and the stock markets go down the tube again.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
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?
So, first, congrats to the Tories on the big win last night. I maintain that the Tories have now found their ceiling, while the Liberals have found their floor, so I wouldn't bee TOO excited if I were a conservative, but still, a win is a win.
Now, on to a discussion of how messed up our system is. Last night, the Conservatives won 46.4% of the seats in the House with 37.6% of the votes. The Liberals got 26.2 % of the votes, but less than 25% of the seats. The poor NDP got 18% of voters' support, and only 12% of the power.
Look at it another way.
The main federal parties each got a seat for every X votes they received, as follows:
Tories: 1 seat for every 36,400 votes
Liberals: 1 seat for every 47,763 votes
NDP: 1 seat for every 68,029 votes
Bloc (an anomaly obviously): 1 seat for every 27,791 votes.
Green Party: 0 seats for every 940,000 votes
Our electoral system is totally broken:
- Our electoral system turns an 11 point spread at the polls into a 21 point spread in Parliament (Liberals to Conservatives) and a 19 point spread at the polls into a 34 point spread in Parliament (NDP to Conservatives).
- It results in a party which gets over 940,00 votes lacking any representation in Parliament whatsoever.
- Today, the Tories are 12 seats shy of a "majority" government, and could probably get there with the support of about 500,000 more voters - but they're over 1.7 million votes shy of actually getting 50% of the vote.
- Worst of all, the Tories outnumber the Liberals and NDP combined by 30 seats in the House of Commons. But the Liberals and NDP combined received over 940,000 more votes than the Tories. It's totally insane.
Here's the Parliament our system gives us (minus independents):
Tories: 143 seats
Liberals: 76 seats
NDP: 37 seats
Bloc: 50 seats
Here's the Parliament as determined by the parties' actual share of the vote (arguably, the Parliament Canadians as a whole actually voted for):
Tories: 117 seats
Liberals: 81 seats
NDP: 56 seats
Bloc: 31 seats
Green Party: 21 seats
Not that our politicians will do anything to fix this (though if they were going to do so, now would be the most likely time) but it still bears repeating. Our electoral system is totally messed up. It results in Parliaments that don't represent the will of the people (nor even, really, attempt to) and leaves millions of voters effectively disenfranchised. If we were governed by the will of the people, we'd probably have a coalition government today representing over 50% of Canadians. As it is, we're stuck with another minority government where 38% of the people are just shy of having 50% of the power.
It's totally insane.Recommend this Post
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
OK, so, I haven't written anything in a while, but I have been paying attention. So, I'm gonna roll the dice and give some actual numbers for an electoral prediction.
Here's how I figure the House of Commons will look tomorrow:
There'll probably be an independent or two nominated, I don't know who, but I threw in two for the sake of argument. However, there'll be no Greens elected, I don't think.
So, basically, VERY little movement from the last election, and once again our cabinet and government generally will be made up by a party that roughly 62-66% of Canadians voted against (and this time, the Tories having been in power for the last 2.5 years, I think we can say that a SIGNIFICANT majority of Canadians will vote AGAINST them).
We'll see how long THIS minority lasts.
Frankly, I just don't know what the Tories can do going forward. I mean, sure, I disagree with almost everything the Conservatives stand for, but even I can acknowledge that two and a half years of Tory government wasn't THAT bad. And the Liberals, politically, were pretty darned inept under Dion. And Layton's pulled about as many votes as possible from the Liberal ranks. And the Greens, while they're not going to win a seat, are polling at HISTORICALLY high levels, and May was actually IN THE FEDERAL LEADERSHIP DEBATES this year, and didn't do badly at all.
What more can the Tories ask for? Reasonably effective experience at governing. A weak, money-tight Liberal party with a good, but many would say ineffective leader. A historically strong NDP. Pressure on the Libs from the Greens and a surprisingly resilient Bloc. Is the Tory strategy going forward basically going to be "just watch, Dion will get even WORSE!"? 'Cause I don't buy that. Or do they think they're going to govern so effectively, and impress Canadians so much that they can turn things more to their advantage through the strength of their governance (and wasn't that the plan in the LAST minority? And didn't it utterly fail?)
I just don't see where the Tories go from here. They've hit their ceiling. In their best dreams they'll get 40% of the vote in some future election, and get a TINY majority. But as far as I can see, things just can't get better for the Tories then they have been. There's just nowhere to go but down. Don't get me wrong, the prediction above would be pretty bad for the Liberals too, but at least they can look at it as having found their basement. They can console themselves with "we've hit rock bottom, what do we do to turn this around?". For the Tories, it seems to me that this is the high. This is it. Maximum altitude achieved. Nowhere to go but down.
It'll be interesting to see how many more minority govenrments we'll have until that downward trend begins in earnest.Recommend this Post
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
81% not willing to vote strategically??? (warning, 105% of polls don't tell you what they say they're telling you)...
This poll claiming to show that 81% of voters wouldn't change their vote in order to help stop a Harper majority is almost meaningless imho, unless it's been totally misreported (which is possible of course, but it doesn't seems so looking at the poll itself).
So, 81% of voters won't change their vote to stop a Harper majority. SOUNDS like a lot of people aren't really that worried. But let's break this down.
First off, about 39% of that 81% are people who are planning to vote Tory according to the same poll. So, d'uh they're not going to change their votes to stop the Tories... they LIKE the Tories. So that leaves 42% of all voters who say they wouldn't change their vote to stop a Tory majority. If you're going to try to gauge how many voters would switch their vote from their preferred party to another in order to stop the Tories, you really need to factor out the voters who actually want the Tories to win!
Now, of those 42% of all voters who apparently say they wouldn't change their vote to stop the Tories, how many of those people are already voting for the party most likely to stop the Tories in their riding, and therefore changing their vote would be counterproductive? If I plan to vote Liberal, and I live in a solidly Liberal riding (or a riding where the Liberals are most likely to come in second), then I don't plan to change my vote to stop the Tories, but not because I don't want to stop a Tory majority, but because I'm already doing everything I can to stop a Tory majority. If I'm an NDP voter in a solidly NDP riding (or a riding where the NDP are most likely to come in second), same thing. How many of those voters who want to stop the Tories won't change their vote in order to do so because changing their vote would actually help the Tories?
So, the 81% figure is TOTALLY bogus. Hell, even saying "42% of voters won't change their vote to stop the Tories" is bogus. If the intention of this poll is to measure how many people would vote strategically to stop the Tories it ignores one very big question. How many voters are ALREADY planning to vote strategically in order to stop the Tories, plus, how many aren't "voting strategically" but are voting out of pure conviction for the party for whom they would need to vote strategically if they wanted to vote strategically, and therefore don't need to change their vote in order to do what they're already doing?
Long story short: silly question, meaningless figure, doesn't tell us ANYTHING.
If the headline of this poll was "1 in 4 'progressive' voters plan to vote for whichever party they need to in order to stop the Tories" wouldn't that seem like an awful LOT of strategic voting!?!? (16% of all voters is roughly 27% of "progressive" voters). The fact that a Liberal in a safe Liberal riding or a Dipper and a safe NDP riding don't plan to change their votes to stop the Tories is meaningless if their vote is already being used to maximum effect to stop the Tories.
Really pollsters. This isn't rocket science is it?