Saturday, September 28, 2019

Breaking down the Atlantic

I know I've stated that I would not be doing math for this election, but I've noticed a trend that I thought I could help correct regarding the Atlantic.

Most polling firms will release federal polls divided into 6 areas. Ontario, Quebec, BC, Alberta, the (rest of the) Prairies, and the Atlantic. Some polling firms will split Saskatchewan from Manitoba, but few, if any, split the 4 Atlantic provinces.

This causes some problems when, as we've had during the past decade, certain parties do well or poorly in certain Atlantic provinces. Harper, in particular, was rather unpopular in Newfoundland. As a result, the 2015 election had the CPC on an appalling vote total in the province.

As such I've decided to grab this polling data, The winter, spring, and summer polls from the Atlantic provinces, and average them.

This is a one-firm average, but does average three polls. I've also included the 2015 result, so that I can get a ratio of the result. Take, for example, New Brunswick. The Liberals are, according to these polls, at 40%, whereas, last time, they were at 52%. The ratio is thus 76.9%, that is, I expect that the Liberals are going to take 769 votes for every 1000 votes they took last time in New Brunswick.

I've applied this to every riding, using the 2015 results. I've even looked at multi-election data; in particular for the riding of Avalon, but the 2011 pattern matched the 2015 pattern; IE the Independent candidate didn't have such an overwhelming impact as to make the 2015 numbers useless.

Regardless, when I applied the ratio to each riding, then averaged it out to ensure turnout is matched, I ended up with the following:

This is, of course, the pure math. I've warned about putting Egmont in the CPC column due to the lack of a former star candidate. The math, however, which is based on that star candidate, shows this as a win for team blue.

What you should notice is that there is a CPC win in Newfoundland. In fact, Newfoundland as a whole is quite competitive in places. New Brunswick is less blue than it would be if you'd not re-balanced the provinces, while Nova Scotia is more blue.

I hope that this can explain why my "gutomatic" projections in the Atlantic look so "weird". This is especially true when you consider that I am looking at current, not past candidates. The lack of a CPC star in Egmont reduces their vote there. A Green star candidate in Avalon increases the chance for a split vote. A Liberal star in Cumberland is balanced by the lack of a Liberal star in Kings-Hants.

As such, my current "gutomatic" projection for the Atlantic is as follows:

Friday, September 20, 2019

Election Maps - Gut projection!

Here is my current gut projection for the election:

Number totals are as follows:

161 CPC
146 LIB
12 BQ
11 NDP

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Israel election, Bibi loses seats

While ballots are still being counted, and as such, things can change by a seat or two, current results look as follows:

32 - Blue and White
32 - Likud
12 - Joint List
9 - Yisrael Beiteinu
9 - Shas
8 - UTJ
7 - United Right
6 - Labour
5 - Democratic Union

This means Bibi's coalition 'government' of 60 seats, now has only 55, all the losses coming from Likud itself. Likud, in fact, seems to have dropped to second behind Blue and White.

Bibi's options for a majority are now extremely limited. Yisrael Beiteinu doubled down on their opposition to the religious parties, and those parties have themselves found their vote bolstered. The only alternative that pops out is an invite for Labour to join the coalition.

Outside of this, any coalition would be extremely tricky to make, with perhaps the most likely, being the very unlikely coalition of Gantz with Labour and the Democratic Union, along with Yisrael Beiteinu, and support (though not in official coalition) of the Joint List. Such a coalition is extraordinarily unlikely, however, but remains the second most likely coalition that seems possible.

The only other 'obvious' choice would be one where Bibi himself resigns (nearly impossible), and Likud and Blue and White form their own government together.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Manitoba results, and Federal election begins

Manitoba results are in.

36 - PC
18 - NDP
3 - LIB
0 - GRN

The NDP has taken the 3 northernmost ridings, in northern remote areas. Beyond this, the Tories have won every seat outside Winnipeg. In winnipeg, the Tories won 15 seats, the NDP 15, and the Liberals 3.

As well, the Federal election is being called as I write this post, with the Prime Minister in Rideau Hall at this time. The election will be on October 21st, and while there's still a chance for a Tory victory, even a majority, signs currently point towards a Liberal victory.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

weekly? update!

I've been thinking that a weekly update on politics around the world might be worthwhile. Such updates would generally NOT update the following: US politics (which I rarely cover), Canadian politics (which get their own posts), or politics in any other country with 'active' "events", for example, the UK with Brexit (as I frequently tweet on these, and, make posts on these). I do, however, reserve the right to lump these in with the updates when I see fit to do so (as I will be doing today) Ideally I'll be doing one of these every week from here on in, which will serve as the foundation/backbone of the blog, upon which other posts may be built.

German states of Saxony and Brandenburg. Coalition negotiations are underway. In Saxony a Black-Red-Green coalition seems to be forming, while in Brandenburg, a Red-Red-Green coalition now faces competition from a Red-Green-Black coalition, with the CDU and even the Greens implying they may find such a coalition more palatable. There is, however, a danger in making a Green-Red-Black coalition common, one I'll address in a future post.

Russia held local elections in some areas recently; Moscow has only narrowly been held by the governing party. This comes with the caveats standard in semi-democratic states like Russia.

Norway, too, held local elections, across the country. The Centre party has done very well, and the leftists have also seen a vote boost.

In Israel it is looking more likely that Otzma may cross the threshold; if this happens, it offers Netanyahu a much better chance of forming a majority, yet even then, he is not polling in majority territory, and no such combination has hit the 61 mark all election.

Italy is seeing the 'new normal' continue; and as such, the government is polling at around 45% in the polls; while the main opposition coalition has a combined 45% as well.

Germany has the CDU in the lead by 5 solid points, but the Greens are still the clear second choice; given recent trends, this may be a 'permanent' change for the medium term.

Lastly, Manitoba, holds its elections today. The Tories are likely to win a majority.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Voting systems and what they achieve

Inspired by this tweet, I thought it might be good to quickly go over various voting systems and what they achieve. What they do well, and what they do not do well.

This system does one thing better than any other; achieves balance. It is likely why this system is one of the, if not the, most widely uses electoral system on the planet. It is great at balancing the need for a proportional result with the need for local representation. The two downsides are that two 'classes' of member get elected - local and list - which some voters feel is unfair as it means two standards for 'winning' a seat; and that the system can be complex, potentially requiring two ballots be cast and counted.

This system does one thing better than any other; allowing a voter to express nuance. Your vote will count at some point, even if your first-placed choice is not elected. People are complex, and this system reflect that. Sadly that complexity is also its largest downside; it is the most complex of all the systems (that we are looking at here) and counting ballots for such a system often takes days.

This system does one thing better than any other; turning public share of vote for each party into the party share of seats in the parliament. A party that takes 40% of the vote will end up with 40% of the seats. Roughly. By being a closed-list system, however, it means that the party, not voters, directly select the candidates. Additionally, such a system may not include any local component at all (as MMP does) and thus may lack that local aspect.

This has some of the benefits of STV, and ensures that the winning candidate will always have a majority of the valid ballots cast for them. Its simplicity and ease of understanding often make it a popular choice for countries looking to switch away from FPTP. That simplicity however can be a negative, as this system is not much more proportional than FPTP, and by its nature tends to skew towards the middle.

Quite simply, the simplest of all of the systems. The person with the most vote wins. An ancient system, it was even used, although in a strange form, by the roman republic over 2000 years ago as part of its tribal assembly. The largest flaw is its lack of a direct connection to the popular vote. It is also not well suited to represent views of voters and can allow a party with a minority viewpoint to defeat a combination of parties representing the majority view so long as that minority party is well united.

My favorite of the options, it excels at balancing the desire for majority governments (which aids stability) and allowing for a well represented opposition (inviting in smaller parties, and ensuring larger parties have good geographic representation). It achieves this, however, by failing accurately turn the popular vote into seats in parliament, as well as allowing a united 'minority' party to still defeat a sum of disunited 'majority' parties

There are still other systems with their own pros and cons. The block vote (US electoral college) is like a hyped up FPTP where instead of just winning one seat, you win all of them. Sortition literally randomly selects a winner. Condorcet compares all the candidates in a ranked system to find the greatest consensus. Like the above, they all have good and bad points.

No system is "broken" nor does any system "fix things".


Systems can be "broken in the context of our electoral culture" as well as "fix things wrong with our electoral culture"
That being said, the electoral culture in your country, or even region of your country, may differ widely from the electoral culture in other countries, or other regions of your own country. No one system can magically solve all problems, nor will a system that can 'fix things' for now, 'fix things' forever.

In the end, like so many other things, this is a nuanced and complex issue without a simple one-size-fits-all solution.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Update on politics and elections around the world

In Saxony it seems more clear what is going to happen.

45 - CDU
38 - AfD
14 - Left
12 - Greens
10 - SPD
1 - Unfilled

The unfilled seat will remain so. All 30 AfD candidates on their list got elected, and 8 additional people, not on the list, won their local seats, and also get elected.

As a result, the CDU is seeking a coalition with both the Greens and SPD. A similar coalition has governed in a nearby state.

In Israel, Zehut has withdrawn from the election in return for a cabinet position if Likud forms the next government. This leaves Otzma Yehudit as the only party near but below the threshold.

In the UK, chaos reigns as the parliament is trying to figure out if it wants an election or not. Once they sort that out, I'll be able to provide better updates. It looks at this time like the Conservatives would win a majority in any election; but things can change rapidly once the writ drops.

Lastly in Russia, Putin's party has taken a dip to close to 32% support. Due to the election system and the division of the opposition vote among 3 other parties however, this likely still means a majority for the party in any election, if a narrow one.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Brandenburg election (and more on Saxony)

Elections in the german state of Saxony have resulted in the following:

25 - SPD
10 - GRN
10 - Left
(45 - most likely coalition)

23 - AfD
15 - CDU
5 - FW (free voters)
(43 - opposition)

A Red-Red-Green coalition seems extremely likely and will almost certainly form as a result of this election.

Saxony however is more complex. Its quite clear the CDU has won 45 seats, and that the Left has won 14, compared to 12 for the Greens and 10 for the Social Democrats; however, the number of seats won by AfD is uncertain. It is at least 30, as, they had 30 candidates on their list, but many german websites report this number as 38, saying that local candidates have won seats. Despite this, others report the number as 30, despite the local candidates.

If 30, then the CDU and Greens can form a majority. This will be bolstered by the fact that the remaining 8 seats will be assigned based on the poplar vote for the non-AfD parties. If 38 however, then the CDU-Green coalition no longer has a majority; and would require an additional partner to remain in government.

I will make a further post on this as things become more clear.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Saxony may skirt chaos

Ballots are still being counted; but early results suggest the following in Saxony:

45 - CDU
30 - AfD
14 - Left
12 - Green
11 - SPD
8 - unassigned

This allows for a CDU-Green majority. Additionally, the AfD could have won more seats had their candidates not screwed up; the reason they are "only" taking 30 is they only managed 30 candidates filling out the paperwork properly; otherwise they would be at 38 (this is the cause of the 8 'other' seats shown)

While it is not yet clear to me how these 8 other seats will be assigned, what is clear is that so long as these numbers hold, a CDU-Green coalition may the answer to the problem of forming a coalition in Saxony.