Saturday, December 31, 2011

NDP leadership endorsement map - as of Dec 31

If the past is any indication, mapping the upcoming N.D.P. leadership race will be difficult to do. You see, the party has- at least not in recent memory ever produced any geographical breakdowns of their leadership races. This is quite unfortunate for the cartographically inclined, but I suppose it comes from the party not wanting to create any regional hostilities.

One thing we can map however, are the endorsements. The endorsements will give us a clue into how certain candidates will do in various areas. It is the next best thing to getting actual regional numbers. This is why I have created an endorsement map to show off where the regional strengths are for each of the eight candidates in the running. I do hope to keep updating the map; at least on a monthly basis until the March 24th convention in Toronto.

Revised 01/01/12
The map
On this map, I have coloured in some of the ridings, if the MP from that riding has endorsed a certain candidate. I have used symbols to indicate endorsements for other politicians, such as MLAs, past MPs and municipal politicians.

If endorsements give us any indication as to how well certain candidates are doing, then the race looks to be between Quebec MP Thomas Mulcair and former party president Brian Topp. That is what the media has kept saying as well. Mulcair's strength appears to be concentrated mostly in Quebec, which will be a problem for him if true. Quebec, despite having a majority of the NDPs MPs has few party members so far. The province has, at last count just 6000 members out of a nation wide total of 100,000. Topp also has some strength in Quebec, as well as in B.C., where he has a majority of the endorsements. He may also "win" Saskatchewan, where he used to work for the Romanow government there. If Topp wins both these provinces, he will be looking very good at winning. BC has the most NDP members out of any province, and Saskatchewan (despite having no NDP MPs) has the highest NDP memberships per capita out of any province.

Polling also suggests that Ontario MPs Peggy Nash and Paul Dewar will be strong contenders for the leadership. Neither have as many endorsements as Topp or Mulcair, however (Dewar has no MPs behind him, yet).  Nash has a smattering of support here and there. She has a few Quebec endorsements, and has secured every endorsement in her own riding (the local MPP and both city councillors), but nothing else in Ontario. She may do well in Atlantic Canada, thanks to key endorsements from former NDP leader Alex McDonough and Newfoundland and Labrador NDP leader Lorraine Michael. Atlantic Canada will be up for grabs now that former Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm has dropped out. While Dewar has no MPs endorse him yet, he has the support of many provincial legislators, mostly in Manitoba. He is doing a lot better there than in his home province, thanks to family connections in the province.

Also picking up quite a few endorsements is Manitoba MP Niki Ashton. She isn't considered a favourite for the race, but she will certainly be challenging Dewar for NDP votes in Manitoba where her father is a cabinet minister. She has also secured the endorsement of three Quebec MPs.

Challenging Topp's endorsement lead in BC is BC MP Nathan Cullen. While no MP has endorsed him, he has secured endorsements of a few provincial legislators. However, Cullen has no endorsements outside the province. Also with localized support is Quebec MP Romeo Saganash. He has the endorsement of two other Quebec MPs, including one from a neighbouring riding of his.

And last but least is Nova Scotia businessman Martin Singh. He has yet to receive any endorsements, but he is running a spirited campaign so far. I have heard that the is the only candidate to have opened campaign offices so far. One in Delta, BC and one in Malton, ON, close to large South Asian communities. (Singh is actually not South Asian, but a white Sikh convert). All the South Asian MLAs in BC seem to have endorsed Topp however, but one Sikh NDP provincial legislator (Jagmeet Singh, who represents Malton) hasn't made an endorsement yet. Also up for grabs for Sikh is a whole lot of Nova Scotia NDP MLAs.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Saskatchewan 2011 election results analysis

Results by riding.
Saskatchewan went to the polls last month, and voted overwhelmingly for the right wing incumbent Saskatchewan Party. The race wasn't even close, the SP won win the 2nd highest popular vote percentage in Canadian history. Only Danny Williams' landslide in Newfoundland in 2007 saw a party win a higher percentage of the votes.

The Saskatchewan Party, led by Premier Brad Wall won 64% of the vote in the November 7th race. The opposing New Democrats won just 32% of the vote, the lowest since the party was the CCF in 1938- the election before Tommy Douglas' famous win in 1944. The race however was not the biggest landslide in provincial history. The NDP was efficient enough to win 9 of the 58 seats in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly. They won the same number in 1982, but their opposition then, the Progressive Conservative Party won 55 seats in a larger legislature. The Saskatchewan Party won 49 seats in this year's race. In 1982, the PCs won 54% of the vote compared to the NDP's 38%.

Saskatchewan Party
Brad Wall
Dwain Lingenfelter
Victor Lau
Ryan Bater
Prog. Cons.
Rick Swenson
Western Independence
Dana Arnason

The province has undergone a large polarization since 1982, which saw the two major cities (Saskatoon and Regina) along with the far north support the New Democrats, while the rural parts of the province support the Saskatchewan Party. In 1982, the NDP still won some rural seats, and were actually shut out in Saskatoon. Flash ahead to 2011 where the NDP won no rural seats, save for the two far northern seats. Meanwhile, they won four in Saskatoon and three in Regina. This polarization ensured that the NDP won as many seats as they did in 1982 with less of the popular vote.

The Sask Party had already won a large majority in the previous 2007 election, where they had won 38 seats to the NDP's 20. They gained a total of 11 seats, three in medium sized cities (The Battlefords, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert), three in Saskatoon, and five in Regina, previously an NDP stronghold. Following the election, NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter, who lost his own Regina seat resigned as leader.

The election was the nail in the coffin for the once dominant Liberal Party. The ran just 9 candidates, and won less than 1% of the total vote. The finished 4th in the popular vote, as the Green Party had their best election even, winning just under 3% of the vote.

The last couple of polls before the election were somehwhat accurate. Forum Research's last poll was off by 2% for both the Sask Party and the NDP while Praxis was off by a bit more, as they understated the NDP's performance, giving them just 26%, while they overstated the Sask Party, giving them 67%.

Where I went wrong with my predictions...
All in all, Saskatchewan was my best prediction of the year, as I just got 3 ridings wrong, in other words, 95% accuracy. I have found that 2 way races are easier to predict than multi partisan races, but I did find predicting the Saskatchewan election tricky, due to the fact that the province has never seen such huge numbers for any particular party. I said the NDP would win six seats, but they won nine. The NDP did not win a single seat where I predicted the Sask Party would win.

Regina Lakeview
Highly illusive regional polls suggested bad things for the NDP in Regina, so I went a bit overboard to predict this “safe” NDP seat as going to the Saskatchewan Party. After all, it was the federal party's best Regina riding in May. The race was close however, NDP incumbent John Nilson won by just 145 votes. I said the Sask Party would win by 12%. This did not come true, and I was off by an average of about 5% for each party.

Regina Rosemont
This race wasn't even close. The NDP held on to this riding by over 900 votes. This seat was won by the federal NDP in May, but not by that much, so I thought the Sask Party would be able to pick this one up. The NDP actually increased their vote share here (so did the Sask Party, though). What happened was a relatively strong Liberal performance in 2007 (9%) disappeared in 2011 due to the lack of a candidate. Some of this went to the NDP, and ensured an increase in their support- a rare occurrence on election night for the party. Due to this huge discrepancy, I was off an average of 10% per party here.

Saskatoon Massey Place
Polls showed that the NDP wouldn't get as trounced in Saskatoon as badly as in Regina, but even still I predicted this riding would fall for the Saskatchewan Party. The NDP ended up winning this seat by nearly 800 votes, only decreasing their vote slightly from 2007. I figured the Sask Party would win by 7%, but the NDP carried this seat by 11%. I was off an average of 6% per party here. 


% Change Maps 
Saskatchewan Party % change (2007-2011)
 Saskatchewan Party change

It was a big election for the Sask Party, as they made gains in all but one riding. Much of their biggest gains in votes came in the Saskatoon and Regina areas. These were most of the NDP seats were, and therefore the target of the campaign for the Sask Party. The party was also able to capitalize on the collapse of the Liberal vote which was "strong"-ish in 2007 in these cities. The Sask Party made only smaller gains in much of the rural parts of the province, because they had tapped into most of their support there already. It's difficult to gain when you already won 70% of the vote last time. The biggest gain for the Sask Party came in Regina Walsh Acres. A riding they won in 2011, but didn't even field a candidate in 2007. The only riding the Sask Party lost ground in was Cannington. This seat is one of the strongest for the Sask Party- the got 77% there in 2007. It was hard to make gains on those numbers I suppose, but the real reason for the decrease was the better than expected showing of the Progressive Conservative Party candidate, which tapped into Sask Party support and won 7% of the vote. The Tories aren't a real force any more in Saskatchewan politics, as the Sask Party has filled in their role on the right, but they still run a handful of candidates to remain registered.

  NDP change 

The NDP map is mostly red, signifying a loss of votes in most ridings. They were actually able to make gains in small handful of seats, thanks in some part to 2007 Liberal voters not having that choice again. The NDP's biggest increase came in Saskatoon Meewasin, a riding they actually had, but lost to the Saskatchewan Party. The Liberals ran their leader in this riding in 2007, and did very well, despite finishing third. That vote collapsed, and both the NDP and the Sask Party gained from that. However, the Sask Party gained a lot more, enough to win the riding from the NDP. The riding where the NDP lost the most votes was Regina Wascana Plains, where the Sask Party didn't run a candidate in 2007. Much of Regina was bad news for the NDP, where they lost a lot of support, except for three ridings that stood out in bucking the trend in the rest of the city. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Yukon election, 2011 results analysis

Back in October, on the same day Newfoundland went to the polls, Canada's smallest territory, the Yukon went to the polls. The Yukon is the only one of Canada's three northern territories to elect a partisan legislature. The Yukon's party system is much like your average system in the provinces. There is the NDP, and the Liberals, and the right wing party- the Yukon Party (formerly the Conservatives).

Going into the October 11th race, the Yukon Party held a majority of the seats in the legislature. The party had won 10 seats in the last election, held in 2006 out of 18. The Liberals won 5, and the NDP 3. For the 2011 election, the legislature would be gaining an extra seat, while the territory's riding boundaries had been redrawn.

There were few polls going into the election, given how small the territory is. The final poll released before the election showed the Yukon Party and the NDP tied at 35%, with the Liberals not far behind at 26%. Of course I remember how bad the polls were from the 2006 election, and I knew to expect anything on election night.

The Yukon Party led throughout the night, and ended up winning a majority of the seats, gaining one from the last election to win 11. The NDP did a lot better than in 2006, forming the official opposition for the first time since 2002, winning 6 seats. The Liberals won just two seats. With the victory, the Yukon Party became the first party in territorial history to win three straight elections. The Yukon Party won 41% of the vote- the same percentage that they got in 2006. The NDP won 33%- up 9% from 2006 while the Liberals won 25%, down 9%.

Yukon Party
Darrell Pasloski
Elizabeth Hanson
Arthur Mitchell
Kristina Calhoun
Yukon First Nations
Gerald Dickson, Sr.

Electoral geography
The Yukon Party has been able to build its majorities on winning a majority of seats in both rural Yukon and in the territory's only major urban centre, Whitehorse. In 2006 they won 5 of the 9 rural ridings, and won 5 of the 9 urban ridings. In 2011, rural Yukon lost a seat, and so did the Yukon Party. They still won 4 of the 8 seats, while the NDP and the Liberals each won 2. The Yukon Party dominated Whitehorse, which gained 2 seats for this election. The Yukon Party won 7 of the city's 11 seats, and the NDP doubled their seat total in the city to 4. The Liberals meanwhile were shutout of the city, including their leader's seat.

The Yukon Party was shutout of the northern part of the territory, where the Liberals won their only 2 seats. The did better in the south, where they won all but one of the rural seats. One of the Liberal seats in the north was actually a gain, in Klondike where they defeated the YP incumbent. This means the Liberals were only able to hold on to one seat in the territory that they previously won. This was in the sparsely populated riding of Vuntut Gwitchin, where their candidate was able to win with just 93 votes. Winning the Klondike was a big victory though, as they have never won the seat, which includes Dawson City. The NDP picked up one seat in the rural Yukon, gaining the riding of Mayo-Tatchun from the Liberal candidate, who was a former NDPer himself.

The Liberals lost both their seats they held in Whitehorse. Their leader's seat of Copperbelt was divided in two ridings. Their leader chose to run in Copperbelt North, but was defeated by the Yukon Party candidate by 113 votes. Meanwhile, the NDP gained the seat of Copperbelt South. The Liberals also lost the seat of Porter Creek South. Their incumbent lost to the Yukon Party by just 14 votes. The NDP gained two seats from their mark set in 2006 in the city. They held on to their leader's seat of Whitehorse Centre, as well as the seat of Takhini-Kopper King. The NDP won Takhini-Kopper King in 2006, but their candidate crossed the floor to join the Yukon Party, only to be defeated by his former party in 2011. In addition to those two seats, the NDP also gained Riverdale South from the YP and the aforementioned Copperbelt South from the Liberals. Meanwhile, the Yukon Party did quite well in the city by gaining some of the new seats there. The city was also home to their best riding, Whitehorse West where their candidate won 58% of the vote.

The 2011 race in the Yukon gave us some big surprises compared to their boring election of 2006. Almost every incumbent was re-elected in 2006, even after many had switched parties since the previous election. 2011 saw many incumbents go down into defeat. So much for the notion that northerners always vote for the candidate, not the party.  That didn't seem to happen this election.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bonaventure provincial by-election analysis and preview

Poll by poll map of Bonaventure, 2008 provincial election
Click to enlarge. Credit: MaxQue from the US Elections Atlas Forum.

There will by a provincial by-election in the riding of Bonaventure, Quebec on Monday. With the major shifts in the Quebec political landscape lately, the race could prove to be an important bellwether for the province- or not.

Bonaventure is located in Quebec's Gaspesie peninsula. It is, by most measures a safe Liberal (PLQ) riding in Quebec's National Assembly. The area, which bounds New Brunswick, is somewhat federalist. A slight majority of voters voted against separation in the 1995 independence referendum. The Liberals have held the seat for most of its history. Since 1956, it only voted for the separatist Parti Quebecois twice- both times in 1994, the year before the referendum where there was both a by-election and a general election.

The seat has been held by Nathalie Normandeau, a Liberal since she won it back for the Liberals in 1998 in a close race. Since then, she faced little opposition, winning each of her elections by large margins. She won 64% of the vote in the 2008 general election, nearly 6000 votes more than the PQ candidate. She resigned her seat in the National Assembly in September citing personal reasons.

Location of Bonaventure

One of the reasons the riding is as pro-Liberal as it is, is its somewhat high Anglo population. 15% of residents are Anglophones, which is a high number for that part of the province. The riding can be found on the north coast of Chaleur Bay in Eastern Quebec. It extends from the community of Gascons in the east to L'Ascension-de-Patapedia in the west.

In 2008, the Liberals swept nearly every corner of this riding. Only one corner of the riding voted for the PQ, really. The community of Gascons in the east of the riding had all three of its polls voting for them. The PQ won only two other polls in the entire riding. One was in Saint-Omer and the other in Paspebiac. The Liberals on the other hand won all of the remaining polls. They had their highest concentrations in the region between the towns of New Richmond and New Carlsile.

1) Clarence Hamilton (PLQ), 1867-1871
2) Theodore Robitaille (Cons.), 1871-1874
3) P.-C. Beauchesne (Cons.), 1874-1876
4) J. I. Tarte (Cons.), 1877-1881
5) L.-J. Riopel (Cons.), 1881-1882
6) H.-J. Martin (Cons.), 1882-1890
7) Honore Mercier (PLQ), 1890-1894
8) F.-X. Lemieux (PLQ), 1894-1897
9) W. H. Clapperton (PLQ), 1897-1904
10) J. H. Kelly (PLQ), 1904-1914
11) J.-F. Bugeaud (PLQ), 1914-1924
12) P.-E. Cote (PLQ), 1924-1936
13) Henri Jolicoeur (UN), 1936-1939
14) P.-E. Cote (PLQ), 1939-1944, 2nd time
15) Henri Jolicoeur (UN), 1944-1956, 2nd time
16) G. D. Levesque (PLQ), 1956-1994
17) Marcel Landry (PQ), 1994-1998
18) Ms. Nathalie Normandeau (PLQ), 1998-2011

Map of the riding. Source: Le Directeur general des elections du Quebec

Federal history 
 The provincial riding of Bonaventure can be found wholly in the federal riding of Gaspesie—Iles-de-la-Madeleine. That riding is held by the NDP's Daniel Toone. His narrow victory came much to the thanks of this part of the federal riding. Bonaventure was the most pro-NDP part of Gaspesie—Iles-de-la-Madeleine. The NDP dominated the region, except for the area east of New Carlisle, which was divided amongst the other three parties. The BQ won the town of Gascons (where the PQ did well), the Tories won the heavily Anglo towns of New Carlisle and Hope, while the Liberals won Port-Daniel. The NDP won most of the rest of the area, winning all but a couple of polls west of New Carlisle. Their strongest poll was the Indian reserve of Listuguj where they won 81% of the votes.

List of MPs from the area:
1) Theodore Robitaille (Cons), 1867-1879
2) P.-C. Beauchesne (Cons), 1879-1882
3) L.-J. Riopel (Cons), 1882-1891

4) W. L. Fauvel (Lib), 1891-1897
5) J.-F. Guite (Lib), 1897-1900
6) Chas. Marcil (Lib), 1900-1937
7) P.-E. Cote (Lib), 1937-1940
8) J. A. Poirier (Lib), 1940-1945

9) Bona Arsenault (Ind), 1945-1949; (Lib), 1949-1957
10) Neree Arsenault (PC), 1957-1958
11) Lucien Grenier (PC), 1958-1962

12) Albert Bechard (Lib), 1962-1979
13) J. R. R. Bujold (Lib), 1979-1984

14) D. L. Gray (PC), 1984-1993
15) P. C. Gagnon (Lib), 1993-1997
16) Yvan Bernier (BQ), 1997-2000
17) Georges Farrah (Lib), 2000-2004
18) Raynald Blais (BQ), 2004-2011
19) Philip Toone (NDP), 2011-present

By-election Preview
The four main candidates
The Liberals have nominated Damien Arsenault to be their candidate. He is the mayor of St-Elzear, in the riding's eastern end. Riding polls have suggested that he is the safe bet to continue the Liberal dominance in the riding. A recent Segma poll suggests he would win 49% of the vote. This is down quite a bit since 2008. However, considering some recent polls have the Liberals down 20 points province wide from their 2008 mark, it's not that bad. And he still leads the other parties considerably. His closest challenger will be the PQ's candidate, Sylvain Roy. He was at 35% in that Segma poll. That would be up from the 29% the PQ got here in 2008. This mark would be great news for the beleaguered Pequistes, who are 15% lower in the polls these days than they received in the 2008 election. The left wing Quebec Solidaire candidate, Patricia Chartier was in a distant third in the poll at 9%. She is an aid to the area's MP, Philip Toone. She ran for the QS in 2008, getting just 3% of the vote. The right wing ADQ is running Georges Painchaud, a former Liberal candidate was at 4% in the poll, and the Green candidate, Jean Cloutier received 3%.

With the PQ tanking in the polls recently, any improvement on 2008 has to be a big win for their leader Pauline Marois. She has seen a slew of defections over the last few months, and with the collapse of the federal BQ back in May, is being threatened by the separatists movement going into long hibernation. Getting a good result for QS will be a big boost for a party that hopes to emulate the breakthrough that the NDP got in May. Keeping on the electoral radar would be a win for the ADQ, which is at this point in merger discussions with the brand new Coalition pour l'avenir du Quebec (CAQ). The CAQ, led by popular former Pequiste Francois Legault has been leading all the province-wide polls as of late. They are however, not running a candidate in this by-election. Maybe for the best, as that Segma poll also asked if voters would vote for a CAQ candidate in this by-election. Only 15% said they would.

So, what to expect Monday night? A Liberal win, of course. But the question remains, what will the fallout be, if any?