Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Interesting little Rabble poll

Got an e-mail about this as a Rabble member.

Rabble, for those who don't know, is Canada's largest left-wing political website. I am a member there. I was also a member of Free Dominion, Canada's largest right-wing political website, but it has since been shut down after a court case.

Rabble is having a poll, you can vote here:

The NDP is in the lead (no surprise) but I am interested in the other numbers. As of this posting, the current results are as follows.

NDP - 41.30%
Liberal - 27.26% (I voted here)
Green - 13.37% (would be my 2nd choice)
Undecided - 4.13%
Communist Party - 2.91%
Guns & Dope Party - 2.83%
Conservative Party - 2.64%
As well as some "Others" including
Just plain "Other" - 1.01%
Bloc - 0.26%
Libertarian - 0.19%
and a bunch of other responses with only 1 or 2 votes, including a non-capitalized "libertarian", a few "Anyone But Harper" variants, and one "The electoral system is flawed, no accountability. If Canada moves to a rep by pop system where votes count then perhaps I will examine individual party platforms."

I am posting this to encourage you guys to vote in this online poll, but also, to see what kind of Canada we'd have with pure Proportional Representation.

Now, I actually can turn this basic, mess of a math, into FPTP seats. It's simple, you use square roots. It's not 100% accurate, but for such a simple formula, it gets you close.

Thus take the NDP at 41, the Liberals at 27, and the Greens at 13. Now square each of those numbers. The NDP is now at 1681. The Liberals at 726. The Greens at 169. Total that (2576) and find the share. The NDP wins 65 of the 100 seats, the Liberals win 28, and the Greens win the remaining 7 seats.

Of course it's the Proportional Representation that interests me more. First off, lets re-examine the list. None of the "other" parties did very well at all. It seems that the Bloc is under-represented. Given their francophone nature and the anglophone nature of Rabble, this is not a surprise. The Bloc is able to regularly capture 5% or so of the nation-wide vote, at least according to polls. Therefore I will assign them "5% or so" of the vote.
Next, I need to remove the Undecided and add Others, in order to properly calculate a result. They total 5.55%, or, "5% or so". Thus, I will assign this to the Bloc. It's not that I think Undecided or Other voters are Bloc voters, it's just a lucky coincidence that the numbers I need happen to be undecided.

Now; you'll recognize most of these parties. Canada actually has two Communist Parties. A regular one, and a Marxist one. Given that the Marxists usually take fewer votes-per-riding, and are less well known; I will presume this means the regular "Communist Party.

You'll also notice the "Guns and Dope Party", which is a US satirical/protest party with libertarian leanings. Given the Rhino Party is registered here in Canada, and has very similar leanings, I will assign the votes accordingly.

Thus our final/starting numbers are

NDP - 41.30%
Liberal - 27.26%
Green - 13.37%
Bloc - 5.14%
Communist - 2.91%
Rhino - 2.83%
Conservative - 2.64%

It is very simple to turn this into PR seats, especially using the Vinton method. Just multiply this by 338, and using rounding figures to round up or down where needed. If you do the math you'll quickly see that 338 is not enough. This is because we've left out our undecideds! To cope just increase the number until the final result nears 338; in this case 352 was used.

145.38 - NDP
95.96 - Lib
47.06 - Grn
19.54 - BQ
10.24 - Cmnst
9.96 - Rhino
9.29 - Cons

Do some usual rounding and you get to


But this adds to 337. Horror! This is where the Vinton method comes in. Check for the largest remainder not rounded up. In this case, the NDP at 145.38. The .38 is higher than any other number not rounded up, topping the .29 for the Tories. It is lower than the .54 for the Bloc, but that was used to round up. Thus our final result:


This would likely result in a NDP-Lib or NDP-Grn government, or an NDP minority; but the latter would be difficult as even the Bloc does not have enough members on their own to pass a bill with the NDP.

The only alternative would be a Lib-Grn-Cons government supported by the Bloc.

So; since it may come up; why have I posted this? You may find the result of this particular unscientific poll uninteresting. If so I do not blame you. Rather I am posting this as part of a "show your work" theme that I do from time to time. This is how you can quickly calculate results. Compare this simple math to a calculator for the d'hondt method to see how close you can get.


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