Sunday, May 3, 2015

Teddy's final PEI election prediction

With polls closing in about 23 hours, I have finalized my PEI election prediction; presented here:

I expect the Liberals to retain their majority, and the Tories to present a qualified opposition. The NDP will likely not won a seat, but the Green leader seems to be on the edge of winning.

Sadly, with all my attention focused towards Alberta, I have nothing more to add.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Teddy's Penultimate Alberta Prediction

And it's a big one, an NDP majority.

My final prediction will come out on Monday evening, with possible but unlikely minor changes on Tuesday morning before the polls open.

Yesterday - Alberta

A follow up to my "Today" post.

So, what happened yesterday?

A few things, lets start at the bottom and work out way up

1 - The Liberals were totally ineffective, as expected.

2 - Wildrose did worse than I expected, being nonexistent nearly.

3 - The Alberta Party actually had an alright day. Their coverage, mostly in social media, was very limited, but all good.

The Tories did one crucial thing they needed to, they came out hard against the NDP on economics.

Prentice has years of experience attacking the left, and is in his element with these attacks. They, however, failed to present a good alternative, but that might not be needed.

The NDP meanwhile didn't do much, but had some unexpected support. Polls show people still think the PC Party will win. The biggest thing in the NDP's favour is actually this. If people think a vote for the NDP is risk-free, they are much more likely to do so.

The biggest boon for the NDP was Nenshi saying he thinks the Tories will win. This might only be worth 2% of the Calgary vote, due to the new risk-free status of the NDP, but that's 2% less for the Tories, and 2% more for the NDP, and a 4% gap can win ridings.

Unexpected, was the number of polls that came out, all showing the NDP in the lead.

All in all this was a good day for both the Tories and the NDP, but not very much "better" for one VS the other.

So. What now?

The weekend.
We let people sit on this idea of the NDP in a huge lead.
We let people consider the fact the NDP might win and how they feel about that.

It will be on Monday that we will see the first inklings of that, and like 2012, the day before the election will be the crucial swing day, where voters may change their mind and make the unexpected happen.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Teddy's map for April 30th

Tied to my observations in the "today" post.


#abvote: Despite Losing Massively in Votes, Could PCs Still Win in Seats?

There are a number of poll releases today, with two currently out already (one from Return on Insights done at the behest of the CBC, and a Leger poll that I can't find the link for but shows similar results) making me feel right silly because I updated my average yesterday - oh well.

In lieu of a weekly update, I thought I'd do a post on an idea currently going around, being promoted by the folks at 1ABVote and CBC: that the PCs, despite being far, far behind the NDP in support, could still come up with a majority government.

While this idea isn't an impossibility, it is fairly, if not extremely and close to impossibly, unlikely - not with the levels of support we are currently seeing for the NDP across all regions, not just Edmonton.

While I don't pretend my model is perfect and 100% accurate, it does have the benefit of working off of actual numbers, ones from 2012 in particular that have been modified to reflect what current polling says. If we take 1ABVote's Google Surveys poll, the one they said showed the PCs winning a minority despite being 24-points behind the NDP, we get this:

That is hardly a "PC minority," and indeed the Tories would be very hard pressed to get anything close to a minority situating when they are 24-points behind the leading party.

So why is this idea persisting? Part of the reason is that people see that high number in Edmonton, and assume the NDP lead is built solely off of that; of course it isn't, as in the above poll, the NDP lead in every region, and in the RoI poll done for the CBC, the NDP lead in both Edmonton and the Rest of Alberta, while they're sitting at 25% in Calgary, second only to the PCs who are at 32%.

The NDP surge is centered in Edmonton, but it is hardly only there. Like in 2011, the rise in one part of the country (Quebec) led to similar increases in other parties as anti-Conservative votes and people who always wanted to vote NDP but never thought they could win decided to jump on the bandwagon. In that situation, the increases were less impressive but still suitably strong for the party to score second place in a number of provinces it never had before. In Alberta, we're seeing increases that, while they don't match the party's score in Edmonton, are very impressive for a party that earned maybe 10% or less in these regions before.

We're talking about a party that may triple or quadruple its vote share across the province, not just in one location. Despite an inefficient vote generally, that kind of tide would be very hard for the other parties to hold against. Its just too much to handle, and a lot of things would have to go just right for the Tories to eek out any kind of government on those numbers. It would be nigh on impossible, really.

If the PCs do eek out a win, the numbers will not look like what are coming out of pollsters currently; you will either see the PCs with a lead in votes, or the PCs with numbers very close to or matching the NDP (or whoever is leading). Once the parties start matching each other, then absolutely the PCs could and would win. Both parties on 35% each on election night, and my bet is for the PCs to have many more seats, maybe even a majority - the PC vote is simply more spread out, more efficient, and frankly has a larger pool of voters to draw from than the NDP do.

That isn't what the polls are showing, however - they're previewing an NDP sweep. Maybe the trend is moving towards the PCs but until I see one come out with them neck and neck, I wouldn't get my hackles up.

Where things get trickier is if you start assuming that the polling itself is wrong, or if you inflate the margins of error to ridiculous levels. Once you do that, you can cook up any result you wish basically. For my part, I don't assume the polls are inaccurate until they can be proven to be poorly done or on election day. After all, I have no more special insights into the electorate's mind than these pollsters, or anyone else for that matter, does.

Today - Alberta

Today is, in my opinion, the most crucial day in the Alberta Election.

Tomorrow is a Friday before a Weekend. Anything in the news will need to come early to ensure it catches before the end of the weekday news cycle. In addition, being so close to the end of the election (Tuesday) Fridays are social days, as are Saturdays, and even Sundays. If people are to talk about politics with their friends and family, it will be done during this period.

This means today - Thursday - is important.

Add to that we are nearing the election. Only 4 full days stand between today and election day. Any party that wants to change direction will need to do so very soon for it to 'stick' in the minds of the voters.

Today is the day where certain actions need to be taken before it's "too late"

For each party that action is different.

For the Liberals, they need nothing short of divine intervention to win this election. Literal divine intervention, not the figurative kind. Equally unlikely, they could ask their voters to vote for someone else, to stop someone else from winning.

For Wildrose, they need to step up their game. If they are going to win this election they need to find themselves on the front page of all the papers tomorrow, and not for a negative reason. Jean will need to have a clip of himself talking on the evening news, and he needs to say something that is concrete and real (not more "low taxes" but exactly how he will eliminate the deficit) but that is also short and sweet. This is nearly impossible. Nobody believes the polls showing Wildrose doing so well, and after my own research, I do not either. I expect Wildrose will finish the election with between 30 and 5 seats, much more likely between 20 and 15.

The other parties don't have a hope. Sure the Alberta Party leader, Clark Greg, might win his riding, and in fact, probably will, but no other candidate from no other small party has any shot whatsoever, even in ridings lacking a Liberal.

This election is a race between two parties, and both have a few things they can do, today, to win.

Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta

The PC Party still has the easiest path to victory. They, however, need to do a few things. I will outline them.

1 - Make some believable commitments to changing certain things. This means have someone with credibility make statements about the change on behalf of the party. This means not Prentice. Frankly, you need someone like Lukaszuk. He needs to get up and clearly state the party will look at other revenue streams - feel free to be vague.

2 - The biggest problem for the NDP in any province is trust with the economy. While the NDP has done alright for itself in Manitoba, and pretty well in Saskatchewan, NDP governments in Ontario and BC have been disasters. Nova Scotia's NDP actually did very well in terms of growth and fiscal restraint, but they were unable to communicate that well to the voters. For the PC Party to win it needs to come out swinging, it needs to

A - Take the rug out from under the NDP by committing to refineries in Alberta.

B - Continue attacking the NDP on pipelines, making sure not to leave the party openings to respond.

C - Drag out whomever they can find from the business community to say the NDP is scary.

D - Attach the NDP more to unions.

3 - Convince Wildrose supporters they need to return to the PC Party to stop the NDP. The best way they could do this is to 'encourage' some 'friends' to take out an 'independent' poll that 'happens' to show the NDP doing very well. This can easily be done by asking, for example, 3 questions, in the order of "Do you think the NDP's plan to grow the economy by building refineries is a good idea" then "Wildrose says they will eliminate the deficit but are not clear on where the money comes from, does this scare you?" and "Do you plan to vote for the NDP, The PC Party, or Wildrose". By doing this you make voters think about something they like about the NDP and dislike about Wildrose, thus skewing the final results. This is why the "who will you vote for" question always comes first in credible polls.

Alberta New Democratic Party

Yes, the NDP can win. Yes, the NDP can win a majority. Yes, they too have a path on this.

1 - The NDP needs to come out, hard, against economic attacks. The party supports both the western kinder pipeline and the eastern pipeline (the one that runs right beside my house) They need to be sure that people know this, and the best way to do this is get the message out without it simply being a response to a PC attack. I'd choose social media for this, have supporters mention the NDP's support and have them do it outside of the context of PC attacks. 

2 - The NDP has actually gotten an alright reception from many in the business community. The NDP needs to trot out two people of equal credibility to whomever the tories trot out for their own purposes. Numbers can work here, if the NDP can show their "20% tax hike" on businesses means very little - try to get some solid numbers from some real businesses to show how little this will be - the party can do much to ally fears about themselves. 

3 - Lastly, and most importantly, the party needs to convince voters from other parties to vote NDP.

A - To the smaller parties they need to let voters know their votes count; if they vote NDP. That these votes will be the ones to get rid of the Tories. They need to focus this message at the Alberta Party. Bonus for them if they are nice to the leader and mention him as the only exception.

B - To Liberals they need to point out the party is doing very poorly this election, and that if you want to get rid of the Tories, you need to vote NDP. They need to target this message at Calgary, and make sure to hit ridings very hard where no Liberal incumbent is running. If any Liberal besides Swann gets elected, it bodes poorly for the NDP. Bonus if they can manage to take Swann's riding.

C - To the PC Party they need to tell them that even their own leader does not think Wildrose can win; and anyone who is staying Tory to keep out Wildrose is misguided, and needs to vote NDP.

D - Most importantly, to Wildrose, the NDP needs to appeal to their desire for change. Mention the refineries, mention the NDP plan would leave income taxes among the lowest in the country, mention the pipelines they support, and most importantly, mention ethics and the chance to finally get rid of the PC Party. Remind them a minority is likely, but only the NDP can force that, not Wildrose. 

We are looking at a few possibilities, and I feel, they are in this order:

PC Minority (most likely) *
NDP Minority (next most likely) *
PC Majority
NDP Majority
Something Else

 * Propped up by Wildrose, either in an official coalition, or unofficially. 

So, can something beyond this happen? 

Wildrose could manage a majority.

In 2012 we saw many voters make up their mind on the last day. I've taken what I see to be the facts, what I feel to be the emotion, and what I know to be the reality, and from that, come up with a conclusion that Wildrose will not do well. If any of those are wrong, I will be wrong, and the biggest is emotion. People could find they are, truly, scared of the NDP, but, no longer scared of Wildrose. While I do not see this, I am not 'on the ground' in Alberta. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

No meat on the bone - troubles for WildRump

Having puzzled over polls I've started to see some reality in the Alberta election.

To best explain, I will take some lines from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce's rating of the platforms of each party, as found on the CBC.

One of the most damning accusations was against the Wildrose platform.

In reviewing the Wildrose platform, it seems to be high on promise, but severely light on detail, making it exceedingly difficult to evaluate the feasibility of their proposals

Wildrose already has enough problems with a robot leader stuck in a "low taxes" feedback loop. In fact even in that article I just linked to, the conclusion is maybe not a social conservative and actually will keep taxes low.

The entire Wildrose campaign rings hollow. The party has only come up with one thing that truly differentiates themselves from the others and that is taxes, they want to balance the budget with cuts alone. Most Albertans do not want that, they realize that Prentice's tax hikes are rather mild and needed, even the aforementioned Chamber of Commerce is a fan of progressive income taxes.

Beyond that, Wildrose has a lot of commitments that don't seem to be thought out. The Wildrose budget; page 5 BTW, clearly says they will get the plurality of their money from a combo of the following:

Ending cronyism
Ending corporate grants
"Zero-based budgeting" - IE turning Alberta budgets into US style budgets
Auditor General value audits
and a "Wastebuster" program.

Now I can't say I know how many corporate grants Alberta gives out, but the rest of this? Well first, lets talk about Zero-based budgeting. All that really will do is give them the ability to hack and slash away at any social program they feel like if revenues don't match expectations. The remainder of these all assume that there are billions upon billions of government waste in Alberta.

In addition, the budget seems to think you can just cut half of all healthcare managers without any ill effects. Other cuts they plan could easily be opposed by public sector unions.

In fact the only way this makes sense is if you presume this is written so poorly on purpose so they can burn down the social welfare net once they get in to office and claim it was - after all - in their platform, it was just hidden in strange wording is all.

Wildrose is running a hollow campaign, with a hollow leader. The things I noted previously in troublesome polls - that people under-report having voted last time for a certain party, and, are super enthusiastic about voting for them this time - all show up in Wildrose numbers. Where I don't see such problems is with the NDP.

As such, I've come to the personal conclusion that Wildrose is being over-estimated by many. Despite the polls, I think the party will likely end up in third on election day, not second, and not first.

We could still see a minority, and a NDP-Wildrose government is not as crazy as some might think it is, but I highly doubt we will see Wildrose forming a majority of their own.