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.