Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pivot

This week serves as a pivot point for politics around the world.

Ontario
The NDP has put out their demands, they want an increase in corporate taxes. Should the government survive though this spring, there is a good chance we may hobble all the way to 2015. The Liberals will need to decide.
1 - Say no and go into an election.
2 - Say yes and increase taxes to get budget though.

Alberta
The provincial PC Party seems to be getting into election mode, and not just leadership election. I'm unsure why; this seems beyond all rationality and logic, but there seems to be an undercurrent among some that a snap election under a new premier would be the way to go. I think this is foolish.

Newfoundland
Frank Coleman has all but been acclaimed as "premier-elect" and leader of the PC Party. The problem is Coleman does not seem like any kind of "leader" at all, seeming to want to be hand-held though this entire process. The Newfoundland PC Party could self destruct if things don't turn around.

India
The Indian elections are still ongoing with today being one of the larger days for voting. In particular, opinions for and against Modi; the leader in the race, are starting to solidify and polarize the race.

Europe
We are about a month out from an europe-wide election, and just as I am preparing for a blog post, it seems Europe has suddenly awakened to the election; with the number of news stories this week almost double that from last (that I can find) without any significant uptick in content.

Elsewhere
Iraq is entering it's final week of it's campaign, and South Africa's election is almost a fortnight away.


At the end of May, we may find each of the above has a new story to tell.
Read more...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ontario Election, June 5th 2014?

A quick post following a quick check of some facts.
1 - The budget will be presented on May 1st.
2 - Elections in Ontario are 28 days by law. (As far as I know, this is the minimum, not maximum)
3 - The last two elections, and, fixed election date law, says elections take place on Thursdays.
4 - Budgets are usually not voted on the day they are presented.

Should the budget be debated for a week, this puts any vote on it, (and thus a Vote of Non Confidence, or VoNC) on the 8th.

Should the government fall on a VoNC on the 8th, this would trigger a 28 day election, landing election day on June 5th.

In the middle of this is the May 24 weekend. There is some logic to having a mid-election holiday, as it gives families a chance to get together around the dinner table. This is important as one or more members may say "man, I really hate that ___ guy" or "I really like what I'm hearing from the ___ party". It's not so much that a lengthy and deep discussion of politics occurs, as much as regular voters, who often do not discuss politics, can realize "heh, I didn't think anyone else thought like I did on this issue." This is how momentum can swing; check the polls from the 2006 federal election for how this can work.

With no clear front-runner to downplay a debate, chances are we have more than one. Given the holiday, I say we have two; one before the weekend and one after. My guesses are the 21st and 28th of May. There is no way the Greens show up for the debate; nor would any fussing by them really capture much attention beyond the usual suspects.

As you know, I'm a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, but I talk less about provincial politics, as I'm a member of the provincial Greens. As a Green, I do feel there is some logic to having the Greens in debates in all provinces; after all the Greens are the universal "next" party. They finished 3rd in the most recent SK, BC, and PE elections. 4th in most provinces. In provinces with an extra party, like the PQ, they tend to finish 5th. I do think that you can make a real and valid argument to include the Greens on that basis.

However, what we face here in Ontario is 3 parties, all at about 30% support. Even the worst polls, from 2012, never had any of the big 3 parties dipping below 20%, while no poll has had the Greens above 10%. All 3 major parties are guaranteed a few seats, while the Greens will be extremely lucky to win 1 seat. It's not that Greens should always be excluded, as some seem to think, but that in this election, including them makes no sense. Thus I say as a Green member, the Greens do not belong in the debate.

As for who will win, that remains to be seen. The most recent poll had the Liberals at near 40%. I ignore that. We remember what happened in Quebec when the government started to pull away and called an election. As I understand things, we have a truly open contest.

There are 6 possible outcomes. All 6 are realistic and real possibilities.
Majority, for either the Liberals, PC, or NDP. Minority for either the Liberals, PC, or NDP.
As time goes on, polls will determine which of these become unlikely. If the NDP can not improve it's poll numbers, an NDP victory can be scratched off the table. The same goes for any other party that takes a huge dive.

Lastly, a more personal note. I got to meet with Premier Wynne and pitch to her my ideas for Public Transit. I was somewhat limited to discussing Transit, but that's okay, as Transit is one of my top key issues; I rate it #1 ahead of Senate Reform.

My #3 idea is transportation as a whole. More freeways, better freeways, less traffic, less congestion.

While meeting with the Premier, I told her that I think she can win an election on this. Her actual Moving Ontario Forward plan is stronger than I was able to pitch. While it does not contain 100% of what I'd like to see, I am a realist, and know that this is the best way to get half of what's needed in place so we can build the other half as an addition.

As far as I can tell, the Ontario Liberals are doing everything they need to. If they do screw up, I'll let you all know. However, this brings to me a personal dilemma.

I told the Premier she can win on this plan. I told her that because I honestly believe it. Now she is running on this plan.

A loss for her on the issue will not only be a loss for me, but for Ontario as well.
Read more...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Political Seasons - a Teddy Theory

I've always felt that Politics does not quite match the seasons we see in the real world. In fact, they are probably closer in scope to the seasons that are used in the game Diplomacy.

I've given this some thought, and referenced the Commons Calendar and developed the following theory. I welcome feedback.

There are, like in the game Diplomacy, 5 seasons. My preference in the game is to differentiate two of them by using two names for the same season, as seen below.

1 - Spring
Length: 18-22 weeks
Time: end of January to early June
The most important season in politics, this is where ideas are created. The budget is presented in spring, and that is a great time for governments to get their new ideas out there, while opposition parties can and frequently do the same. 

2 - Summer
Length: 10-14 weeks
Time: mid June to early September
Comparably, probably the "least" important season. In the summer the parties extend to the grassroots and try to raise funds and gladhandle the voters at BBQs and such events. This season is less important due to any changes it causes and more important in letting parties know how their strategies are playing out.

3 - Fall
Length: 3-5 weeks
time: mid September to mid October
The shortest season but one of the more important ones. Due to the feedback received in the summer, parties spend the Fall re-gearing. Governments will sometimes use these periods to present new throne speeches and mini-budgets that change course slightly in reaction to the worries and concerns of the people they met through the summer.

4 - Autumn
Length: 5-9 weeks
Time: late October to early December
If you want to watch a party at it's best, watch it during this period. The good new ideas have been fleshed out, and the bad ones have been flushed out. The feedback has been adjusted to and the game plan is at 100%. All team members know their job and with aces in their places it's all hands on deck. (I find buzzwords are abound in this period as well for some reason)

5 - Winter
Length: 5-8 weeks
Time: mid December to mid January
This season usually is one of the least important, but, is the most crucial. Canadians across the country tend to be a bit more social with their time off, less cross-country road trips and more dinners with the family. It's during these dinners that politics will sometimes come up. Canadians discuss amongst themselves their own feelings and sometimes realize that ideas they thought they had that were out of the mainstream are anything but. 


In such a system, only the Spring and the Fall are considered political "seasons". 

These seasons can be variable. You'll note the next election is on October 19th 2015. In 2015 I expect the first 3 seasons to all be short so that all parties can enter the election during the Autumn, when they are at their peak. It's thus no surprise that of provinces with fixed-election dates, 7 of them (SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, NL, PE) have elections scheduled during the Fall or Autumn. Two of these provinces (SK, MB) have plans to switch to a Spring date if the feds remain on schedule; this would match Alberta and BC which have spring elections. It's no surprise that elections in the "idea" season are thus in places where we see growing economies (Western Canada) 


I'm curious to hear some feedback on these ideas. Am I on to something? Am I a bit off? Am I way off?

Read more...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quebec (massive post)

Warning, as indicated in the title, this is a massive post. It contains a number of loosely connected ideas that I will go though section by section by section.


#1
Federal

I've attempted to overlay federal results on to provincial ridings. To do this I "eyeballed" the poll by poll maps; so you can certainly dispute if it's accurate. I also decided to treat the election as though it was indeed run on the map. Thus, for example, La Piniere and Pontiac end up with stronger local candidates.


Now the whole point of doing this was to allow us to see where the NDP's real strength is. Sadly, if the NDP wins 96 seats, we can not focus to see where it is strong. "Everywhere" is not a good answer. I had thought about not even posting the above map, but to avoid calls of partisanship, I will post that map and this one:



This map is similar to the above, except that I boosted the vote of the other parties. In any riding where I even had to so much as think about who won (if not the NDP) I decided the NDP therefore lost. This helps show where some of the other parties have some latent strength.

However, if we are going to compare this to a Quebec election map, we should try to look at is as a Quebec election; so I merged the Grits and Tories into one party for this final map.


This gives us a much better idea of where any provincial NDP party might be able to win seats.


While making the above, I got curious and asked myself "What if Quebec voted like the rest of Canada?"

To narrow that down I decided to investigate, "What if Quebec voted like Ontario?". That means a 2.5 party system with the Liberals and Tories as the big 2 parties.

As you can see from the above map, the NDP would do very well in the suburbs of Montreal. That is not a "normal" area of NDP strength, especially in Ontario.

To create these maps I use a combination of real election results (Lib and Con vote from 2011, NDP vote from 2008), urban planning (certain neighbourhoods can vote based on their overhead "look") and census data From Pundits' Guide to help me figure out what ridings in Quebec would vote for if Quebec voted like Ontario. The result is as follows.





I have already posted these maps to twitter, and will be posting additional maps such as this to twitter; so if you are interested, feel free to follow me at thenewteddy.




#2
NPDQ


I encourage you to look at the ekos poll and it's full tables. They show us some interesting things. We can cross-reference (and add, and average, and all sorts of complicated math) to get the provincial-for-federal and federal-for-provincial numbers. This will show us, for example, how many voters support both the Liberals and PLQ, or how many NDPers voted CAQ, and how many Tories voted CAQ, so on and so forth. I end up with (roughly) the following numbers:


30.9% - Liberal and PLQ
16.5% - Bloc and Parti Quebecois
8.8% - NDP and CAQ
7.8% - Conservative and PLQ
6.3% - NDP and Parti Quebecois
6.1% - Conservative and CAQ
5.5% - NDP and QS
4.0% - NDP and PLQ
3.0% - Liberal and CAQ
2.0% - Liberal and PQ
2.0% - Bloc and CAQ
1.7% - Conservative and PQ
1.3% - Liberal and QS
1.0% - Bloc and QS
0.5% - Bloc and PLQ
0.3% - Conservative and QS

If the NDP takes even half of their federal vote...

41.2% PLQ
23.3% PQ
15.6% CAQ
12.3% NDP
5.4% QS

I think, however, a more realistic option would see...

The QS collapse. The only way to prevent this is for the PQ to die, or, to elect PKP as leader.
Otherwise the only possible way to save the QS is to have sovereignty become popular again.
Bloc-QS voters will go PQ, while Liberal-QS voters go PLQ. The small Conservative-QS voterbase, likely separatist, would go PQ.

The CAQ has a very inefficient vote at this level. In addition, left-wing voters will likely go to a left wing party.
The CAQ would shut see it's Liberal support go PLQ, and Bloc go PQ. It may, however, retain Conservatives.

With a federalist alternative, NDP voters would be more comfortable voting for the NDP over the PLQ.
Add to that the collapse of the QS and CAQ as noted, and I expect from all 3 the NDP could draw 85% of voters.
From the PQ, however, I do not. These voters already know they are voting PQ, and would probably break 50-50 at best.

Our result?

44.5% PLQ
26.4% PQ
17.6% NDP
7.4% CAQ
0.8% QS

Remember these are numbers based on this last election alone, not accounting for any change that may occur, or the 2018 campaign.

If the campaign is "normal" - and none of the last 4 campaigns in Quebec have been - then we can expect a few things.

First, without the Charter, Marois, and the PQ being as they were, we can expect the Liberals to lose some of their support.
Second, the PQ almost certainly has a bit more life in it; but the next leadership will be bloody, and the NDP could pick up some of that.
The CAQ will have a real struggle to do well; then again they have done this in the past.
Legault needs to position his party as a right-wing alternative. Couillard may not allow him to by passing his own right of centre agenda.
This presumes that Legault is able to turn the CAQ into a right-wing alternative, but that he loses a lot of support along the way.
Lastly, this presumes the QS does not manage to convince voters there are good reasons to vote QS over NDP.

With such presumptions we could assume a pre-writ poll as follows.

38% PLQ
32% PQ
22% NDP
8% CAQ

If the campaign does not change much, the results may well look like this; This is therefore my "prediction" for the 2018 election:






#3
Current

So it's great to look at what could or may happen, or how things might have been; but how do things stand currently. Thanks to polls and math, we can find the answer to that quickly and simply.

According to the latest projection, based on numbers from 308.com, the Liberals are expected to take 33.8% of the vote in Quebec, compared to 26.4%. The Bloc is down at 19.6% with the Tories bringing up the rear at 14.9%

I've been updating the ElectoMaticLite into a full ElectoMatic. According to the latest numbers, the program, which turns provincewide polling numbers into riding by riding election projections, tells me that the riding held by the Independent, Ahuntsic, currently has 46% for the Liberals, 21% for Mrs Mourani, 15% for the Bloc, and 11% for the NDP.

The full map suggests 22 Liberals from in and around Montreal, 16 NDP, and 2 Bloc. As well out in the Regions, there are expected to be 16 NDP members elected, 10 Liberal, 7 Conservative, and 5 bloc.










#4
Future

So what's the best and worst that can happen for the parties between now and 2018?


Quebec Solidare
The best scenario for QS is the PQ takes a sharp turn to the right, and the NDP never takes off*. In such a scenario, it's not that hard to imagine my earlier "triple QS vote" map becoming a reality for the party. PKP becoming PQ leader would certainly help.
The worst scenario for QS is not only the PQ returning to it's traditional stomping grounds, but the NDP really becoming a force to be reckoned with in Quebec. If this, as I expect, happens; the QS is done.

Coalition avenir Quebec
The CAQ's has two paths to glory. They also need the NDP to never take off* but need a PQ that remains where it is, or, moves to the left. Such a scenario leaves current fertile ground open to be farmed for votes bt the CAQ.
The second path would have the CAQ take a sharp turn to the right. This could mean they can avoid the NDP and PQ and take a bite out of the PLQ vote. The danger is the possibility of isolating themselves (see my federal map for reference).
The worst scenario for the CAQ is a PQ that turns to the right (PKP again) and a strong NDP. In such a scenario it is not hard to imagine them only winning a single seat in the next election; Granby.

Parti Quebecois
The best result for the PQ is a return to the old days. While it is early days, there appear to be three major competitors for the leadership. One of them, Lisee, has hinted that he may offer a commitment should he win. "No referendum in the first term." If this is true, and he wins, and he sticks to his guns; he may just make it through a full campaign without being distracted by the issue. This is likely the best the PQ can hope for, as, it could well lead to a majority government.
The worst result for the PQ is a repeat of what we just saw. Drainville is the candidate that, at this time, appears to represent this. He is the mastermind behind the so-called racist charter, and could well try to run a second campaign on it. Facing a vote hungry QS, a CAQ that's determined to not die, and an NPDQ gunning for PQ voters, such an alternative may end the PQ for a generation.
Lastly is the wildcard, Peladeau. He represents a shift to the right for the party, and this could well revive the brand. PQ could become PC as it is in other provinces and battle with the PLQ on their own home turf politically. This could prove to be a brilliant strategy or a terrible one. It's difficult to say as Quebec culture itself is in flux, perhaps more now than during the quiet revolution.

Parti Liberal Quebec
The best the PLQ can hope for, and what they really need, is a quiet, stable, strong, competent, and ethical government. The less they are in the news, and the better the economic statistics, the better things are for the new government.
The worst for the PLQ is division, corruption, waste, and sluggish growth. Most of their argument of this election was based on the fact that they could manage the government better fiscally; should they fail to do so, they will be punished by the voters.

Nouveau Parti Democratique
The NPDQ, in it's best form, could not only tap into federal NDP voters, but also manage to hoover up QS, CAQ, and PQ votes; as well as disenfranchised PLQ voters, and hard left Federalists who have always felt out of the loop in provincial elections. If this were to happen, they could go from 0 to hero, and form a majority government.
A slightly moderate option is for the party to be able to tap into some of the above, but not all of it due to one or more of the other parties managing to pull off a "best" result. This would see the party with one or two dozen members elected, clearly enough to make an impact, but not enough to come close to winning.
*The worst scenario is simple. The party never takes off. This can happen for a few reasons.
1 - The federal party bombs in the province in 2015, taking 4 or less ridings, and as a result, popularity simply fades.
2 - Other issues (Sovereignty for example) begin to capture to media attention as we close in on 2018 and the NDP is simply unable to make it's presence felt.
3 - After an unsuccessful attempt to organize, the party just gives up, and does not even bother running. This could leave the party as the dominant federal force, but would be as current, without a sister provincial party.


Read more...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Calgary

Internally, I refer to these type of blog posts as "Emergency Posts". This is a post to correct or clarify something that I stumbled upon.

Recently, a friend of mine, Earl, who runs the Canadian Election Atlas inadvertently suggested on his Facebook page that the Liberals could possibly win Calgary Skyview, only if someone from the Tories ran to split the right-wing vote.

I've spoken about what is going to happen in Calgary a few times before and feel I need to clarify this to ensure that the point I am trying to make gets though. I will use blunt ratio numbers from Skyview to make my point.

The Liberals only need 27.8% of the conservative vote provincewide to win the riding. That means if the Conservatives take 2/3rds of the vote (66.667%) the Liberals only need 27.8% of that total, or, 18.5% provincewide to win the riding.

At current the Tories are at 54.2% provincewide and the Liberals are at 24.0%

Unless we re-elect a Conservative Majority government, I do not see any way whatsoever that the Liberals walk away with 0 seats from Calgary.

Skyview is all but a lock for the party. Current nation-wide poll numbers suggest a Liberal Minority. If that happens, you'll end up with a map that looks like this. A Liberal Majority may also be able to win Forest Lawn, while a narrow minority might not win Confederation, and a Conservative Minority might be able to hold on to Calgary Centre.

Skyview however is prime Liberal real-estate. For the past 2 decades, with each election, this riding has been becoming more and more small l and big L Liberal. The people in Calgary who can and likely will vote Liberal are the same people who elected and re-elected Naheed Nenshi.


Things can always change, of course, especially if the Tories get back above 60% and the Liberals below 20%; but as things stand, Skyview is a lock for the Liberal Party.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

International Politics and International Parties

Tony Clement tweeted earlier today that he was attending an IDU conference.

The IDU, or International Democrat Union, is a federation of political parties.

In effect, it is the closest thing we have to "The Conservative Party of Earth"

As a Federation of parties, with some of them having differing statuses from others, it is a bit difficult to get a hard grasp on exactly who is a member. The same is true for many of the other internationals. I will list the major internationals - IE the ones who have been able to elect more than just a handful of members in more than just a handful of places - as well as their Canadian member for comparison.

Conservative - International Democrat Union (IDU)
New Democrat - Socialist International (SI)
Liberal - Liberal International (LI)
Greens - Global Greens (GG)

Pretty well every huge party in the democratic first world are members of one of these. The US Democrats are not part of LI, but unofficially work with them. At the same time, some other Democrats, like Howard Dean, are part of the Progressive Alliance (PA) which is becoming an alternative to SI, especially among parties wishing to become more moderate.

 So why do I say it's difficult to figure out who is a member?

The European Peoples Party is a regional affiliate of the IDU. In effect, the EPP is a member of the IDU. Italy's UDC is a member of the EPP. However, the UDC is not a member of the IDU, but unofficially works with the IDU though the EPP, much as the US Democrats unofficially work with LI.

If there were a single, legal, "Conservative Party of Earth" and no national parties, the UDC would certainly be a part of that.

Thus here is how I'm going to approach this. Associated parties, even a strained association, will be considered members. EPP and ECR members will be viewed as IDU members. The US Democrats, will be counted in the LI. UK's Labour will be counted as SI.

With this I've decided to take the first world democracies, in particular ones with a good number of members, and see how this "world" vote breaks down. For reference, I'm taking the following votes and elections:

US President
Canada Federal
Australia Federal
Germany, France, UK, Italy, (largest european countries)

For the most recent election, and adding up the popular vote totals.

IDU - 40.6% - 122M
LI - 26.5% - 80M
SI - 14.7% - 44M
GG - 2.2% - 7M
Oth - 16.0% - 48M


While this is certainly not a whole-world sample size, it is a good base to build on. If posts like this are popular, I will eventually extend the countries included.

I'd also like some feedback. Should I include both provincial and federal election results, or does that just count the same people two times?

Which countries should I expand to?

Should I make logical presumptions about parties that are not members of an international political federation but that would only fit into one of them?

Should I split parties that seem to better fit into two groups? Alternatively, should I include subgroups like Progressives (from SI) and the smaller Democratic group from LI?
For example, the overwhelming majority of the LI vote comes from the US Presidential election.

Should I use non-presidential elections, and if so, do I use the lower house? If countries use PR, should I use constituency votes or PR votes?

Or is attempting to calculate a "world election result" pointless to begin with, and should I abandon the venture here and now.
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EKOS Poll Puts Hudak PCs in Third Place

You remember when it was us languishing in third place? Now its Hudak's turn (and not just in the approval rankings).

Yes, its just one poll and its within the margin of error and yatta yatta - as BCL put it, that's boring. Let us take this EKOS poll at total face value, and do a projection!

Ontario Liberals: 32.3% - 45 seats
New Democrats: 29.0% - 33 seats
Prog. Conservatives: 27.4% - 28 seats
Green Party: 8.3% - 1 seat

Obviously sitting that low, the Liberals would be hard pressed to get enough seats to form a majority government, but this works out all the same. Their support comes mainly from Toronto (39.7% to 26.6% NDP and 24.1% PC), though they also lead in Eastern Ontario (33.4%) and are in a competitive three-way in the 905 suburbs (29.5% to 33.7% PC and 29% NDP). The Liberals also lead in Northwestern Ontario, which is to say Thunder Bay and Kenora (I think - EKOS doesn't spell it out).

The NDP really build their seat count up in Southwestern Ontario, where they lead with 30.5% to the PC's 27.8% - the reason those numbers are so low is likely because of the higher-than-usual Green result, 14.2%, which also accounts for the Green seat in the projection. The NDP also have a strong lead in Northeastern and Central Ontario, which I believe for EKOS means Algoma, Sudbury, Parry Sound, and so on, though it could also stretch down to Kawartha Lakes.

The PCs would usually have a lead over at least the NDP if it weren't for the low result in the Southwest and also in Eastern Ontario (27.8%). Given how close it is though, and how untrustworthy the regionals generally are thanks to their small sample sizes, I wouldn't worry *too* much if I were a PCer.

Though maybe they should. Given all the recent scandals and issues surrounding the Liberal government in Ontario, you would expect the PCs to have a fairly strong lead, or even the NDP. Yet here we are and neither of them can even surpass the Liberals in a close race as of recently (the last poll to have the PCs in the lead was from February).

The next election in Ontario will turn a lot on the campaign, because the public clearly doesn't care that much in the pre-writ period at this point. They're complacent at best, apathetic (or angry) with their choices at worst. If the campaign can't get voters motivated in whichever party's direction, expect another low-turnout affair that could very easily end up with a fourth-term Liberal government.

Anyways, here's a map:




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