Friday, November 29, 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Alberta election with Wexit party - based on real polling

Based on this tweet, which suggests 25% support, I've done some quick math, and produced the following:

The results would be as follows:

49 - UCP - 39%
33 - NDP - 29%
5 - Wexit - 25%

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Wexit Party, which seats could it win? (and a lesson on quick research)

I wanted to examine which seats a Wexit party, that runs federally and provincially, as they plan to, could win. Much like the Bloc and Parti Quebecois, a party running on an issue like this will see very similar vote patterns federally and provincially. What will change is the vote patterns of the other parties, thus meaning, again like the Bloc and Parti Quebecois, that even on identical vote shares, the party could win different seats. Consider for example, a PQ at 40%, facing a PLQ at 40% and a CAQ at 20%. Now consider a BQ at 40%, facing a CPC at 40% and LPC at 20%. There will be PQ ridings lost by the BQ and BQ ridings lost by the PQ, simply because of the differences in the other parties.

With that in mind, I'd like to start by looking at Manitoba. Rather than simply tell you, I'll teach. Go here:

This is a website I find myself using a few times a week.

In the navigation bar at the top, select MB (between SK and ON)

Hover your mouse around the ridings, and you will see in the upper right, the results in the riding you are hovering over. You can use the mouse wheel to zoom in to Winnipeg and look around summore.

One thing you should notice is that none of the parties you can see popping up in the box to the upper right are useful to us. None of them share many if any platform planks with the Wexit party, which appears to be a neo-nationalist and separatist party.

Going to the 2016 election give us the Manitoba Party, a right-wing party. Note where the party has done well (south and west rural ridings). Now go to 1990 and look at some CoR results; they've done well in the south and central rural ridings. 1988 shows the CoR also doing well in the rural south and west. With this, we have a pattern. Lets look to confirm or deny it. Social Credit is the only other viable party we can compare. Looking at past elections, the pattern seems to hold; these parties do well in rural areas in the south central and south west parts of the province. Note how weak they seem to be (and note that one MP getting elected does not make a party strong; it simply indicates a possible locally popular candidate VS popular ideas)

Head back to the federal map. Use the scrollbar on the right if you need to, and click "FEDERAL" now going through the years, check Manitoba results. Check where the 1988 reform party did well. The 1984 election is also interested as CoR, or the Confederation of Regions, played into separatist sentiments.

Now, if we do the same with Saskatchewan we find that the pattern is that, excepting the remote north, areas 'away' from the big cities, on the borders, are more friendly towards such parties and ideas.

It's important to also note here the difference in strength between the strength of the party in each province. Manitoba, unlike Alberta or Saskatchewan, does not have a strong separatist undercurrent right now, nor has it had such even during the last big push at western separatism in the 1970's and 1980's.

As such, the 'map' of the seats the party could take in an election in which they do well is as follows:

Saskatchewan is a lot harder to model, with only the WCC performance in the 80's providing a reliable base to build from. Regardless, it is doable, and doing so, produces the following:

Combined, federally, we get the following:

Alberta provides us with many chances to model such an election. We see strength in the rural and southern areas, but also a pocket of strength in Calgary. Wildrose, 1988 Reform, and the WCC all conform to this basic pattern. The results we get are as follows:

For British Columbia, it is important to keep in mind that a lot of what is driving the current resentment is much less popular in BC than it is in Alberta or Saskatchewan. As such, support is limited.

Combined, we get 19 seats Federally, and enough Provincial seats to force some minorities, but not enough for Governments. Saskatchewan in particular will likely tend towards a bandwagon effect; whereby either the Wexit party does well. Even in the above estimation (reminder: this is the estimation if the wins in a good election for the Wexit party) they take 16 seats, compared to 35 for the Saskatchewan Party.

Of course, this does not take into account the impact a Wexit party would have on the vote for various other right-wing parties. The Alberta NDP made it into office partly on a split vote on the right. While an Alberta right-wing government can survive with a divided right, one in Saskatchewan likely can not. As such, the Wexit party there will likely either remain small (taking a handful of seats, if any) or will suppland the Saskatchewan Party as the main alternative to the NDP.

All of this, is, of course, based on a good election for the party. For comparison purposes, a good election, by the same metric, for the Green Party, would see them form three provincial governments, and take over 60 seats federally across Canada. As such, the Wexit party has a long way to go to get here.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Spanish election, early results

counting continues, but results so far are as follows:

96% counted

120 - PSOE - social democratic - 28%
88 - PP - conservative - 21%
52 - VOX - nationalist - 15%
35 - UP - far left - 13%
10 - Cs/CS - centrist - 7%
3 - MAS/MP - centre left - 2%

7 - PNV - right wing, regionalist - (basque) - 32% (in region where it runs)
2 - CC/CCA - conservative, regionalist - (canaries) - 14%
2 - NA+ - centre right, regionalist - (basque [loal Cs+PP]) - 30%
1 - PRC - centre left, regionalist - (cantabria) - 21%
1 - TE! - local interest - (teruel province) - 27% (province only)

13 - ERC - left wing - separatist - (catalonia) - 23%
8 - JXC - right wing - separatist - (catalonia) - 14%
5 - EHB - left wing - separatist - (basque) - 17% + 19% (runs in two regions)
2 - CUP - far left - separatist - (catalonia) - 6%
1 - BNG - left wing - separatist - (galacia) - 8%

The polls, it seems, were rather accurate. Turnout at 70%

FTR, in Catalonia, PSOE took 21% // UP 14% // PP 8% // VOX 6% // CS 6% for a combined total of 55% for the non-separatist parties. Turnout of 72%, down from 77% earlier this year, up from 66% in 2016, 71% in 2015, and 65% in 2011

The left (PSOE & UP & MP) have 158 seats, while the right (PP & CS & VOX & NA+) have 152

It should be noted that 1 of MP's 3 seats is held by "Mes Compromis" which sits in alliance with MP, who won 2 seats in Madrid.

Senate results are only 27% counted, but suggest PSOE may lose its majority.

As for alternate coalitions, neither side can form a government even if all the regionalist parties back them. If CS were to sit with the left, they would need PNV and another party to obtain a majority, a coalition that could be quite unstable. The most stable coalition in terms of number of parties would be a grand coalition of PSOE & PP.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

UK elections and update on Austria

In Austria, it looks like a Conservative-Green coalition will be formed; I will continue to provide update until a new government has been formed.

In the UK we have an interesting poll; one that shows the Tories at 40%, Labour at 30%, and the LibDems at 15%. Given current trends, this poll is not unreasonable, and I wish to use it, in part because of its nice 'round' numbers, to make a number of projections.

Instead of using any of my own math, which in the past has shown mixed results in the UK, I'm going to use the following websites:

You'll notice that last time isn't a UK-projection website, instead, its a proportional representation calculator. Using the aforementioned topline numbers, I added 5% for the SNP, 1% for PC, 3% for the Greens, and 6% for Brexit, to produce the following:

253 - C
190 - L
95 - LD
31 - SNP
19 - G
6 - PC
38 - BX
18 - NI (northern ireland parties)

This can help you compare the other projections to a truly proportional result.

Speaking of which, starting with UK Polling Report, the results are as follows:

351 - C
214 - L
41 - SNP
21 - LD
3 - PC
1 - G
1 - Speaker*
18 - NI

*Note that this website, as with many others, uses the 2017 speaker results, IE bercow's seat, which is solidly tory. As such, from here on in, I will be adding a seat to the tories and removing and speaker seat a projection gives me where said seat is Bercow's seat and not Hoyle's seat.

Electoral Calculus produces the following:

375 - C
195 - L
35 - SNP
23 - LD
3 - PC
1 - G
18 - NI

Principal fish, which at the same time gets a #1 mark from me for being the easiest to use, gets a near-auto-fail for not providing a place to put in UK/GB wide polls, demanding things be split into England and Scotland/Wales/etc. Using their own nowcast projection*, I've been able to produce the following:

343 - C
213 - L
48 - SNP
23 - LD
4 - PC
1 - G
x - NI

*Their GB-wide split is 37C-25L-17LD while their England split is 39C-26L-18LD, as such, I went with 42C-31L-16LD for my England split. I also decided to use real polls for Scotland (39S/21C/19L/13LD) and Wales (29L/28C/12P/12LD/3G/15B)

Finally, Election Polling, gives us the following:

343 - C
220 - L
41 - SNP
23 - LD
3 - PC
1 - G
18 - NI

It would seem that all but Electoral Calculus give similar results; the latter being the only one to not use the uniform national swing method. Adding in some tactical voting, weighted in a way I feel is reasonable, and adding in a specific scotland projection, gets me the following:

391 - C
173 - L
45 - SNP
19 - LD
3 - PC
1 - G
18 - NI

Election Polling had the best Labour results. Note that there is a near 50 seat swing from Labour to the Conservatives between the two.

It is this difference in models which will make the election interesting to watch.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Spanish election (again)

On Sunday, Spain goes to the polls for the second time this year. Looking at projections, the following may be expected:

119 PSOE social democratic
89 PP conservative
50 VOX nationalist
35 UP far left
14 Cs centrist
4 MAS centre left

6 PNV right wing, regionalist (basque)
2 CC conservative, regionalist (canaries)
2 NA+ centre right, regionalist (basque [loal Cs+PP])
1 PRC centre left, regionalist (cantabria)

14 ERC left wing, separatist (catalonia)
6 JXC right wing, separatist (catalonia)
4 CUP far left, separatist (catalonia)
4 EHB left wing, separatist (basque)

A right-wing alliance of PP + Cs + VOX (and NA+) would have 155 seats
A left-wing alliance of PSOE + UP + MAS would have 158 seats

Adding in regionalist parties, the right would have 163 and the left would have 159

4 seats are held by a left-wing Basque separatist party who are unlikely to back anyone. The remaining 22 seats are held by Catalan separatist parties, who, given recent history, I can not see backing any government.

This contrasts with the election earlier this year which would have had 166 left vs 157 right, with 4 basque and 23 catalan separatists.

Put another way, not much change in the general left-right balance, but some shifts between parties, especially on the right, with Cs losing 43 seats, VOX gaining 26, and PP gaining 23.

I've not been able to pin down exactly why Cs is doing so poorly, but it would seem to be a combination of their inability/refusal to support a PSOE government, and more importantly, the attractiveness of other right-wing options with their fall in the polls being mirrored by the rise of VOX.

delay in senate reform posts

I want to apologize for the delay; the next post is taking longer to write than anticipated! Will be posted as soon as possible.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Senate Reform - Part 1.5 (Powers)

I wanted to make a quick detour before continuing on to Seat Distribution to quickly broach the issue of powers. Before I do, however, I wanted to correct something from the first part; that is that the government can change the retirement age without consulting the provinces. It seems my information is out-dated; while this was once true, it is no longer true, and such a change would require 2/3rds consent from the provinces.

As for what powers the Senate would have, I'd like to review what powers the current Senate has; which is just about all of them. Like most (if not all) other countries, only the lower house may introduce a money bill (IE the budget), and the Senate can only delay any amendments to the constitution (at least, those that do not involve itself) as opposed to vetoing them; but it can amend or veto any other bill it chooses to.

Many proposals for Senate reform come with changes to the powers of the Senate. Some look at the US or Australia and worry that some sort of "EEE" Senate would clash with the house too frequently, and look to thus reduce the powers of the Senate.

Since these are almost always tied to specific proposals, instead of addressing them here, I wanted to make clear that I will be addressing them when I look at the specific proposals.

As such, this is not a full "part" of the series, only a quick note on how the series will progress.

Tomorrow, Seat Distribution.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Dean (list), its the deanlist (and some basic info about speaker elections in canada)

This is my deanlist.

Louis Plamondon
Lawrence MacAulay
Wayne Easter, or
Hedy Fry
Geoff Regan
John McKay, or
Carolyn Bennett
Cheryl Gallant
Dominic LeBlanc
Scott Reid
Brian Masse
Dave MacKenzie
Michael Chong
Pierre Poilievre
James Bezan
Francis Scarpaleggia
Dean Allison
David McGuinty
Andrew Scheer
Diane Finley
Peter Julian
Colin Carrie
Charlie Angus
Scott Simm

What is it?

It is a list of MPs based on how long they've served, but only based on unbroken service. In case of ties, the tie is broken based on the order their name is listed in the Canada Gazette for the returns of the election. (for example, this sheet showing LeBlanc vs Gallant)

In two cases, Wayne Easter vs Hedy Fry; and Carolyn Bennett vs John McKay, I do not have access to an online Gazette to reference. For some reason (from the last time I did this, years ago) I think I recall this being the proper order.

So what is the "Dean"?

Basically, the person who acts as speaker during speaker elections. A UK equivalent would be "Father/Mother of the House"

This deanlist simply lists MPs based on how long they've sat in unbroken service. As such, the top person on the list, is the dean. Why a list is helpful is that you can then simply reference it whenever that person is no longer an MP to find out who is next.

I use such a thing for my own entertainment; but having it online means I can't lose my deanlist to hard drive crashes. As such, here is the current list as it stands.

Remember too that party leaders and cabinet ministers can not serve as Dean, hence, having a list can be helpful even to parliamentarians.

Except for the two 'ties' I mentioned earlier, this list is properly sorted; I've manually gone through the gazette for both the 2000 and 2004 elections to sort out the MPs in their proper order.

In 1986 the House of Commons began to elect its Speaker here in Canada. The first election was proceeded over by the outgoing speaker, John Bosley. John Fraser was elected. He was re-elected in 1988, with Herb Gray serving as Dean.

In 1994, however, Gray was in Cabinet, and so Len Hopkins served that role, while 1997 saw Charles Caccia do so. Both elected Gilbert Parent as Speaker. In 2001 Caccia served again, this time Peter Milliken was elected.

In 2004 and 2006, Bill Blaikie served, the first MP from outside one of the two main parties to do so. Both saw Milliken re-elected.

2008 saw Louis Plamondon, from the Bloc Quebecois, serve as Dean, where Milliken was re-elected again.

Plamondon also has been dean for the 2011 election of Andrew Scheer, and the 2015 election of Geoff Regan. He will do so for an unprecedented 3rd time later this year, in what is expected to be Geoff Regan's re-election.

Tomorrow, another Senate Reform post! From here on in I will try to schedule the Senate Reform posts to go up in the morning.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Senate Reform - Part 1 (Terms)

According to some - in particular, my teacher in high school - the confederation conferences at which Canada was founded spent 45% of their time discussing provincial-federal power balances, 45% of time discussing the senate, and 10% of their time discussing everything else.

While I've not seen proof of this since, I would not be surprised if it was 100% true. The Senate has been something that nearly everyone involved in Canadian politics likes to debate. A good proportion of people simply want to abolish it. Another good fraction want to elect it. Between is the mushy majority who want all sorts of noodly fixes of varying esoteric value.

There have been some minor "senate reform" packages that have passed. In 1915 the number of senators per province was fixed and a 4th 'region' was added. In 1982 the senate was given a veto over certain constitutional reforms; but in both of these cases the reform is all but insignificant. The 1982 reform only codified the common sense conclusion that Senate approval is needed for "Parliament" to approve a thing, and the 1915 reform was only the last in a long line of changes to the number of seats assigned to each province.

The biggest successful "Senate Reform" was in 1965, when the term of Senators was changed. Senators still need to be at least 30, and still need to own $4,000 worth of property in the province they represent (1/17th of the original value as this has never been adjusted for inflation) but now instead of serving for life, they would serve to age 75.

At the time, at least according to this document from Elections Canada around 2% of Canadians were 75 or older, and according to google, the life expectancy was 72. Today, according to the same, 12% of Canadians are over 75, and life expectancy is 82.

I bring this up as this is the first in a multipost series I will be making on Senate Reform.

I propose we replace the retirement age with a term length.
What length?

"The average"

I propose the average term length of senators in the past 20 or 30 years be used to determine the term length.

As someone who follows politics, I guesstimate that to be 4 terms, or, 16 years. Going here and looking for the median senator's age at appointment (59), the number is 16 years. As such, I propose that we change the term of Senators, to 16 years.

This would not be retroactive, and would only apply to new Senators, however, any Senator who has served 16 years would be given the option to retire with whatever additional salary and benefits they'd have otherwise earned between their retirement and age 75 given to them upon retirement.

This change to the Senate would impact only how the Senate, and the Parliament, operates. This change would thus only require the consent of Parliament itself, and not need provinces to sign off on any sort of amendment to the constitution.

I start here in our reform discussion because most additional things we will discuss in this series will also see its own proposals for the changing of senate terms, and its best to get the background and discussion out of the way first.

Next: Seat Distribution.

Quick UK update

Hoyle, as outlined in the previous post, has been elected speaker. Bryant ran a stronger campaign than I expected, and finished second.

In the election, the Tories have gone from around 36% to around 40% in the polls, while Labour has gone from around 24% to around 28%. This is coming, in part, from every party, but is especially coming from both the LibDems and the Brexit Party.

If current trends continue, the Tories could well win the largest majority since before the WW2, and the largest non-coalition government since 1832, the first truly democratic election in the UK.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

UK speaker, general election, and consequences for Jagmeet Singh.

Britain is going to the polls on December 12th. Before they do, however, they will elect a new speaker.

This seems odd, and from a Canadian context, potentially outrageous. In Canada, the Speaker runs as a candidate for his or her party, and often times, fails to win re-election. There have been instances of a Speaker simply not running in an election; 1992, 1983, 1959, 1951, etc; but a british speaker has never lost re-election to their own seat. It is actually not unheard of for a speaker to have their seat contested, and while this has not happened in recent decades, it did happen from time to time prior to the 1990s, especially with Labour candidates standing against Conservative speakers. As such, the idea of electing a speaker just prior to a general election is not as absurd as it may sound to Canadian ears.

There are 8 candidates running to become speaker, 5 from the Labour party. It is quite likely that only one of these candidates will make it to any "final 2" round of balloting. It is likely that some, if not many, Tory MPs will be willing to vote for a Labour candidate whom they consider fair, but enough will vote on partisan lines to make it difficult if not impossible for a "final 2" round of balloting to have two Labour MPs. The strongest tory candidate is probably Eleanor Laing, one of the secondary deputy speakers.

Facing her are two popular Labour MPs. Harriet Harman is running on a reformist platform. Given the recent row about the treatment of women in politics, either could be a welcome choice to Parliament. However, both face a major road block in Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Hoyle is the current Deputy Speaker, and is generally seen as fair by many MPs. He has been in the deputy speaker's chair for nearly a decade, contrasted with Harman who served as Leader of the Opposition for part of 2015. As such, Tories willing to vote for a Labour MP as Speaker are much more likely to see Hoyle as a friendly face than Harman.

It is thus my guess and assumption that Hoyle will win before we ever get to the "final 2" stage, perhaps with two or three other candidates still on the ballot by the time he reaches his Majority, if it even comes to that. Using the 2009 speaker election as a model, I'd venture to guess that Hoyle takes around 220 votes on the first round, compared to 120 for Harman and Laing each, with Bryant or Leigh down at about 40 votes, leading the stragglers. If this does come to pass, its likely that not only would the 5 lower-placing candidates withdraw, but both Harman and Laing may also decide the can not win, and allow Hoyle to win without the need for a final ballot.

This will then bring us to Tuesday, when the house dissolves and we had to a general election.

Where Mr. Singh comes into play will be determined as the election plays out.

We saw in the previous election that elections matter. Labour entered the campaign on roughly 25% of the vote, largely based on Mr. Corbyn's perceived unpopularity. Corbyn, however, would show himself to be a strong campaigner, and would end the election on 40% of the vote.

The conclusion was that "Jeremy Corbyn is good at campaigns." This is not an unreasonable conclusion as many in the Labour party had claimed just such a thing would play out prior to the election.

Some in the NDP said the same about Jagmeet Singh. And, when the election started, the NDP was sitting on roughly 12%, yet managed to rise to above 20% in some polls, before settling back at 16% on E-day. The conclusion was that "Jagmeet Singh is good at campaigns."

There is a problem with these assumptions. Corbyn and Singh were both unknown and unpopular, at least, compared to other leaders. Both introduced themselves to the voters, and voters found both to not be as bad as they had expected. The problem is that it is quite possible that Corbyn is not a good campaigner, only that he simply dispelled the negative mythos built up around him. If that is true, then Corbyn will fail to increase Labour's vote total in this election.

Why that poses a danger to Mr. Singh is that politically interested Canadians, including those in the NDP, will be watching the UK election. Failure of Corbyn to again increase Labour's flagging poll numbers (the party currently sits at around 23.5%) would indicate that his first raise (from 25% to 40%) was not based on campaign quality, but on the dispelling of his negative mythos. That means that should Jagmeet Singh's popularity begin to slag in polls, a recover could not simply be automatically expected when the writ next drops. It would mean that polls showing Canadians do not like him, mean they do not like him, instead of meaning they'll like him when we get back to another election. It would mean that some in the NDP would start to get ancy about finding a new leader, one that might appeal better in Quebec. It would mean that Mr. Singh's leadership could be in danger.