Sunday, April 28, 2013

Number of Candidates

Teddy here for a hat trick of posts, this time, examining the number of candidates parties run in elections.

For those who have been following my tweets, you will know that 5 candidates for the BC Conservatives have somehow been excluded from the official list of BC Conservative candidates as published by Elections BC. One of the candidates has tweeted that this is an error on Elections BC's part, and that it will be fixed shortly (probably by Monday, if true)

While one can speculate on why these 5 suddenly find themselves without a party label, it does, at this time, impact the number of candidates running.

The BC Liberals and BC NDP have managed full slates of 85 candidates each. The Greens have 61. Should these 5 be re-added to the Conservative total, they too will have 61 candidates. Otherwise, the party will end up with 56.

These are the only parties running candidates in enough ridings to win a majority government (43 seats)

The Greens in particular have been known for running full slates in the past, yet this election - one where they have perhaps their best chance ever at electing an MLA - they have not managed one. This has been a trend, with the PEI NDP for example, which had run full slates repeatedly, managing to only fill half the ridings in the last provincial election.

This got me to thinking. What have the history of parties and their candidate numbers looked like in the past few elections for each province and Federally? I decided to do some research and share the results with you. 

Since the main focus of this is when parties did not manage a full slate, I will begin there, heading east to west. One thing I'm particularly interested in, is what impact, if any, this has on leaders getting into debates.

In Newfoundland, in 2007, only the PC Party managed a full slate, with the Liberals being short by 2, and thus only running in 96% of the ridings. The NDP ran in 75%

In 2003, the NDP managed 71%, and in 1999, the NDP managed 73%

In PEI, in 2011, the Greens managed 81%, while the NDP were back at 52%, and the Island Party, at 44%, managed to make it into the debates.

In 2007, the Greens had 67%, and the NDP 56%. In 2003, the NDP was at 89%.

In New Brunswick, in 2010, the Greens managed 89%, and the PANB, with only 25%, managed to get into the debates.

In 2006, the NDP manages 87%

In 2009 in Nova Scotia, the Greens, with a 100% full slate, were excluded from the debates.

In 2006, the Liberals managed 98%, missing 1 riding, while the Greens ran a full slate. The Liberals were in the debate, while the Greens were not.

In Quebec in 2012, the QS with 99% managed to get into the debates, while ON with 96% did not. The Greens managed 53% coverage.

In 2008, QS had 98% coverage and were not in the debate. The Greens managed 64%

In 2007, QS had 98%, and the Greens, 86%, neither were in the debate.

In 2003, the UFP managed 59%

In 2011, in Ontario, 4 parties managed a full slate but only 3 made it into the debates. The next nearest was the Freedom Party, with 53%

2007 also saw 4 full slates, with the Family Coalition running at 78%

2003 had the Greens miss one riding, thus sitting at 99%

In Manitoba in 2011, the Greens, with 56% did get into the debates.

In 2007, the PC Party missed one, settling for 98%

In Saskatchewan, in 2011, the Greens, running a full slate, did not make it into the debates. Next closest was the Liberals with an embarrassing 16%.

In 2007, the winning Sask Party only managed 98%, and the Greens managed only 83%

Alberta in 2011 saw 4 parties with full slates, all in the debates. The Alberta Party followed up with 46%

In 2008, the Liberals managed 99%, the Greens 95%, and Wildrose, 73%

In 2004, the Liberals again had 99%, followed by the Greens at 59%, and the SoCreds at 51%

Finally, this leads us to BC. In 2001, the Marijuana Party managed a full slate, while the Greens ran in 91% of the ridings, and Unity in 71%

By 2005, the Greens had a full slate, and the MJ Party was reduced to 56%.

In 2009, the closest to a full slate anyone could challenge was the Conservatives at 28%

And that brings us to this election. The Greens have 72% coverage, and the Conservatives may as well, or, they may be down to 66% depending on how this 5 candidates thing plays out.

All of this can be compared to Federal results.
In 2011, the Tories missed 1 riding for 99.6%. The Greens managed 98.7%. The Bloc managed 24.3% nationwide, and 100% in Quebec, of course.

2008 saw both the Tories and Liberals at 99.6%. The Greens managed 98.4%.

2006 saw 4 full slates.

2004 also saw 4 full slates

2000 had only one full slate. Both the Alliance and NDP missed 3 ridings for 99.0%, and the PC Party clocked in at 96.7%

1997 saw 3 full slates and Reform at 75.4%

Lastly, 1993 saw 2 full slates, the NDP at 99.7%, the National Party at 57.6%, Reform at 70.1%, Natural Law at 78.3%, and of course the Bloc, with 100% in Quebec, at 25.4% nationwide.

The conclusion, as evidenced by the Federal 1993 election, is that the number of candidates seems to have little to no impact on how the media treats a party, or even how successful that party will be. So long as the party is running in at least two thirds of the ridings, it seems to have a good chance of being thought of as a serious party, but it also needs to be polling at a certain amount; ranging from 1% to 20%.

My conclusion from this is that any party that fails to either
A - Run in 2/3rds of the ridings
B - Poll at most 5%
Should not be thought of as a major party, and should not be given major party treatment
And that
Parties that do both
A - Run in at least 95% of the ridings
B - Poll at least 20%
Should always and automatically be given major party treatment.


  1. What this would look like by province.

    46-32 candidates

    26-18 Candidates

    NB (new ridings)



    ON (new)

    ON (old)





  2. Hey Teddy,
    Just FYI, the last two federal Elections, the Green Party did not have full coverage by deliberate choice. They did not run a Candidate against Stephane Dion, and Bill Casey. Next election will be a different story. Unless they totally change their strategy, they will have lost a lot of local EDA's. I will be very surprised if they manage to come up with Candidates in all ridings, because they do not have any resources dedicated to field organising. That could change, there is probably 2 years until the next election, and they may change tack, but as it stands, they will not even come close.

    1. I know in Burlington the former Green candidate from 2008 sort-of backed our 2011 candidate (at the very least showed up to a couple of rallies), and said the Green EDA had been kaput and they were running a token candidate at best. Haven't heard anything from the Greens here since, despite there being some strong environmentalists here - our mayor was a former Green candidate from 2004!

      Btw BGB, welcome to Liblogs, nice to see you on here.

    2. Greens don't really have to run everywhere to make an impact, from the numbers above, even if they only managed 250 or so candidates, they could still win additional seats.

  3. @Kyle: Burlington is a perfect example of the impact of de-registration of the EDA on electoral outcomes. Burlington EDA was a growing and relatively strong EDA back in the day, but they are part of the dis-illusion in non-BC local Greens that has resulted in wholesale collapse of EDA's. They managed to scrape up a candidate in 2011, but their vote share halved after the 2010 de-registration of their EDA. And thanks for the welcome to Liblogs!
    @Teddy The point is that every place that the Greens do NOT run a candidate, their impact will be a slightly lower overall turnout, and redistributed votes. As the GPC EDA de-certifications pick up steam, the total absence of ground game and money will change the electoral map. I predict a handful of Ontario ridings with a significant impact. (Formerly well funded ridings that 'lost their deposit') I am blessed with access to certain data that will allow me to quantify those impacts within ranges, so I am awaiting Elections Canada financial database updates over the coming 2 years. My data is old, but the conclusions will be relevant, especially to the Liberals and NDP. Look for a post in a few months, the same time next year, and immediately preceeding the 2015 election...

  4. Any word on why those 5 BC Conservative candidates had their affiliations dropped by Elections BC? Was it an administrative error on Elections BC's part or did the Conservative Party not fill out the nomination forms correctly?

    1. The last I heard, the candidates themselves botched it. I'm still following though.