Monday, December 28, 2020

Update - 28DEC2020

 In Israel there has continued to be some movement. A Likud cabinet minister, an, an additional Likud MK, have now crossed to join Sa'ar and his New Hope party. This marks a total of 5 MKs that have joined the party. Additionally, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah has quit and is forming his own party; he appears to be to the left of Lapid, and given polls currently show him far below the threshold, he may end up teaming up with Meretz, Labor, or, simply not winning any seats. No polling update, as, only a few polls have come out since the last one, but, in short; Gantz is nearing the threshold, Bibi is very slowly losing seats, Lapid is starting to slowly gain, and Sa'ar continues to gain. 

No updates elsewhere due to the normal 'break' from politics at this time in many places. There is, however, increasing suspicion of a 2021 federal election here in Canada. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Israeli election to take place March 23rd, 2021

 Israel is going to the polls in March.

There's not much to update you on since the last post. Another Likud MK has joined New Hope. Meaning of the 36 elected earlier this year, 3 are now in New Hope, alongside the 2 Derekh Eretz members. Also, Amir Peretz will not lead Labor, which has not polled above the threshold since March 19th of this year (that's a week after US-EU flights were suspended and North America went into 24/7 Covid panic) 

Instead, I want to use this post to detail how I will discuss this particular election.

1 - Combining the Orthodox parties.

Unless something happens to reverse this decision (such as one of the two parties taking a 'who we will sit with in coalition' decision that radically differs from the other), I will be lumping UTJ and Shas poll/seat projection results into a single "Haredi" result. That means instead of, for example, Shas sitting at 8 and UTJ at 7, I will report that Haredim (or the Haredi parties) are at 15. I may need some guidance in Hebrew plurals to ensure I only apply the 'm' when/where appropriate. As these two parties will generally agree to most of the same things in the context of coalitions, it makes little sense to split them at this juncture. 

2 - Noting Joint List as having an Arabic voting base.

Similar to my naming of the above, I will be referring to Joint List as "Arab parties" or "Arabs." This is perhaps not accurate, as, one of the 4 core parts of the Joint List is a Communist party that has many Jewish Israeli voters. However for the same reasons as above - coalitions, and the willingness to form one - the term 'arab parties' makes sense in context.  

3 - Meretz will be considered the broad left.

Sitting to the left of all the Zionist parties, Meretz will simply be called the "Left." I may change this pending on which people and/or parties decide to run alongside Meretz, but, for now, I feel this is the most useful term.

4 - All other (major) parties will be named after their leader. 

Personality is huge this election. People are less voting for Likud, or New Hope, or Yamina, and more are voting for Bibi, or Sa'ar, or Bennett. Gantz and Lapid dominate Blue and White, and Yesh Atid respectively, and Lieberman is, arguably, more famous tha the Yisrael Beiteinu he leads. 

5 - Unexpected events will be dealt with as they come (such as election coalitions)

Determinations will need to be made should parties like Gesher, Jewish Home, Labor, or Otzma Yehudit begin polling above the threshold; I may refer to these parties by their party name, their political position, or their leader's name, on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, coalitions for the election of any of the parties may require a changing of the naming standard. Should whatever party Ron Huldai is looking to form take shape, it is likely that party will simply be noted as Huldai's party. 

With that in mind, the poll average presented in the previous post, would be phrased as such:

28 - Bibi
19 - Sa'ar
16 - Haredim
14 - Lapid
13 - Bennett
11 - Arabs
7 - Lieberman
6 - Left
6 - Gantz

Monday, December 21, 2020

21DEC2020 update

This might be the final update for the year, pending how things go in places like Israel (IE if an election looks likely, I will post again)


Still trying to figure out a "hook" for a post on Romania; IE what's the narrative of what has happened. The numbers are that the government (PSD) has dropped from 154 to 111 seats, while the main opposition (PNL) has gone from 69 to 93 seats. Things look worse for the government in the Senate; while the governing Social Democrats did win a plurality, the centre-right National Liberals may find it easier to build a governing coalition. Will update when a new government forms. 


The Maduro government managed to win an overwhelming majority in Parliament in elections largely boycotted by the opposition. They now have 253 seats of the 277 in the chamber. They won 4.3M votes, compared to the 5.6M they won in the previous election; Turnout was down to 31% from 74%


Current poll average is as follows; plus the change from the poll average prior to the formation of new hope.

28 - Likud (-1)
19 - New Hope (+19)
14 - Yesh Atid (-4)
13 - Yamina (-9)
11 - Joint List (-1)
8 - Shas (+-0)
8 - UTJ (+-0)
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu (-1)
6 - Meretz (+-0)
6 - Blue and White (-3)

Just a note that is is very unlikely many if any voters are going directly from Joint List to New Hope. Rather, this is likely due to natural poll jitter. Joint List, however, is down from 15 at the previous election; but their drop seemed to match a rise in the polling fortunes of Yesh Atid as well as Blue and White.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Update for 17DEC2020

 The deadline in Israel for action (if there will be an election or not) seems to be December 23rd. Polls are somewhat stable from my last post, but Likud is up while Yamina is down, though, only by a few seats. New Hope also has a new MK from Likud, but, of the 35 MKs elected to the current Likud bloc in the Knesset, 33 remain with the party as of the time of writing this post. 

In Russia, Putin's party continues to ever so very slowly drop in the polls. Starting at about 32% in January, they now sit closer to 30%. Now that Russian polls do not take out undecided respondents, meaning Putin's party is closer to 42%. The Communists and Nationalists are near one another in the polls, though, the communists have a consistent and small edge. Assuming both parties have equal support, with the catch-all Just Russia part at half their level, the math tells us that Putin's party only needs double the support of the Communists and Nationalists to win a majority. Meaning if he takes 44% of the vote, while the Communists and Nationalists take 22% each, and Just Russia takes 11%, Putin still wins a majority, taking about 54% of available seats. Put in context of Russian polls, this means 24% vs 12% and 12%. At current, the party sits at 30%, and thus, is still comfortably in majority territory. 

In Italy, the right-wing alliance sits close to a majority in the polls. The next election, however, is not expected for years. 

I've also taken a quick look at legislatures across Canada. Nothing much of interest to report. The 'most interesting' things I can find are that both PEI and NS are one defection away from their governments losing a majority. The Senate however is a bit interesting, or, at least, I think. Current standings in the Senate are as follows:

44 - Independent Senators Group - Crossbench (Big Tent; mostly Centre to Centre-Left)
20 - Conservative Party - Partisan (Right-wing to Centre-Right)
13 - Canadian Senators Group - Right (Centre to Centre-Right)
11 - Progressive Senate Group - Left (Centre-Left to Left-wing)
6 - Independent - Various (includes 3 pro-govt Senators)
11 - Vacancies (1BC, 1AB, 2SK, 1ON, 3QC, 1NB, 1NS, 1NL)

As of the time of writing...

all 20 Conservatives were appointed on the advice of ("by") Harper. 11 other Senators appointed by harper are in other groups (2 in the ISG, 7 in the CSG, and 2 Independent.)
The 4 (remaining) senators appointed by Martin are split 2-2 CSG-PSG
The 8 by Chretien have 3 in the ISG, 1 in the CSG, 3 in PST, and 1 Independent. 
The 51 by Trudeau have 39 in the ISG, the 3 pro-government Independents, 6 in the PSG, and 3 in the CSG. 

The ISG has at least 1 Senator from each province. The other groups have at least 2 Senators from each of the 4 senate regions. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

What is going on in Israel?

 The short answer, is I'm not certain; but lets try to parse out the past few days. 

First of all, lets keep in mind, Israel is starting a potential third wave of Covid. Secondly, these events have nothing to do with the alien story out of Israel. Remember that right here in Canada we have had our own alien stories. 

Instead, it is a disagreement within the ruling coalition that seems to have pushed Israel to the brink of a new election. This has resulted in a new party being formed. 

Lets look at what this means. First, the poll average:

27 - Likud (Bibi) [Right]
17 - New Hope (new party) [Right]
16 - Yamina (Bennett) [Right]
14 - Yesh Atid (Lapid) [Left]
11 - Joint List (Arab) [Left]
9 - Shas (Orthodox) [Right]
7 - UTJ (Orthodox) [Right]
7 - Yisrael Beitenu (Lieberman) [Centre?]
6 - Meretz (Progressive) [Left]
6 - Blue and White (Gantz) [Centre Left]

This is a major swing from just a week ago, with the new party taking seats from almost every source. Yamina and Likud are both down by roughly 5 seats, while Yesh Atid and Blue and White are both down by roughly 3 seats. Lets look at why this could potentially cause chaos.

Saar, leader of New Hope, says he will not sit in government with Bibi or with Lapid. Therefore the most logical government for him is one of New Hope, Yamina, and the two Orthodox parties. This is only 49 seats. Short of the 61 needed in Israel. He would thus need to find 11 additional seats. If he thinks Yesh Atid is too far left, Meretz and Joint List are off the table for him. He could get Gantz to join, but Lieberman has refused in the past to sit with Orthodox parties; this means Saar can not get a majority (unless somebody changes their mind about who they are willing to sit with, or, elected members defect from their parties; things that are unlikely, but, have happened before in Israel)

Bennett has similar reservations to Saar but may be more willing to bend. Even then, Likud+Yamina+Haredi (IE the Orthodox parties) only get to 59, and would need an additional partner at the coalition table. 

Bibi would likely be happiest with a right-wing coalition. This would reach 76 seats, easily a majority, however, both Saar and Bennett have strong issues with him personally, and such a coalition is likely impossible. 

A left coalition is also seemingly impossible. Even if Lapid could somehow convince Bennett and the Orthodox parties, we reach 58 before we run out of parties. 

Gantz, somehow, ends up with the better math, despite being "last place" in the poll. Bennett and Saar might be willing to work with him; combined with his own party, this is 39 seats. If he could bring Yisrael Beitenu, and Meretz on board, difficult but potentially doable, he'd only need Yesh Atid to get a majority. The big problem here is he stabbed Lapid in the back pretty hard at the end of the previous election, and Lapid would need some strong promises - the sort that Gantz likely could not provide (as he would need to provide any goodies needed to win Lapid over to Bennett and Saar instead)

The end result is more chaos, and likely, yet another election. 

There is, however unlikely, another option. Perhaps just as chaotic, but, one that could, at least for a time, get a majority. Bibi somehow resigns. If that happens, all of a sudden, a Likud-Gantz-Bennett-Saar coalition looks very likely. All 3 men would desperately love to lead Likud, and, therefore, the right-wing in Israel. These 4 parties have 66 seats. The two problems with this are that Bibi would never willingly step aside, and, Gantz, Bennett, and Saar, would likely tear any coalition apart from the inside with their own infighting. 

As such, the answer to "What is going on in Israel" is "I have no idea"

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Update for 21NOV2020

 Final NZ election results are in, and Labour won 50.01% of all ballots cast. 

65 - LAB - 50.01%
33 - NAT - 25.58%
10 - GRN - 7.86%
10 - ACT - 7.59%
2 - MAO - 1.17%
0 - NZF - 2.60%
0 - TOP - 1.51%
0 - NCP - 1.48% 
0 - ANZ - 0.99%

Very similar to the preliminary results. 

The Cannabis referendum was rejected 51.17% to 48.83%, while the Euthanasia referendum passes 65.91% to 34.09%. 

Japan has not seen polling in months; at least, not polling I can find in english, or, easily find in japanese. 

Israeli trends continue, but now Joint List has dropped a few seats. Unsure where those supporters are going, however, but they may have scattered among the other left parties. Yamina is, in some polls, only 3 points behind Likud. 

Polling is stable in Germany and Russia. Italy is fairly stable, with FdI ahead of M5S. Lega, however, seems to slowly be falling. 

Myanmar has re-elected the NLD, the party of Aung San Suu Kyi. She was once considered a champion of freedom and democracy, and her election victory 4 years ago was seen as the bringing of freedom to the country, however, her support of the Rohingya genocide has made many outside the country reconsider their support of her. 

Lastly, in Belize, the government has been tossed out. I have my eye on the region due to the court case before the ICJ regarding the border that could see half of the country handed over to Guatemala. The new Prime Minister seems to support the case going forward, while his party has a much more mixed stance on the issue. Results from the case are not expected before late 2022. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Timeline, Nagorno-Karabakh

 March 11, 1985. Mikhail Gorbachev is named General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Under his leadership, the USSR would collapse, and with it, the countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan, then part of the USSR, would become independent countries. 

The Nagorno-Karabakh region was part of Azerbaijan, but, majority Armenian. It was an Autonomous Oblast, the same as Chechnya, and thus had special rights. Some in the USSR suggested it could become a part of any Independent Armenia. 

 The area had a long history, and was fought over after WW1 between the newly independent countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan, until Azerbaijan got the upper hand and gained control over the area.

During this period an important even happened called the Shusha massacre. The town, labeled on Google Maps as "Şuşa" or, as I will call it for the remainder of this post, Susa, was partly inhabited by Armenians, revolted, and as a result, Azerbaijani troops began killing Armenians in the city. At least 500 were killed. 

Eventually both nations would be annexed by the USSR, and the conflict became frozen in time.

February 20th, 1988, leaders of the soviet (council) of Karabakh voted to join Armenia.

March 10th, 1988, Gorbachev announces the borders would not change (and thus, Nagorno-Karabakh would remain in Azerbaijan)

From this point on, low-level conflict would be present in the entire area.

December 27th, 1991, Soviet troops withdraw from the area.

February 26th, 1992, the Khojaly massacre takes place. It saw up to 500 Azerbaijanis killed by Armenians. 

War Begins

February 27th, 1992. Armenian forces capture the city of Susa. 

May 5th, 1994. Ceasefire is called. 

The war, however, did not end. 

2008 - Martakert clashes

2010 - Clashes in a wider area, but in Martakert as well. 

2012 - Additional clashes occur, including clashes on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border outside of the disputed zone

2016 - Heaviest clashes to date occurred.

 This is where we enter the current conflict. Constant clashes occurring with occasional flare ups. 

August 4th, 2020. A massive blast rocks Beirut. More than a thousand Armenians from the city are re-located to the disputed zone. 

September 27th, 2020, an Azerbaijani invasion of the disputed zone begins. 

Note that I've included two maps showing the area. One is from the Soviet Union from before WW1, where I've drawn the borders, and the other, from a map I've done on Google maps. 

This would be the first time the boundaries would move since the 90s. Azerbaijan proceeded to push back the Armenians. 

Many Ceasefires would be called and broken, but that would all end in November.

November 9th, 2020. Azerbaijani forces take Susa. 

This put an end to the war, at least, for now. Not only does Susa have importance to both Armenia and Azerbaijan, but, it lies on the main road connecting the area to Armenia. 

It is unclear if this will lead to a lasting peace or not, but, what is clear, is that the new boundary better matches what both sides agreed to at Prague, with the largest change being Azerbaijani control over the southern portion of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the total evacuation of Armenian troops of areas between the Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. 

It is thus likely that this will more or less lead to an end to the conflict. The only remaining question and point of possible future violence, is what happens to the new Nagorno-Karabakh (the area in orange on the google map). Should a free and fair referendum be held, even if all Azerbaijani refugees from the area return, it is quite clear the result would be joining with Armenia. Azerbaijan, however, may pack the area within the black line, but south of the orange line, with Azerbaijani citizens, and demand the area as a whole vote; or, it may simply block any vote at all and demand the area permanently remain part of Azerbaijan. Either would likely spark a renewed conflict for the region.

Regardless, the war, for now, is over. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Biden officially wins

Biden has officially been declared the winner by the media.

I'm planning a number of different posts; 

One that looks at what happens if a candidate passes away between the general election and the casting of electoral votes

One that looks at how the US worked before 1789, and, hence, why the Electoral College exists (spoiler: it has little to nothing to do with "small states", and, if anything, is the opposite) 

One that simply looks at the results (Dems may be down to 220-225 in the house, a majority, but a narrow one)

One that looks at what a Post-President Trump could do with his new found free time

And one that looks at raw vote totals from elections around the world

One or more of these may come out over the next few days, or, as unlikely as it may be, I might even do posts on other things and not look at any of these. 

Regardless, none of these ideas are anywhere near post-ready.

Thursday, November 5, 2020


 I want to tell you a story.

It's the summer of 2013. I'm casually looking at some data for an upcoming by-election. I notice one of the candidates names. A friend I had years ago in University. I call them up and ask him if he's the same guy that I knew, he said yes! He happened to be running for a party I generally support, so, I offered to help him campaign. One thing I wanted to do, was to Scrutineer. 

He said yes, and so on E-day, I got to go into a big room with the vote counters. I decided to Scrutineer the largest of the advance polls. 

And so there I was. Looking at a stack of papers on a table. Beside me was the guy in charge of the box, and across the table from him, the guy who would physically count it. Around the table was me, for the Green Party, a guy for the NDP, a guy for the Liberals, and a guy for the Conservatives. 

And we watched.

I saw every single ballot. That was, after all, the point. Before any of them could "count", we all could say something/veto. At one point, a ballot popped up where the X was so long it crossed a line between the PC candidate, and the Green candidate. As it passed by the Liberal was like "Whoa" seeing something off, and the count stopped. We all looked at the ballot. The Liberal looked about to speak but the Conservative said "Looks like a PC vote to me". the NDPer didn't say anything. the Liberal kinda scrunched his face and looked about to agree. I pointed and said "The X crosses in the PC box, its clear enough to be the intention of the voter was to vote PC" And the Liberal nodded, and then count went on with that vote counted as a PC vote. 

We got done quite quickly. Our counter was very good at what he does, and counted faster than I thought possible. Not, however, too fast for me to keep up. 

After the stack was done, we all agreed on the count, and the ballots in whole were counted a 2nd time just to be 100% sure the numbers all batched up. They didn't, we were all confused. So we went through it again and found one had become folded. We unfolded it, and counted again, and now everything matched perfectly. The counter announced the results to us and asked if we all agreed. The guy in charge of the box said he did. I said I did. The Liberal said he did. The Conservative said he did. and the NDPer said he did, and put out his hand to shake the Liberals hand. We then all shook hands, and that was that.

After that I went for drinks with the Candidate, his future wife, and his campaign manager. 

It's a fundamental part of our Canadian Democracy that someone from every party, representing every independent, has a fundamental right to physically see each and every ballot. 

This is not how things are done in the USA. 

I don't really understand how or why, but, apparently, so long as the parties have observers in the room, that's good enough. I've yet to see any occasion (where they show counting on TV) where anyone, except the ballot counter, can physically see the ballot being counted. 

It baffles me that a country can run its democracy like this, but, apparently this is how it is done. 

I don't agree with Trump on much of anything, but, when he says that Republican Party observers should be able to see the ballots, he is right. The US needs to adopt the Scrutineer system. The fact they do not already have it, is shameful. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

US Election. Counting. Part 1.

 I wanted to start by looking at where I was wrong with my last post

The Election-night numbers actually did look pretty much as expected. However. Trump did not declare a win until 2am, and, his declaration equivacated. 

By the next day (today) Biden had not pulled ahead in many places I expected. Florida and Pennsylvania in particular. This means fewer states than expected shifted on e-day. Additionally, the shifts in the states that did flip (Michigan and Wisconsin) were slower than I expected. 

Biden also made his declaration 2 hours earlier than expected, and, was very luke warm about victory.

It does not appear Trump will be making a statement tonight.

As a result, any protest, demonstrations, or violence, will be quite limited. 

We are also starting to get an early sense of the court cases. From what I can gather, it looks like Trump has a good chance of winning any Pennsylvania case, but won't won any case in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Arizona. Considering that I expect Trump to win the vote in Pennsylvania as-is, I do not expect any such suit to change the result. The same will be true for any Biden suits in Georgia or North Carolina. 

Instead, it may all come down to how Nevada votes, and, any Nevada related suits. Sadly, they do not plan to release any new results until noon tomorrow.

So, we wait.  

Monday, November 2, 2020

US Election, part 3

 Election night. November 3rd. 2020. Washington DC. Slightly before Midnight:

Donald Trump declares victory. The map looks like this:

The next morning:

Biden is up, having gained the lead in a few states, but, no moves are made by either side, beyond the expected complaining and threats. 

About 5:45pm:

Biden declares victory. The map looks like this:

About 7:15pm:

Trump, or, an important surrogate, threatens lawsuits. 

That night:

Protests, demonstrations, and violence. 

November 5th:

Any court cases will begin to materialize here. Sadly. I will need to actually see them to say what happens beyond this. Right now, I give 5-to-1 odds that the Supreme Court will unanimously throw out any Trump suit to throw out enough validly cast ballots to overturn the results. However, the exact composition of the suit may mean he could win. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

US election, part 2

 I'd suggest everyone glance at this tweet, which says any ballot counting after election day will be challenged. 

I want to now explain the colours on the map I posted yesterday (still on the blog's front page as of this post)

Dark Red or Blue = Candidate will win these states.

Middle-Blue = Counting may continue after election day on ballots cast before election day; but, Biden may win by enough of a margin that, on election night, he wins these states anyway.

Light-Blue = Same as above, except, these states are closer, and, as such, Trump will lead in them on election night, and it will only be the next day where Biden will flip into the lead.

Lightest-Red = These two states, Texas and North Carolina, suffer from voter suppression. Among all ballots cast, more people will have intended to and thought they had cast a ballot for Biden, but due to legal trickery, Trump will end up officially winning these states. 

Light-Red = These states will be close, but, Trump is probably going to win them. 

What this means in context, in my final "part 3" post tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

US election prediction; new part 1

 I've decided to change how I'm going to lay out and present my prediction. As such I've deleted the old post, and am replacing it with this one. I will lay out what the colours exactly mean in the coming posts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Saskatchewan "results" and notes

As with the BC election, this election is not yet "over", as, mail in ballots have to be counted. Regardless, results so far show the following.

50 - SKP - 63.13% (+0.77%)
11 - NDP - 29.21% (-0.99%)
0 - BUF - 2.88% (+2.81%*)
0 - GRN - 2.37% (+0.54%)
0 - PCS - 2.08% (+0.80%)
0 - OTH - 0.33%

This is a clear win for the Saskatchewan Party. A note that in the last election, a "Western Independence" party ran in the province, and, while they appear unaffiliated with the Buffalo party (in fact, their leader ran for the PC party this time) I've decided to compare the two party's votes as they share a key goal in common)

I've tweeted a spreadsheet of the results so-far. I've also made a thread showing that two ridings should go NDP, and only these two should go NDP. I do strongly recommend following me on twitter; if, you do not like me shoving my opinions down your throat, one thing you can do is simply bookmark my twitter feed instead of following me, and, poke in on that bookmark whenever there are important political events going on. 

Another thing I want to look at, as we have a party that won by a clear majority of ballots cast, is how this election would look under Proportional Representation. 

According to the d'hondt calculator, the results would be as follows:

50 SKP
23 NDP

It is more than plausible that some ridings will flip to the NDP, meaning we 'should' move our target to 48 seats from 50; however, the NDP will also be gaining votes when the mail-in ballots are counted, and as such, would gain seats in our PR calculation anyway. Thus having them here, at 23, helps to offset that. Note that even with a threshold 5%, the 50-23 ratio stays the same, and the only thing that changes is the smaller parties win 0 seats. A threshold of 2% would not impact the results, as, all 3 of these smaller parties passed that mark. 

Regardless, this are the candidates likely to end up elected under such a system. 

Non-NDP (4 seats)
Ken Gray, PC (REGINA WALSH ACRES) [Party leader]
Naomi Hunter, Green (REGINA ELPHINSTONE-CENTRE) [Party leader]
Wade Sira, Buffalo (MARTENSVILLE-WARMAN) [Party leader]
Phil Zajac, Buffalo (ESTEVAN) {top vote earner for party}

NDP (12 seats)
leader (1)
Ryan Meili, (SASKATOON MEEWASIN) [Party leader]

top vote earners 
Regina (3 max)
Bhajan Brar, (REGINA PASQUA)

Outside Regina (4 max)
Melissa Patterson, (MOOSE JAW WAKAMOW)

Rural Areas (4)
Lon Borgerson, (BATOCHE)

You will notice that I've put caps on certain areas, for example, only 3 from Regina. This is because a true PR system would be regional in nature. Instead of calculating all the regions - possible, but, a bit pointless before the mail-in ballots are counted - I've used this crude method to simulate regions by simply putting caps on seats won in, or, outside of select areas. 

This give the NDP representation across the province; as any regional PR system would. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

BC election "results"

 The 'results' of the election are as follows:

You may note, some seats are still listed as too close to call. This is due to the mail in ballots, which have yet to be counted

I'll skip right to the business of the post; these the BCL-over-NDP vote gaps in the 6 closest ridings:

Will flip:
188 - Abbotsford Mission
180 - Vernon Monashee

Very likely to flip:
385 - Fraser Nicola

Might flip:
647 - Vancouver Langara
729 - Surrey White Rock
791 - Kamloops North Thompson

Some quick math. 

There are 575,000 or so ballots to be counted, covering the 87 ridings of BC. Polls suggest the NDP has an advantage in these votes. This is, very roughly, a third of all ballots.

Lets start with ballots already counted in an example riding. If it mirrored the province, and had 1000 voters, it would have 422 votes for the NDP, 351 for BCL, 166 for the Greens, and 61 others.

I want to veer into a tangent, and say, I consider the mail in ballots to be "10% for the NDP". Why is that? Lets look at what a riding of 667 counted voters; we get 281 NDP voters, 244 BCL, and 111 Green. Now lets add 333 mail in ballots: 183 NDP, 94 BCL, and 52 Green. Totals are 163 Green votes, 338 BCL, and 464 NDP; alongside 35 others. Now we jump into where this tangent comes into play using more math. 

We are going to mostly ignore the Green and "Other" numbers, as, no Green riding has the NDP within striking distance; and thus, it is only the Liberals that the NDP can take seats from. 

As such, lets assume instead of 351 or 338 votes in the ridings in question, the Liberals have taken exactly 1,000 votes, and, scale the NDP vote up to match it. This gives us 1202 NDP votes, and, 1373 NDP votes respectively. This is a gain of 1.14 for the NDP, comparing the combined Mail-In + Counted result (1373) VS the only-as-counted results (1202), a gain of 14%. 

I've simply decided to round that to 10%. So, lets see this in action with our earlier tangential example. The counted votes stay the same, 281 NDP, 244 BCL, and 111 Green. However, we now reduce the mail-in ballots by 10% (from 333 to 300), and, assume the mail-in ballots match the counted ballots. [after all, this entire mathematical process is to help us guess what the mail in ballots will say! So we must use the counted ballots as a base.] The results are as follows; 127 NDP, 103 BCL, 50 Green, and 20 others. The combined result is 408 NDP, 347 BCL, 161 Green.

Lastly, we add 100% of the earlier excluded votes in, as NDP votes. 33 of them. Thus the NDP goes from 408 to 441. 

The final province-wide popular vote would be 44.1% for the NDP vs 34.7% for the Liberals. Given the polls, this is generous to the Liberals. 

So, how does all that mathematical gobbledygook apply to the 575,000 mail in ballots?

Simple. Take 10% of these ballots (57,500) and divide them by the 87 ridings (661) and you end up with about 500 votes (more than that, 661 actually, and that 661 is already generous to the Liberals, but I'm trying to be super generous here)

And thus, we end up with at least 3, but as many as 6, ridings flipping to the NDP when the results are counted. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

BC election tonight, ridings to watch

 Any riding with the TCTC (too close to call) highlight (yellow) should be worth some attention. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Left wins in Bolivia

 Short post, as, today has been busy for me (spraying for bugs at my apartment) but, simply, the polls in Bolivia were wrong. None of the first round polls suggested Arce, the winning candidate, had 50%+1 of the vote on the first round, and, every second round poll either had a Mesa victory (some by a wide margin), or, Arce winning by under 2 points. While counting continues, exit polls have Arce winning 53% of the vote to Mesa's 31% on the first round. 

Current results, with about 2 million votes counted out of a possible 7 million (at 100% turnout) show Arce at 40.4% with Mesa at 38.4%. Mesa has conceded defeat, and President Anez has congratulated Arce on his victory. Evo Morales will reportedly return to Bolivia some time in the near future as a result. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

New Zealand election results

 First; to note that in the Australian Capital Territory, Labor seems set to return to government. The Greens, however, are the biggest winners, going from 2 to at least 5 seats. Regardless, the Greens plan to continue to support the Labor government, amd Labor is sitting on 10 seats to 8 for the Liberals with 2 seats yet to be counted/finalized. 

New Zealand still has some ballots to count, in particular, the roughly 16% of so of ballots cast as 'special ballots'. However, of the ballots counted so far, the results are as follows:

64 - Lab - 49.1%
35 - Nat - 26.8%
10 - ACT - 8.0%
10 - Grn - 7.6%
0 - NZF - 2.7%
1 - Mao - 1.0%

As such, New Zealand First, receives 0 seats.

Labour's win is the first Majority won under MMP-PR in New Zealand. Their 49.1% of the vote is also the largest share of the vote won by any party since 1951, before the advent of strong 3rd parties. No party since the advent of the party system in New Zealand has done this well when more than one other party has taken more than 1% of the vote. The next closest result is way back in 1908, when party lines were much more informal, where the "3rd party" took 3.1%

Their win in the electorates however, is less unprecedented. Labour itself took 45 electorate seats in 2002, whereas they look set to wni only 43 this election. National was reduced to 26 electorate seats, but, itself took only 21 back in 2002. Even if you compare pre-PR results (which you should not do) you find that Arden only won 60% of electorates, while election in 1990 (two elections before the switch) saw the winner take a nice 69% of the seats. 

The result, however, is still quite impressive. While I am 100% certain it has happened before, and will again, the only PR Majority I can personally recall off the top of my head happened in 1968 in Sweden; and, not to toot my own horn, but I have quite a few elections filed in my brain to pull data from. These kind of wins are rare, and, while I'm certain it will happen again, at some point in time, in New Zealand, chances are I may have died of old age by then. 

Unlike this historic victory, National's loss is not as historic as some may think. In 2002 they took only 20.9% of the vote, and had been reduced to 27 seats in Parliament; vs 52 for Labour and 41 for the other parties. The opposition benches, this time, will be mostly National, as they have 35 seats compared to 21 for the other parties. 

New Zealand First, however, did see a historic low. The 2.7% of the vote pushes the party to its lowest ever vote share. Leader Winston Peters, who has lead the party since its founding, may decide to retire from politics. He has, after all, been involved in politics for the past 50 years. ACT, which, though standing for nothing now, once stood for the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers, did set a record with 8% of the vote. The highest ever for this party, and second only for a Business-Libertarian party in the country to the 12.3% taken by the proto-ACT party, the New Zealand Party, in 1984.

Regardless, this will go down in history as record setting.

The only problem now is if, now that Labour and only Labour sets the agenda and delivers the results, thus taking 100% of the fault if things go wrong; if such a government can convince people to re-elect them.

Friday, October 16, 2020

New Zealand, more than an Election

My previous post included my thoughts on the New Zealand election. They were as follows:

58 - Lab
40 - Nat
11 - Grn
11 - ACT

However, there's more than just a general election in New Zealand, they are holding two different Referendums. 

First is a referendum on euthanasia. Polls say support is relatively consistent; though, dropping. The most recent poll had the Yes side at 60% and the No side at 33%, the lowest "yes" and highest "no" polled. This margin should be enough to ensure that even if more voters move in the same direction, that the "yes" side will win; but I've seen referendum polling be way off in the past in various places. 

Closer is the second referendum on Cannabis use. This race is much closer. Poll averaging, especially how the graph appears on wikipedia as I post this, indicate just how close it is. Not only is the margin within 1%, but, it keeps wobbling back and forth. To me this suggests the "no" side will win.

While the Cannabis vote's wiki page does list supporters for each side, the Euthanasia page does not, so, I went to find the information myself. From what I can gather, Labour supports it (they proposed a similar one in 2014) as do the Greens, while New Zealand First has reservations, but, seems somewhat supportive. The tiny Conservative Party opposes it, and National seems to be split on the issue, but, leaning slightly in favor. Lastly, ACT backs it, as, it is their bill after all. 

More interesting is the split on the Cannabis issue. The Conservatives, of course, oppose it. The Greens support it. Other parties seem to have more neutral stances. Helen Clark, former Labour PM backs it, while John Key, former National PM opposes it. Polling suggests a 2:1 split in favor in Labour, and a 3:1 opposition split in the National Party. New Zealand First seems to oppose it by a 2:1 margin, while ACT opposes it by a 3:2 margin. 

Even if it passes, the Cannabis referendum would require additional legislation to implement, and, Parliament could simply not put forward the legislation. Conversely, it could still make and pass a bill legalizing Cannabis. 

The Euthanasia legislation is in a more interesting position. The bill itself has already passed into law via royal assent, but, it only comes into force a year after being confirmed to have won the referendum.

Speaking of which, the date of confirmation is something I want to address.

It is the 17th of October in New Zealand already. Election day. Results will come in and ballots will start to be counted and results released starting at 7pm local; this is 2am in Toronto. 

However. Mail in ballots will still take time to arrive and be counted. As such, the 'final' results on 'election day' will continue to change over the days that pass. Additionally, it is not until the 30th that the first preliminary results of the Referendum will be counted and announced. It is only on November 6th, 3 week from now, that the final results will be announced and confirmed, with the writs being returned on the 12th. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Upcoming elections (updates, etc)

 Lets start by noting that an election almost slipped by me, on the 17th, in the Australian Capital Territory. Sunrise on the 16th in the area is about an hour or so away from the time this will post. As such, by this time on Saturday, we'll have some results.

There's only been one poll and it suggests the Liberals are up, but not by enough to win government. However, that one poll was from September. Labor has traditionally had strength in the area, with previous Liberal wins coming when "other" parties (IE, not Labor, Liberal, or Green) win seats; and polls suggest "other" parties are polling down, not up, from the previous election.

New Zealand votes on the same day. My current thinking is as follows:

58 - Lab
40 - Nat
11 - Grn
11 - ACT

Bolivia votes the following day. 

Mesa remains ahead in the polls. 

Lastly, Germany is not expected to vote any time soon, but, my thoughts are as follows:

Germany (with change from previous election) [assuming 709 seats total after all overhang seats are applied] 

271 - CDU +25
148 - GRN +81
118 - SPD -35
75 - AfD -19
55 - LNK -14
42 - FDP -38

Friday, October 9, 2020

Quick Commentary: The USA and "Democracy"

 So as many of you likely know, Mike Lee, GOP Senator from Utah, has argued that the USA is "not a democracy"

Naturally, a lot of Democrats are arguing with him. The basis of their argument seems to be the following:

"Mike Lee does not support democracy. He thus supports fascism. He opposes democracy and voting"

This, is not true. This kind of talk - the stuff Mike Lee is saying - is related to the kind of talk and debate around the US Constitution at the time of its writing in the 1780s. In fact, then-future-president James Madison argued this exact point in Federalist #10. A section of said paper:

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. 

The argument isn't that "Democracy is bad and Dictatorship is good" but rather "Democracy can lead to the Dictatorship of the majority, which is bad." 

Imagine if you will a referendum where the question is "Should we ban registered Democrats from voting" and imagine if you will that 50%+1 of the voter base says yes. 

In a "Democracy", this is fine-and-dandy. In a "Republic" however, this is a no-no.

Or, so goes the argument.

I am not saying Lee made his argument well - he did not and looks rather foolish - only that he is not arguing he wants to take away your rights, and pretending he is, is simply dishonest. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

More on Kyrgyzstan

 Supposedly, the President of Kyrgyzstan, is stepping aside. The new Prime Minister Sadyr Japarov seems to be from the Patriotic party, which took 136,276 votes according to official results, short of the 137,125 needed for seats. Given the reaction in the country, it is quite likely that these numbers are simply false. 

I do not know much about the electoral history in the country, but, the last two elections had about 1.6M ballots cast with about 2.7M people registered to vote. This election had 2.0M ballots cast with 3.5M people registered the vote. This could simply be natural population growth, or, it could be a sign of the fraud. If so it would imply about 400,000 or more fraudulent ballots; however, there also may have been incorrect counting, as, as I outlined, there are many ways to steal an election, and a little bit of each method can help someone wishing to steal an election more than a lot of just one of the methods can. 

From what I can gather, the two parties that won the most seats, still support the President. From what I can gather, nearly all of the parties that failed to win seats are allied on a council to oversee the nation during this period. Joining them is the one "opposition party" that won seats, United Kyrgyzstan. The other three parties that won seats seem better in line with the President. From As such, the "Unity" and "My Homeland Kyrgyzstan" and "Kyrgyzstan" parties seem to be the most pro-president, while the parties "Homeland Security" and the Veterans Party, are two parties I've yet to determine. All the other parties seem united and back the protests. 

I will monitor this situation, but, felt an update was warranted. 

Monday, October 5, 2020

How to steal en election

 Given recent troubles in Kyrgyzstan, I thought it might be time for a post I've long planned; how to steal an election! In this post I will examine the possible steps chronologically. 

Lock People Up

The earliest step you can take is to find all of your opponents and simply throw them in jail. In fact, this step is so early, it's usually not even thought of as stealing an election, but instead, simply running a tyrannical dictatorship. In a 4 year cycle, you could lock people up in year 1, or 2, and nobody would be the wiser that you are doing so to steal the election; in large part, because if somebody does realize this, you simply lock them up too. China and the USSR are the two most famous countries in the past 5 decades who did this. 

Invented Scandals

The mild version of the above is to invent scandals on your opponents, and send the police to charge them. You don't need to go so far as to lock them up, so long as you can smear them badly enough that they become unelectable. China and Russia both have taken to doing this in the past two decades. 

Access Gaps

Even milder than the above; if you can control the media, you can control access to public messaging. You don't need to lock up, or smear, the opposition if the opposition can not get its message out. Most people will think of Russia or Venezuela when they think of this, but in reality, every country struggles with this to some degree, as it's simple human nature to self censor what is perceived as unpopular. 

Blocked Candidacy

This is done at the earliest part of the actual election, where you block the candidate from running for some real or fictional reason. Iran is most famous for doing this, but other countries such as Thailand have used this before as well. I even spoke about Belarus doing this not that long ago. 

System Bias

This is perhaps the most insidious option of them all, as, it is used to this date in modern first world democracies. Examples of this include Gerrymandering in places like North Carolina, and intentionally setting vote thresholds to (try to) exclude specific parties as is done in Israel and Turkey. Japan itself used a heavily biased system until 1993. Many former Soviet countries will often change the election system, in large part, to ensure that whatever system in use is the one that best favors the ease of re-election of the incumbent government. 

Vote Buying

This includes other methods of manipulating the vote such as implied threats. This happens on election day itself, at the time the voter casts their ballot. In the past two decades, this has mostly been associated with developing countries such as Zimbabwe and Burundi. Note that this includes voter suppression, tactics which have, some say, been tried right here in Canada. Often times, this is the "earliest" one will think when thinking of "stealing an election"

Biased Ballots

This can take many forms, from purposefully designing confusing ballots, to forcing voters to reveal their choice by making them request a special ballot, or by making the ballot design give away how the voter votes. Fascist Italy forced the voter to fold their ballot differently for a "no" vote, and in North Korea where the "no" ballots must be placed in a separate box. 

Fraudulent Counting

The final step, and, perhaps the archetypical model for "stealing an election" is to simply not count the actual ballots, and, instead, make up a result. Belarus did this recently, but perhaps the most famous case is the Liberian election of 1927. In that election, the incumbent and winner took about 243,000 of the roughly 15,000 available voters. And no that's not a mistake on my part, the winner took over 16 times the available number of votes. 

As you can see, there are many ways to steal an election, some simply being more obvious than others. 

Friday, October 2, 2020

Super simple announcement.

 Earlier today I came across the idea that Trump's Covid diagnosis was a conspiracy, as, he does not "really" have the virus, and is "pretending" to for electoral gain. I saw a lot of people on the left seriously suggesting this was the case. 

This has massively and seriously changed the way I view politics.

The impact of this will take time as it will require a lot of thinking and reflecting. 

That is all. Thank you. 

Update - 02OCT2020

 Updates for today!

I've been posting my thoughts on BC to my twitter. The NDP is looking set for a Majority. 

General reminder that the Green Party of Canada picks a new leader on the 3rd. 

New Zealand votes on the 17th. My current thoughts are as follows: 60 LAB // 38 NAT // 14 GRN // 8 ACT // 0 NZF // 0 OTH

Not much to update this week, but, Bermuda did have an election. From what I can quickly gather, two parties, PLP and OBA, split between a more libertarian vs statist view. PLP for example has economically left-wing views, but also socially right-wing views, and could be thought, as such, to be "anti-libertarian", while the OBA has views perhaps more friendly towards libertarianism without being outright libertarian. A new party, FDM, that is more christian democrat in nature, contested this election as well. They did poorly, taking 5% of the vote, and, under 28% in their best seat.  OBA reains it's status as the official opposition, winning 6 seats on 32% of the vote (down from 12 seats on 41% last time), while PLP has been re-elected on 30 seats at 62% of the vote (up from 24 seats on 57% last time). 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Update 24SEP2020

 Note that soon I'll be doing a Legislature update across Canada, but, not today. I will, however, start at home.

Both BC and SK are having elections. in Saskatchewan, the polls show the PC Party at 12%, and in BC, they show the Conservatives at 8%. It is not unusual for polls to show "Conservative" parties high in these provinces, despite the fact that the small-c conservative party, has a different name. I have a friend from Alberta who still calls the federal party the "PC Party" despite the fact that the party he is thinking vanished nearly 20 years ago. It is therefore not a surprise that Canadians who don't spend all the time reading about politics on obscure political blogs might respond to a provincial poll with a federal opinion outside of an election period.

Correcting for this, we find the BC NDP in Majority territory. The only question is how many current BC Conservative poll respondents will end up voting BC Liberal. If the number is high, than, while the NDP should still be able to capture a Majority of the seats, it might be a narrow majority. That, however, would also depend on the NDP being overpolled. If the August 28th Ekos poll is correct, the NDP leads the BC Liberals by a two-to-one margin. If this held, the NDP would win wide swaths of the province and pick up dozens of seats. 

In the end I've decided to hedge my bets and put the NDP at the lowest I think they will get, and simply bump up my prediction as more polls come in. As such, my current thinking is 45 seats for the NDP, followed by 39 for the BC Liberals, and 3 for the BC Greens. 

Saskatchewan will also be voting this fall. I do not have a prediction for the province, as, polls generall show results similar to the last election. Excepting the one showing the PC Party at 12%, the most recent polls show the Saskatchewan Party at between 57%-60%, and the NDP between 28%-32%. This contrasts with 62.4% for the SKP in the last election, and 30.2% for the NDP. In short, the NDP might pick up one, two, or even as many as three seats. If these numbers hold, the NDP gaining 6 seats would be seen as a 'win' for the party. Despite that, even such a gain only pushes the NDP from 10 to 16 seats, VS a Saskatchewan Party reduced to 45 seats. In other words, unless there's a drastic shift in the polls, the Saskatchewan Party is going to be re-elected to another large majority. A fourth term is not unheard of in SK, the previous NDP government was elected to 4 terms. In fact, the first Government lasted 6 terms (winning elections in 1905, 1908, 1912, 1917, 1921, and 1925). The Saskatchewan Party, however, holds the record for longest non-NDP/CCF government since then. 

There are also a few updates from elections around the world. Bolivia polling suggests Mesa will defeat Arce. The Queensland LNP is set for a victory. Yamina continues to be popular in Israel. 

Italy had a referendum, which I'll discuss more closer to the next election, alongside a number of regional elections. These elections indicate that FdI, the Brothers of Italy, the neo-nationalist party, has taken first place as the lead right-wing party, in southern Italy. I ill discuss the consequences of that in future posts. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

NB results and more

 For those who do not follow me on twitter, I want to share the results of the election in New Brunswick:

The election went pretty much as many expected, so there's not much analysis. 

There has been commentary on the PC's victory given they failed to win 40% of the vote. One of my tweets implies an answer. That tweet also includes a link to a google doc with the results, and demographic breakdowns. I also tweeted a map with language breakdowns. I also tweeted a number of other things I found interesting; if I'm quiet on the blog it is always a good idea to poke in on my twitter account to see if I'm active there. 

Basically, I do a lot of work that only ever makes it to my twitter, and this is a reminder to always check in with me there. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Updates: Japan and elsewhere

 Suga Yoshihide has been elected by the governing LDP as its new leader, and thus, the new Prime Minister of Japan. He won 377 votes, compared to a 89 for Kishida and 68 for Ishiba. He will take office in the coming days, as, like Canada or the UK, he needs to meet with the Monarch (or the Monarch's Rep, in Canada's case) before he officially becomes PM. 

In Israel, there are developments. Litzman, the UTJ leader, has quit cabinet. The UTJ, however, say that Litzman's move was no sign that it would withdraw from the coalition government. 

Today is, of course, the New Brunswick election. I'll be discussing it on Twitter and in my Discord server as it happens. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

New Brunswick Prediction

 Lets start with the map!

As you can see on the map, I've made a few changes.

The map now includes ridings that are "outside chances". This means the amount of ridings each party can win has been expanded. This is clearest by the Green gains around Fredericton. 

One assumption I've been forced to make is that PANB is not doing as well as some polls think they are. Why is this?

Many pollsters will "prompt". That means they'll say "Who are you voting for, PC, Lib, Grn, NDP, PANB, or other". When you "prompt" you tend to get higher numbers of unpopular parties. Contrast this with someone asking "PC, Lib, Grn, or other". In the latter, you are likely to see much lower NDP and PANB numbers in your poll. The only difficulty is trying to guess if the pollsters 'should have prompted' as the small party is going to do well, or, 'should not have prompted' as the party is going to do poorly.

It is my assumption that the pollsters should not be prompting for PANB. However. I could be wrong. 

One reason PANB may be doing well in prompted polls but not in unprompted polls is that people are still not fully willing to give Higgs a majority, but are at a loss as to how to vote as a result. If this is true, then PANB will indeed take 10%+ of the vote, as, once people take a physical look at their ballot, they'll know exactly what to do. 

If, however, people are not really "considering" PANB in their minds as a viable option, then seeing it no the ballot paper will not matter. Historically, this happened a lot to the NDP in places like NB or PEI, where prompted polls will always show a higher number than the election. 

Regardless, I'll be posting updates on twitter, and those wanting the latest info from me, can find it there. 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Eye on Israel (and other updates)

 First, the updates. The new CDP in Japan will only officially be merged on the 15th, not yesterday, as I reported. I'm chalking this up to translation, as, there is little english info on the merger. Also, I'll be making a post about New Brunswick tomorrow morning. 

Today, however, I quickly wanted to mention some things I'm seeing in Israel. As many of you may already know, Israel has established relations with the UAE, and now, Bahrain. What's been catching my eye, however, are the polls.

There have been 3 polls this month, averaging them, we get the following:

31 - Likud
20 - Yamina
15 - Joint List
15 - Yesh Atid
11 - Hosen / Blue and White
8 - Shas
7 - UTJ
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu 
6 - Meretz

What's interesting is that a right-wing coalition of Likud, Yamina, Shas, and UTJ would easily have 66 seats and a majority. 

More interesting is why that is.

Bibi has, at least to me, seemed to have been moving to the right over the years. It turns out, I am not the only one who perceives this. Naftali Bennett, leader of Yamina, has noticed this too. He's taken his party, which currently has 5 seats, to 20 seats in the polls, in large part, by moving it closer to the centre. He is still right-wing, of course, but he is now able to fit in in a more pragmatic place then Bibi.

I've mentioned before that Gantz's hope is to "take over" the gigantic core of small c-conservative votes that Bibi currently has a lock on. Gantz would love it if the Likud-Hosen coalition were to continue after Bibi steps down, and that Gantz would simply, effectively, become leader of Likud. Bennett essentially wants the same. This contrasts with Lapid's plan to take the place as Prime Minister by being progressive and growing the anti-conservative vote. 

Right now, Bennett is doing an excellent job. Covid may be a huge reason why. Israel is  country of 9.2M people, according to estimates based on official census figures. Israel has 148,000 covid cases as of today. This compares with 135,000 for Canada, a nation of ~35M, and 284,000 in Italy, a nation of ~60M. According to this website, which, from what I can tell, constantly has data that closely mirrors official government numbers, Israel has 16K cases per 1M people, making it the 16th most covid-infected per-capita on the planet, behind the USA (20K), and Brazil (20K), but ahead of France (5.5K), the UK (5.3K), and Canada (3.6K). The Deaths-per-Capita figures are more generous, indicating that perhaps Israel is simply testing many people, with at rate of 119 per million, contrasted with 117.8 for the world as an average, behind 242 for Canada, 595 for the USA, 612 for the UK, and 1,237 for San Marino, but ahead of Germany at 112, India at 56, and New Zealand at 5. 

The "TLDR" is in the Bennett vs Gantz battle to be the next PM, Bennett is winning, but that Bibi still has an edge on both, for now. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Japan - Opposition vote results and more!

The opposition in Japan has completed their merger process, which I mentioned in a previous post.

The name CDP (Constitutional Democratic Party) has won 94-54, and the CDP's leader, Edano Yukio, by a margin of 107-42, has been elected as leader of the party. 

The new party will change the makeup of both the lower and upper houses of the Diet. I want to compare how things were at the start of the week, to where things are now, after the results. Note that this graphic was prepared in advance of the results of the vote, so the new party is labeled as "NEW", while those DPP members not joining are labeled as "TAM" after Tamaki Yuichiro, current DPP leader, who will not be joining the new party, and instead, will be starting a new party with other disaffected members of the DPP. Lastly note that I am not certain that the current opposition coalition will stay together, but, given the numbers I've outlined in the last paragraph, I believe they will be, as, they will need TAM to keep 50+ seats in the upper house. 

The major change is the consolidation of members within the newly merged party. This also will help boost the party at election time. Japanese election polling has a strange tradition of having massive amount of "don't know" respondents, only for a good 2/3rds of them to break for the largest opposition party. By pooling all of the 'oppositionness' into one party, it will help to concentrate that vote into a single force, and prevent a split result. 

Note that the size of each party also determines what they can and can not do in each chamber. In the house, for example, parties with 100 or more members can propose amendments to the constitution, while those with 50 or more can propose budgets, or votes of non-confidence (VONC). Those with 40 or more can censure MPs, while parties require 20 members to propose legislation. Only parties with 10 or more members get guaranteed spots in debate. In the upper house, there are only three "levels", 50 or more grants the ability to propose amendments to the constitution, while 25 or more allows for VONC proposals, and 10 or more are needed to propose legislation. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

US election, Trump probably will be re-elected

 Not much commentary, as, I try to avoid US politics, but, this is my current prediction:

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

A big week for Japanese politics.

Japan is going to see a lot of change over the next few days. The governing LDP have selected their three leadership candidates, and will pick from among them on the 14th. Given the time zone differences between here (90 mins north of Toronto) and Japan, we should know who the new LDP leader is by 8am, or 10am at the latest. I've talked about the LDP leadership a bit already in recent posts, so lets talk about the other big change, the opposition.

As I thought at the time of the 2017 election, in the post I made about the results, the opposition would re-unite. Unlike my projection, the re-unification appears quite more 'complete' than I'd expected. Most KNT members would go on to leave and form the DPP, the Democratic Peoples Party. The CDP, Constitutional Democratic Party, would retain more seats, however. The CDP and DPP would eventually agree to sit as a single caucus in the Diet, uniting both the upper house and lower house caucuses of both parties, putting the new opposition caucus in a strong position. In December, the two parties made an agreement in principle to merge. With all the kinks worked out, the final step of the merger is taking place.

As a reminder, lets quickly go over some history. After the war, the US maintained an occupation office over Japan which had much domestic power. This ended in 1952. At the time the sitting Prime Minister of Japan was part of the Liberal Party. His successor as PM would be from the "1954 Democratic Party", which, would merge with the Liberals, to from the Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP. The LDP would govern Japan for decades. The 1990 election showed some weakness in the LDP, and various factions broke off from the party. The three main breakaway parties would form an agreement with the other 5 parties, which formed an alliance that excluded only two major parties; the LDP and the JCP (Japan Communist Party). This alliance managed to win the 1993 election. The new coalition government would fall apart, and the LDP would form a coalition with the Socialists. It was during this term the electoral system was changed to the Parallel system used today. The 1996 election was then won by the LDP. Many of the parties that had won the 1993 election would merge into the "1998 Democratic Party", which went on to become the main opposition party in Japan. The LDP would continue to rule until the 2009 election, when, for the first time since the end of the war, the party suffered a decisive defeat. The Democratic Party won a clear majority, but, proved unstable in government. In the following 2012 election, the LDP returned.

The Democrats were always keen to return to office, and in 2016, they would merge with the Innovation party to form the "2016 Democratic Party". This was, in hindsight, a bad decision. Much of the Innovation party would end up in the new Ishin party, and, the "2016 Democratic Party" itself would split in two, after agreeing to merge into Kibo. Kibo would later end up as the DPP; thus creating the DPP and CDP. 

Of the 183 members of the merging parties in either house of the Diet, 149 are joining the new party outright. The big questions that are left are simple; who will be leader, and what will the party name be? My understanding is that the two are being decided via the same vote, at the same time. 

Edano Yukio is the current/former leader of the CDP. He played a key role in creating the CDP after progressive Democratic Party members were barred from Kibo, and, unexpectedly, the CDP beat Kibo in the election to form the main opposition party. He wants the new party to retain the CDP name. 

Izumi Kenta followed Democratic Party members into Kibo, and the into the DPP. He seems to hold a position that seems potentially roughly equal to that of a house leader, or whip. He is running for leader of the merged party, and wishes it to go back to the old "Democratic Party" name. 

So far, 25 people signed the endorsement of Edano's CDP name, and 25 have signed the endorsement of Izumi's DPJ name. This leaves it a bit unclear as to which "side" will win. The CDP does seem to have an advantage in that the 34 people not joining the new party, seem to all be from the right of the spectrum. What complicates things is that the CDP name was chosen, in part, as the old DPJ name had become stained by the merger. It is thus unclear if members of the new party, many of whom were old DPJ members 5 years ago, will desire a return to the old name, or wish to keep the CDP name that only some of them supported in the last election. 

Either way, the decision on September 10th will be interesting to watch. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Updates, 06SEP2020

 Upcoming elections:

September 14th; New Brunswick (Provincial), Liberal Democratic Party Leadership (Japan)

October 17th: New Zealand (National)

October 18th: Bolivia (National)

October 31st: Queensland (state)

Updates on places not listed above:

Belarus: Things continue to develop. There's not much to say, really, as we've yet to pass another, how to put, ticking point. Consider a Pawl. You spend a lot of time slowly moving towards the next little 'cliff'', and you only hear that next 'tick' when you get there. We'll get to another 'tick' in Belarus, but, for now, we are simply moving towards that cliff, and which way things will go when we get there is still unclear. 

Russia: Putin's party is seeing a very minor bounce back from its low of ~30% in the polls, and now sits at about ~31%. This is still below the ~33% they'd been sitting at since the pension issue, prior to which they'd been closer to ~50%. Their opponents sit at about ~13% for the Communists, ~11% for the Nationalists, and ~5% for Just Russia, which I've speculated on before, is a party that was set up to become the 'replacement governing party' should the need ever arise for one. The remainder are undecided, or would vote for various tiny parties. This puts Putin's party at 53% of the decided vote (among parties expected to pass the threshold), and thus, it would win a majority based on that alone. Add to that the fact there are also FPTP seats, and a party with this kind of lead could easily win over 3/4ths of those seats; for a total of about ~300 seats in the 450 seat Duma.

Japan (non-leadership): Only one new poll since Abe resigned; it shows the LDP up to 40% from 30%. Like Russia, these polls come with a massive amount of undecided voters; but unlike Russia where said voters tend to break the same way they do here, undecided voters in Japan have a history of backing the opposition massively. Due to Japan using a similar Parallel system that Russia does, this 40% would be enough for a majority. 

Northern Territory: We now have final results for this election. They are as follows:  Labor - 14 // CLP - 8 // TA - 1 // IND - 2. We also now have a regional breakdown. Darwin has elected 11 Labor members and 2 CLP members; while outside Darwin, there are only 3 Labor members, alongside 6 CLP, and 3 Others; one being the TA member, and two being Independents. Unless the CLP somehow screws up during this next session, the TA is likely to either fold, or, become small enough not to matter, by the time of the next election. If the CLP is smart, they'll invite the single TA member back into the CLP fold. 

Jamaica: I'm still working on a fuller post for this, but it is proving harder than I expected and may need to be abandoned. In short, the governing JLP (which uses Green as its colour) has won 49 seats, while the opposition PNP (which uses Orange) has won 14 seats. This is a change from the 32-31 result in the previous election. Ignoring the 1983 election, which the PNP boycotted, as well as elections prior to 1962 (independence), this is the 2nd worst result for the PNP both in terms of seats and popular vote, beating only 1980. Of the elections held since full Independence (1967 on) this is only the 5th JLP victory, while the PNP had won 7 elections in the same period of time. If current PNP leader, Peter Phillips resigns, (he has said he is doing so) he will be the only PNP leader to never be Prime Minister/Premier. All of this is probably easy to follow; but what tends to confuse people is JLP is right-wing, and PNP is left-wing. Why is that confusing? JLP stands for Jamaica Labour Party, and PNP for People's National Party. Using names that, in most countries, would be usually used by "the other side".


New Brunswick: My previous prediction still stands. I post updates on Twitter as they come. 

New Zealand: My current predictions is 60 - LAB // 38 - NAT // 14 - GRN // 8 - ACT // 0 - NZF. However, I'll need to refine that as the election draws closer. 

Queensland: The LNP may be on the path to victory. 

Bolivia: No new polls since my last update; hence looks set to be a showdown between Pro-Morales candidate Arce, and Anti-Morales candidate Mesa, with the final winner being unclear.

LDP: Details below.

The LDP leadership is getting a bit interesting. There are three top candidates, all of whom I addressed in my previous post. Ishiba seems to lead most polls, but Kishida seems to still have the backing of Abe. Suga, however, seems to be the one who could run away with it all. 

If this election were happening in any country but Japan, Suga's record and policy stances would make him an obvious shoe in. The election is going to take place among only 535 electors, made up of the 394 caucus members, and 141 others chosen to represent the prefectures. 

In the end, it is likely that Suga will win. Abe seems to want to stop Ishiba, and Suga is in the best place to do that. Additionally, factions within the LDP are lining up behind him. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

New Brunswick, the math

 After the last NB election, I recorded all the results on a spreadsheet. It might be helpful to click here to follow along with the rest of this post. 

You should see a list of ridings, and the results. On the left you'll see the raw ballots cast, and on the right, the share of vote. For now, focus on all the numbers above the thick black line, and, only focus on cells without a grey background. 

The data above the line simply shows the 2018 results.

Now look at the numbers between the two black lines. 

Here I've placed the 3 most recent polls. Leger, all post-writ; Narrative, polled during the writ drop; and Angus Reid, polled months ago. There could be an argument to ignore such an old poll, but I wanted at least 3 polls for this example. 

I've summed the polls together. So, the PC Party for example, gets its 40% from Leger, added to its 44% from Narrative, added to its 39% from Angus Reid. This results in 123%. I then take one third of that, or, 41%, and this becomes our poll average for the PC Party. 

The next step is to use the following formula: (Poll Average) / (Previous election result) = (Factor)

The "factor" for the PC Party in this case is 1.29, as 41%/31.89%=1.29

Finally, I want to figure out the number of "points" in each riding each party is estimated to obtain. This is the greyed out area below the second black line.

Note that these are not votes estimated. These are simply the numbers that result when you multiply the last-election result, in each riding, by the factor for the party in question.

As such, the 961 votes the PC Party obtained ni Restigouche West becomes 1236 points, as, 961*1.29=1236

The last step then is to find the share of the vote in each riding. Doing so tells us the PC Party, by the math alone, is estimated to take 15.56% of the vote in Restigouche West. 

The sheet shows the math for every riding. It produces a map like this:

You'll notice however, that this map is not the map I've been using as my prediction map. Why?

Simply, cause there's more to forecasting an election than applying a single formula. A good election forecaster does not start with guesswork, they start with math. A good election forecaster does not end with math, they do more. Take for example the Peoples Party in the last federal election. Since they'd not run previously, all forecasters using only math would have had this party taking 0 votes. Therefore, every single forecaster across Canada had to do more than use one pure simple formula to estimate results. Additionally, each forecaster also broke things down regionally, using regional polls to project each region instead of a single nationwide topline poll. In effect, they were running roughly 10 different forecasts at the same time. 

Go back above the two black lines and look at the area on the right shaded in grey. For this area I've quite simply copied the raw vote in select ridings. Which ridings? Ridings that I decided were "french". I then summed these results, and found the vote share. This told me the PC Party took 21.78% of the vote in these ridings. Finally, I subtracted the vote numbers from the "french" ridings, to get a number for the "english" ridings. This told me the PC Party got 37.87% in the "english" ridings. Great! Now I have something I can roughly compare to the most recent Leger poll's demographics. Doing this helped me see that while the Liberals do appear down in Anglophone ridings, that they've not moved much in Francophone ridings. 

This is, of course, just a rough estimate; but it can help give you an idea of what's going on in subregions of a province. 

This is why my current prediction is as follows:

You'll notice that this differs from the math. Let me explain where and why. 

Firstly, I've given the Liberals a chance to win nearly every seat they currently hold. It is always possible that voters will sour on the tories for calling this election. While I'm not seeing that happening, I am keeping an open mind to its possibility. As such, each riding currently held by a Liberal has a red dot in it. As do two additional ridings in the Moncton area. 

Why these two, and not others where the Liberals were closer?

Simple; the PANB vote has collapsed. Polls show not only PANB doing poorly, but Kris Austin, their leader, also doing poorly. As such I've judged it more likely that PANB voters will go PC this election, and thus, boost the PC vote. Since these Moncton area ridings do not have PANB vote totals as high as outside the Moncton area, it seems likely that if the Liberals are to gain, it will be ridings like this where it will happen. 

So, what of ridings the math says the Liberals will win, but I've coloured in blue?

That is also simple, as we saw with the demographic numbers, the Liberals are down in Anglophone areas. This means any PC gains will be stronger there. Additionally, 2018 PANB voters could help push a 2020 PC candidate over the top. 

Great, but what of PC ridings I've predicted will go Liberal?

There's only one and its a Francophone riding. Given the PC Party seems up in Francophone ridings, people may consider this an odd choice, but remember that the PC MLA elected in that riding in 2018 left the party. When this happens, even if the MLA does not run again (he is, but in a different riding), strange things can happen. Sometimes the party will actually increase their vote, but just as often, their vote will decrease. Given the circumstances, it is my guess that the PC vote will drop here, and as a result, the Liberals will be able to take the riding; but, that they may only hold on to it for a single term. 

Wonderful. How about the prediction in specific ridings? What of Kent South (#13) for example?

This one could be a weird one. I actually lived here for a year and voted here in a federal election. Kent County as a whole tends to be somewhat united. What impacts one part can and will impact the other. Additionally a quick look at the poll by poll results of the federal riding can show what is on my mind. One easy way to get there is using this map. As you can see, the Greens, while only winning a single poll, did very well in other polls in Kent South. Put another way, I suspect the vote could be split here, and that if this happens, it could allow the PC Party to sneak round the right to victory. 

Note as well on that federal map how well the Greens did, federally, in the other riding they hold provincially. With that in mind, pan on over to Fredericton to see why I've made one of my more controversial calls. 

Fredericton North, the provincial riding, was "won" by the Greens, in the federal election. It is my expectation that the provincial party can pull this off again at the provincial level. Beyond that, the battle between the Liberal MLA and his PC opponent provides an excellent opportunity for the non-Green parties to split the vote and allow the Greens to sneak around the left to victory. It is important to keep in mind that in the Maritimes especially, all the parties are more 'moderate' versions of the same party we find elsewhere in Canada. It is thus not crazy to image someone who usually votes PC who will lend their vote to the Green candidate in 2020. The Candidate the Greens have also does not seem to be 'a weirdo' or 'crazy', and while I wouldn't rank them as a 'star', they seem to be active, and are likely acceptable enough to win. 

If you look closely at the riding, however, you'll notice some blue in there. 

These is one of the "dots" I mentioned earlier. It means that while I currently think the Greens will take the seat, that there is a very high chance that the Tories will take it instead. 

The same is thus true for riding #38. While I think the Tories will take it, PANB can hold it. It is not only their 'best' riding, but, is that of their leader, Kris Austin. Given his personal low polling, however, he may be in for a tough battle. 

So to re-examine the seats; ridings 32, 09, 46, 47, 20, and 18 could all be held by the Liberals if people show displeasure at an early election. Ridings 21 and 22 could be won by the Liberals if that is true but the displeasure grows. 

19 could go PC if the party is able to maintain its strong position in the polls. 07 could elect another PC MLA if the displeasure over the events that least to the defection of the previous MLA has been papered over. 13 could go PC if the Greens manage to split the Liberal vote just right. 38 will probably go PC but could be held by the PANB leader. And 41 could go PC if the Greens fail to pull off the saem level of victory in Fredericton that they did Federally last year.

Riding #10, Miramichi, could go PC but looks like it will go Liberal. It's the seat of a PANB MLA who won in a "shocker" last election due to her personal electability. It is the riding the Liberal Leader, Kevin Vickers, is running in. The actual winner will depend heavily on local factors, and as such, is difficult to predict. 

Lastly, Riding #01, Restigouche West, is probably one everyone has their eyes on. I had previously seen this as a clear pickup for the Greens. That changed upon seeing the breakdowns within the Leger poll. While the Greens could still take the seat, the Leger poll suggests the party is too weak in Francophone ridings to do so. 

As such, my current prediction is as follows:

PC - 29 (possible 20-34)
LIB - 16 (possible 11-24)
GRN - 4 (possible 3-5)
PANB - 0 (possible 0-1)
Others - 0 (possible 0-0)