 Bird

As such you can adjust your system, to be used in your country, province, or other area, to produce just as many Majorities as you desire.

Friday, April 7, 2017


I'm working on a post called "A look at electoral systems" that examines various electoral systems around the world. I hope to have it ready by tomorrow, if not later today.

I've also made a post over on my personal blog about time dilation. I posted a joke here as well. I've also made various posts regarding a game I play called CMHoC, a model parliament or political simulation.

In real life politics, elections were held in Gambia. The UDP won 31 seats, while APRC won 5, and other parties took 9.

The UDP backs the new president, while the APRC backed the former president. In the last election the APRC took 43 seats compared to 1 for the NRP (which is up to 4 this time) and 4 for the various Independents. (1 Independent joined the NRP)

It's a bit difficult to follow exact party lines, but it appears many Independents (in particular, the ones who lost the last election) backed the UDP this time, interesting to note as while the APRC took 52% of the vote, the combined Independent vote was 39%

Due to the way various electoral alliances and party friendships work, as well as the electoral system, the entire election can be boiled down to this:

Before the election, 48 members of Parliament backed the former President and 5 backed the new one, while now, 48 members of Parliament will back the new President while 5 backed the old one.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Read up on this. I've been following issues in Myanmar for quite a while.

In short: this is something that you'll be hearing about in 5-10 years, with everyone asking "Why didn't we pay attention to this when it was happening?"

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

05APR2017 - Update

Just two quick updates today.

First, why I'm doing updates like this recently. Simply; there are a lot of things going on where I make a comment on it, but people don't see said comment. I wanted to be sure that my thoughts on certain issues are 'on the record' and tied to a certain date, so that I can reference it if and when needed.

Secondly, Bernier likely has the CPC leadership race locked up. There's always a chance he'll lose, but it looks right now like he will not only finish first on the first ballot, but might have over 35% of the vote on the first ballot.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Story of the night: Nothing really happened.

The NDP's strength in Ottawa does matter in that they can hold on to their core support, but their weakness elsewhere implies they gained little to nothing of a ground game from the orange crush and is utterly terrible news. Conversely, they did maintain a good portion of the vote in Saint Laurent, and that will serve them will going forward in Quebec.

Liberal weakness in Calgary implies they are simply not getting through to the groups of moderates in the suburbs they need to reach, and as a result, is excellent news for the Tories in suburbs across the country. They can not off-set this with wins in Markham.

The Tory inability to take Markham, and poor finish in Ottawa, implies the party has not made up ground lost in the last election, but the fact they at least held in Montreal still spells good news for future gains in, say, 2030

Monday, April 3, 2017

03APR2017 - Update
A good article to read. Quebec's provincial government has been the most fiscally responsible in Canada for years now, regardless of party.

As for the three elections yesterday:

The Left won in Ecuador, but the right is challenging it on the grounds of fraud. Unclear what the real story is.

The Pro-European candidate won in Serbia, as expected.

The ruling party in Armenia has won re-election, with enough votes to likely get a majority, but not enough for the special rules that apply when you win a majority. They've won 49% of the vote it seems, which means 50%+1 of the seats in most PR systems due to thresholds and smaller parties that won't win any seats, but, Armenia has a law that says any party that wins between 50%+1 of the vote and 54% of the vote is automatically brought up to 54% of all seats. This is offset by rules that effectively make it so no party can win more than 2/3rds of the seats.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

02APR2017 - Updates,_2017
The CDU and SPD remain tied in Germany.

What's most interesting is the SPD *seems* to have gained quite a good chunk of the former AfD vote; however this may simply be AfD voters switching to the CDU to stop SPD. AfD otherwise has lost about a quarter of it's support.
It will be a while before Italy votes again, likely, but seeing M5S with a lead is interesting.

The CPC leadership occurs at the end of May,_2017
Leadership races traditionally produce nonsense polls more than a month out, with polls 2 months out starting to hit closer to the mark.

As such, polls starting now will begin to give us a more and more accurate picture of what's really going on in the race for Conservative leader.

Three elections today
I'm not following any of them very close, however.

The SNS looks set to win the Presidency in Serbia; as a Pro-European party they are frequently seen as "the good guys" in simplistic media narratives about politics in the country.

In Armenia the big challenge is for the governing party - which has governed with a massive majority for most of the time since the collapse of the USSR - and if they can hold on to their majority or face a minority situation.

And in Ecuador, the left is set to take the Presidency, with the small chance of an upset from the centre-right.

By-Elections tomorrow
The Liberals have "chances" to win all 5, as do the Tories. The NDP has "chances" of winning in Vanier, and Saint-Laurent.

Most of these "chances" are long shots, 1 in 100, or even worse.

Both Calgary ridings going to go Conservative, while the Francophone ridings will go Liberal. Markham is the only riding likely to be close, and even then the Liberals are heavily favoured.

In the end it really does not matter at all who wins any of these. What matters is how well parties do in their growth areas. The Liberals need 28% or more in both Calgary ridings, and if they can get 33% or more in both Calgary ridings that is a big victory for the party. The Tories meanwhile need at least 22% in Saint-Laurent, and if they can hit 30%, that is a massive victory for them. For the NDP they need more strength in the 905 area, so that means Markham, where they would want to see at *least* 15%.