Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Who won the election, "progressives" or "conservatives"...

This will no doubt cause much controversy as to just who counts as "progressive" and who doesn't (and, should Andrew Coyne stumble upon this post, who counts as "conservative" and who doesn't) but in light of my earlier post on how broken our electoral system is, let's look at last night's election in terms of "conservative" versus "progressive" shall we?

For my first illustration, let's look at "progressive" as being the NDP, the Liberals and the Greens. One could argue that the BQ are much more "progressive" than the Conservatives too (heck, one could argue they're more "progressive" than the Liberals, and maybe even the Greens) but let's leave them aside as the whole separatist thing obviously skews things.

So, using this formulation, how did "progressives" (Lib/NDP/Green) do in last night's election?

Progressives: 7,087,812 votes (51%)
Conservatives: 5,205,334 votes (38%)

Of course, how does our system translate that into seats in the House of Commons?

Progressives: 113 seats
Conservatives: 143 seats

So, sure, arguably "progressive" candidates received more than 1.8 MILLION more votes than "conservatives" last night, they nonetheless end up with 30 fewer seats in the House of Commons.

Just as galling, look what happens if you take out the Greens (and ignore the 940,000 Canadians who voted for them - which, let's face it, is basically what we'll do now):

Progressives (Lib/NDP): 6,147,065 votes
Conservatives: 5,205,334 votes

So, despite having received more than 900,000 more votes than the Tories, the Liberals and NDP are nonetheless outnumbered by the Tories in the House by 30 MPs. 30!

So, in case anyone's wondering, in Canada:

5.2 million votes gets you 143 seats.
6.1 million votes gets you 113 seats, and
0.94 million votes gets you squat.

So much for the "will of the people", eh?

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