Monday, April 25, 2011

My Predictions: Prime Minister Layton? The Numbers Don’t Add Up.

While it is certainly exciting news from a Canadian Federal Election perspective that there really is something different going on this time. But, what does it mean that the NDP party are now essentially tied with the Liberals for voter support?

To try and find an answer, I reverted back to math, my safe haven. From a statistical point of view, I decided to use the results of 2008 as a starting point (sounds like a reasonable beginning).

So, starting with the most contentious ridings, those won by less than 5% of the electorate, here’s what we see. Winning by less than 5% occurred in 42 ridings across the country. Simon Fraser University has a website that lists all of these ridings and who finished first and second. I took that data and populated an excel spreadsheet. Then, I sliced and diced. I then assumed that any riding where the NDP finished second, I predicted that they would win. And, considering how the party that seems to be suffering the worst from this campaign is the Liberals, outside of Quebec, I next focused on that Party. There were 15 seats where the Liberals lost by less that 5% of the vote. I predicted that these would not change. Lastly, I looked at where the Conservatives finished second and predicted that if the winner was the Liberal, those riding would be won by the Conservatives this time.

Bottom line, The Bloc will lose 1 seat, the Liberals will lose 10, and the Conservatives will gain 5, and the NDP will gain 6.

I decided that maybe I needed to take a different approach. So, this time, I looked at every seat where the NDP finished second. The total was 66 seats. WOW, now that’s exciting. But, I began to scratch deeper. Of the 66 seats where they finished second, 49 of those seats were won by the Conservatives. However, of those 49 seats, the Conservatives won 34 of them by a margin of 20 percentage points. No matter how excited the electorate is with the NDP this time, I don’t think that they can overcome a 20 point margin without a Conservative scandal that actually sticks (as far as I can tell, nothing has stuck yet). But, I do believe that all of these straws that continued to get piled on the Conservative camels' back are making a difference in the swing ridings, even if we're not seeing them in the polls.

So, if the NDP wins 15 seats from the Conservatives, and all of the rest of their second place seats, that’s another 17 seats. That’s an NDP gain of 32 seats. Not enough to topple the Conservatives, but surpassing the Liberal seat count. Further, if we focus a bit more closely on Quebec, we see that there are potentially 4 new seats that the NDP can pick up, all at the expense of the Bloc. For the sake of fun, I am going to predict that the NDP captures all of them.

Now, that you know how I got at my results, here is my prediction based on the Conservatives' not getting stuck in a scandal (and none of the straws eventually breaking the camels back), and, the NDP continuing to ride high in the polls.


  1. Elliot you have way too much time on your hands. Great analysis though!

  2. I'm going to have The Professor look at this and tell me if your figures are correct. WHO in their right mind (a scientist) would be able to sit long enough to figure this all out???? I'm sure it's wonderful, but I HATE the outcome. This is a VERY strong reason to vote strategically if nothing else. Elliot...DO THE RIGHT THING. Hold your nose and vote LIBERAL for the love of this country!!!