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A useful tool for strategic voting.

Hello bloggers of Canada! Grab this file!

strategic-voting.xls

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.

Some examples:

These are the seats that went to Conservatives over Liberals in 2008, with a gap of <=5%

This screengrab shows a number of seats where a few votes “borrowed” from the NDP or Greens would have knocked off a Conservative candidate.

Seats that went Conservative with close 2nd place NDP finisher

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)

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