On the bright side, maybe this ridiculously transparent smear job will have the same effect for Layton’s campaign as what happened for Chretien in the 1990’s when the same breed of media cretins started making fun of his stroke-induced facial paralysis. Canadians were rightly outraged at the evil tactics, and took the Cons to the woodshed.
I’ve been playing with my spreadsheet. It’s silly, fun, and a waste of time. That aside, I’ve taken the shift between polling numbers in 2011 (allowing for the current trends to continue until Monday) and voting numbers from the 2008 election for each party. I’ve applied the shift to the 2008 votes to predict the seat counts after Monday. Please do not take this prediction seriously because a) it is deterministic, not probabilistic; b) it’s based on national-level numbers, not regional nor riding-level; and c) it’s just for fun and d) it doesn’t redistribute any of the absentee voters, who seem to actually be motivated to vote this time out.
Because of the huge shift in national support for the NDP, and the blanket mathematical multiplication of votes used on the spreadsheet, some of the numbers for individual ridings predict insanely impossible NDP landslides, which means that the vote distributions are skewed heavily towards previously successful ridings for the NDP (because they are the party with the largest upwards shift of support). For instance, this bad-math approach has Linda Duncan winning by 20,000 votes in Edmonton-Strathcona. I think she’ll win, but not by such a silly margin.
Because of changes in candidates, it completely mispredicts some ridings (such as Central Nova, where no Liberal ran in 2008, and probably Saanich-Gulf Islands, and whatever riding Guergis is running in (Guelph?). Nonetheless, here are the seat counts from this prediction:
Gerald Keddy (South Shore-St. Margaret’s) is getting a bit of bad press for attaching one of his campaign signs to a Government of Canada Economic Action Plan sign in his riding. We shouldn’t be surprised by this transgression:
Why is it that the Conservative campaign is rife with overzealous control freaks screening potential participants and declaring them unfit to gaze upon Dear Leader? I’ll tell you why: Because Harperites become hysterical when they are told that they are mistaken about anything. There’s no better way to prevent fits of hysteria than preventing other points of view from even being aired. That’s why curious students are intimidated in Guelph. That’s why advocates for homeless veterans are refused in Halifax. That’s why even the friendliest media members are limited to five questions a day. The politburo cannot be wrong.
I misspent a few hours this weekend creating what I hope is a useful spreadsheet for voters in the upcoming election. The sheet contains all of the information I could grab from the 2008 general election. The raw data includes the following fields: 1) Number of electors and 2) Number of votes garnered by each candidate (broken down by party affiliation). Data calculated (by the spreadsheet or by the human) include the riding winner, 2nd place finisher, the percentage of relative votes garnered by each party, the gap between 1st and 2nd place, and the number and percentage of non-voters in the riding. The data comes from Wikipedia, because Elections Canada’s website is pretty much useless.
What to do with this data, you ask? Well, I think it’s a pretty handy tool for a voter like me, who wants to see Harper’s government embarrassed, to use as a strategic voting guide. In close ridings that went Conservative in 2008, voters can see who came in 2nd place. Voters who want to subscribe to an Anyone But Harper (ABH) campaign can then park their votes with the candidate with the best chance to defeat the Conservative in their riding. This also holds for close ridings where the Con candidate came 2nd in the last election. The last thing Canada needs is for some of those ridings to go Conservative this time out. No more seats for the authoritarian monster, please.
This screengrab shows a number of seats where a few votes “borrowed” from the NDP or Greens would have knocked off a Conservative candidate.
There’s a lot of interesting information in the spreadsheet. A number of Liberal and NDP ridings have Conservative candidates running a close 2nd. Those ridings should also be targeted strategically to prevent Conservative pick-ups this time through. And, of course, the same strategy can apply in Quebec, where many Quebec city area ridings and rural ridings are contested between Conservative and Bloc voters. I’m putting it out there for the progressive blog community to analyse as a potentially useful tool.
Also: This election only, I am going to endorse strategic voting. I really don’t think that it makes sense in a normal election, but Stephen Harper has to go. Hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils IN YOUR SPECIFIC RIDINGS, Canada!
Edited to add: Check out this site for a map-based presentation of the ridings that were close (<5%) victories for the Conservatives: Swing33. It’s a nice graphic resource, much shinier than my spreadsheet. (h/t to Excited Delirium)