Thursday, September 25, 2008

Strategic voting is the only way to stop the Tories now... (not that I'm holding my breath...)

Given all the recent polling (which, really, hasn't moved around much at all, despite all the excitement among the "nothing better to do" class - myself included) I still think these are the top 5 most likely outcomes of the current federal election:

1) A Conservative minority (larger than the current)

2) A Conservative minority (about the same as the current)

3) A Conservative majority

4) A (tiny) Liberal minority

5) Armageddon (may, technically, be the same as #3).

To me, the only thing that could stop Harper now is a concerted ABC (anybody but Conservative) effort. Now, it's not gonna happen ('cause both Liberal AND NDP partisans are too interested in taking charge themselves, as opposed to stopping Harper from being PM again) but theoretically it COULD do the trick, and I'm utterly convinced that it's now the only way to stop a second Harper led government from being elected.

As much as Liberals will tell you that the only party other than the Tories that can form a government is them (and that's correct) what they WON'T tell you is that they can't possibly form a government without NDP support. The ONLY non-Tory government possible at this point is a Liberal minority, and I just can't see how the Liberals could POSSIBLY (in my WILDEST imagination) pull even that off without strategic help from NDP voters.

However, if (and it's a huge and HIGHLY improbable if) "progressive" voters really voted strategically, a second Harper term could be avoided. If Dippers in ridings where the Liberals have the best shot at beating the Cons, and Grits in ridings where the NDP has the best shot, were willing to swallow their pride and vote for the other party, Harper could be stopped. We all know that won't happen in the numbers needed to make an impact, but wouldn't it be nice?

Ironically, if it did happen en masse, it would benefit BOTH parties. Both the Liberals AND the NDP would gain more seats than they would if everyone just voted their partisan preference. I HIGHLY recommend you head on over to and check out their tabulations on how the election is most likely to go down if it were held today, and how it COULD change (theoretically) if a true ABC strategy was implemented by voters.

Here's their assessment:

If the election were held today and we ("progressives") split our votes:

Cons 147 Libs 76 NDP 34 Bloc 49

If "we" voted "smart" (i.e. ABC)

Cons 97 Libs 109 NDP 46 Bloc 53

Now, ask yourself which Parliament you'd prefer to see. I fully understand why Dipper partisans don't like the idea of helping Dion become PM, and why Grit partisans don't like the idea of asking for Dipper help to win the election. However it seems to me that in both cases that's all about those partisans deluding themseleves into believing that they can win without the other (or, not caring that they can't, and that their failure will elect the Tories, again). Because alone, neither party can win this time around. Layton will never be PM (sorry). Dion will never be PM without Layton's help.

Harper will almost certainly be PM again.

Thems the facts.

Now, I admit, I say all this from the comfort of a "safe" Toronto riding. I can afford to vote for whomever I please (probably NDP as in the last couple of elections) because my riding is almost certainly going Liberal anyway. However, if you're interested in trying to stop Harper, go to and check out their nifty "Find your Candidate" tool on the right hand side. Just put in your postal code and the system will give you some information to help you try to stop Harper. The system will recommend your best strategy to help stop Harper (either "You choose" if you're in a safe riding, NDP if the Dipper's got the best shot, Liberal if the Grit's the best challenger, etc...).

Again, I highly doubt this will effect anything. Everyone's just going to go merrily along deluding themselves (Tories included, who are deluded in thinking that, after literally years of never REALLY getting into majority territory in any polls, they're suddenly going to win a majority) and Harper's team is gonna win.

But at least some of us could TRY to stop him.

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Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with your comments. However, if you head over to the Progressive Blogs, you will see the Liberal and NDP supporters slugging each other. With the votes on the non-right being split four-ways, all Harper has to do is maintain the same amount of support as the last election and he still wins. You'd think this would be obvious to them?

LIz May has stated that she would rather not have any seats than let Harper win again. Seems to me that she genuinely believes that this country cannot afford another Harper government. Thus it appears that she is willing to put her own party's and personal interest behind what she perceives, rightly or wrongly, to be a more important national interest. This is one of the hallmarks of a "real" leader, isn't it?

Any chance you can further publicize this particular website ( in the hope that more people will vote strategically?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

I personally don't think there's anything wrong with the various parties trying to get people to vote for them. That's what parties do. Any real strategic voting initiatives have to come from the people, not from the parties.

In any case, I for one am eagerly awaiting the strategic voting guide, which is due out any day now. I don't know anyone else out there who has a more sensible attitude toward strategic voting than Greg Morrow--or for that matter, more data to help you make an informed decision.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Indeed IP, I too look forward to the guide from Greg, which has been great in the past (and which the guide above reminded me of). I also certainly agree that there's nothing "wrong" with parties trying to get people to vote for them. This sort of strategic drive does have to come from the people.

It's the futility of the thing that really gets me. Parties fighting tooth and nail when they simply have to know they're going to come in third in a riding. I just can't imagine being the NDP candidate in a riding that's really a competition between the Tories and the Liberals (or a Liberal in a riding where the main competition is between the Tories and the Dippers) and how I would feel the day after the Tories took my riding. Of course, that's me. I'd rather see a Dipper or a Grit than a Tory, but not all Liberal or NDP voters would agree with that assessment. I also don't expect the Leaders or politicians (or their staffers) to come right out an endorse strategic voting, or start withdrawing candidates in an effort to block the Tories (though I'd applaud the effort if it ever happened, which it won't).

However, at the very least I'd like to see leaders on the progressive side talking about a coalition government. Not so much a plan to CAMPAIGN in tandem, but an exploration of how they might GOVERN in tandem should the voters (in their wisdom) decide to vote strategically and hence produce a H of C breakdown that naturally favours a Liberal/NDP coalition. At the very least, I expect the Leaders to remain open to such a post-election eventuality, not to dismiss it out of hand (as, say, Dion has done). It's all moot though, since our politicians are generally kamikazes (victory or death) and the voting public is too disinterested to really vote strategically in numbers large enough to matter.


I'll certainly try to do some more posts about this, and the guys running the website have a facebook link, so I'll try to get the word out through FB, but there's only so much a little known blogger with a full time job can do!