Friday, June 12, 2015

Newfoundland and Labrador Redistribution Transposition

Below is my transposition for the new provincial electoral boundaries in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For some background, the new boundaries are kind of odd - they reduce, rather than increase, the number of provincial constituencies in time for the next election. That's pretty hard to think about in most parts of Canada, as we're used to seeing an ever-increasing number of politicians (as Ontario will soon see) - however, the three of the four Atlantic provinces have decided to decrease their provincial legislatures in their recent redistributions. The reasons for this vary - the population may be shrinking, the rural population may be moving to the urban centres, its a way of moving power bases around, et cetera. As with all electoral boundary redistributions, politicians and communities fight tooth and nail against the recommendations that come from the various elections commissions, especially those in rural and less dense areas where people feel they're going to lose their clout (or their representative) on the whim of a mad geography.

This being Newfoundland and Labrador, one of the most vocal places in the country and where parties of the population are so hilariously far-flung and isolated that roads don't even each them, you can imagine the uproar when, of the eight districts being gutted from the 2006 map, seven of them were being taken out of the rural parts of Newfoundland (none out of Labrador, which will retain its four seats). Thus began what should have been a long, drawn-out process that made no one happy and took a year or two to complete - but, that couldn't be, since a new election for the province has to be called this year, thanks the change in Premiers since the resignation of Kathy Dunderdale. By law, a new election has to be called within a year of a Premier resigning his or her position - putting this redistribution on schedule that normally wouldn't be recommended, especially in a province with people as vocal as Newfoundlanders tend to be.

In the end, though, the job was done, and we now have our final result - forty districts, about 30 of them truly "new." I did my transposition below over the course of about a week through piecemeal efforts, though in truth I began the process months ago. I even made a map, which you can see below. These numbers are about as accurate as I can make them - I am missing about 2,000 voters, but its all across the province and not just from a riding or two. Plus, no district is close enough for it to really make a difference anyway, I feel.

By region, the new districts break down into this, with the percentage of seats in parentheses. Normal letting is the new 2015 map, while the italicized lettering is the 2006 map.

Labrador: 4 seats (10%); 4 seats (8.3%)
Newfoundland (whole island): 36 seats (90%); 44 seats (92%)
Avalon Peninsula (including St. John's): 18 seats (45%); 20 seats (41.6%)
St. John's: 10 seats (25%); 10 seats (20.8%)
Newfoundland (excepting Avalon):
18 seats (45%); 24 seats (50%)

Rural constituencies (exception Labrador): 20 seats (50%); 25 seats (52%)
Urban/suburban constituencies: 16 seats (40%); 19 seats (40%)

Its interesting to note on that last point, 59% of Newfoundlanders live in urban centers - not 40%.

Anyway, enjoy, and if you have any questions or want the graph for yourself, let me know.

Original Map Base done by (I think) Teddy


  1. That map base looks suspiciously like something I have made, but with some minor alterations. Anyways, good job. I've begun doing a transposition too, hopefully I wont lose 2000 voters ;-) This kind of thing takes a long time.

    1. Was it? I wasn't sure if it was you for Teddy, I found it online in a Google search attached to this blog - if it is yours, I'll give you the attribution of course!

      Good luck with your transposition. The main reason my voters disappeared was due to trying to apportion the special ballots and so on, the math just dictates that I have to lose people here or there and I didn't feel it was worth the time to perfect it - the error is not large enough to affect the outcome in any one riding. But if you find a better way, I'd be happy to look it over.

      Oh also, if you are doing this, I have something that might interest you. Elections NL doesn't have an excel spreadsheet for past results on a poll level, but I made one for the 2011 election from the PDF file they provide. If you wish to use it, just let me know.

  2. Have u had a look at latest EKOS poll? Very interesting trend.

    1. I have, yes - and the trend is interesting, though its also contradicted by the recent Forum poll. Weird things going on.

    2. If u put that poll in your model, what would be the seat count? Thanks in advance

    3. With EKOS' numbers, the model gives a topline result of 147 NDP, 102 Con, 84 Lib, 4 Bloc and 1 Green.

      The most interesting numbers by far would be Ontario, where the NDP lead in that poll with an unheard of 36.1%, or 10% over both the Libs and Cons, enough for 52 seats compared to 38 Lib and 31 Con respectively.

  3. Thanks Kyle. The NDP is gaining steadily in EKOS, I wish that was closer to election day. But we take any good news. I think it is related to Alberta winning, as people are giving the NDP a second chance. Mulcair also is really good, I volunteered for his leadership campaign because I see in him a gifted politician. He started the breakthrough in Quebec by winning in that by-election in a safe Liberal seat, and held it in 2008 as the first NDP seat ever in Quebec. Fun times ahead!!

  4. There is a new Angus Reid poll confirming NDP lead. The trend is likely to be real :)