Monday, October 20, 2014

Ukraine Election

After some consideration, I've decided to lead with the numbers, and explain them in the second half of the post.

185 Poroshenko Bloc Pro-President Pro-Administration
35 Radical Populist Pro-Europe
30 Opposition Bloc Anti-Europe Pro-Russian
25 Batkivshchyna Liberal Tymoshenko
25 Popular Front Liberal Non-Tymoshenko
20 Civil Position Conservative Moderate
15 Strong Ukraine Conservative Pro-Russian
15 Svoboda Nationalists Far Right
15 Communist Communist Pro-Russian
15 Samopomich Conservative Christian
40 Independent Various Various

185 Pro-Govt
120 Pro-Europe
60 Pro-Russia
15 Nationalist
40 Independent

225 Poroshenko Bloc Pro-President Pro-Administration
50 Radical Populist Pro-Europe
40 Opposition Bloc Anti-Europe Pro-Russian
35 Batkivshchyna Liberal Tymoshenko
35 Popular Front Liberal Non-Tymoshenko
35 Independent Various Various

225 Pro-Govt
130 Pro-Europe
40 Pro-Russia
35 Independent

The two sets are based on the 5% threshold. Of the 10 parties that are polling well, half of them regularly get over 5%, while half sometimes do not make this mark. Therefore some of these parties may not win any of the proportional seats.

A few notes about the parties...

The Opposition Bloc contains the remnants of the old Party of Regions.

Poroshenko Bloc, or, the President's party, has sucked up the old UDAR party.

The "Liberals", or, Batkivshchyna, have a famous leader, Yulia Tymoshenko. She, however, is a controversial figure, and the "Popular Front" party was created by party members who do not care for her; the two parties thus have somewhat similar ideologies, and are separated by personality and leadership.

There are a number of smaller parties that could also win.

Civil Position seems to be a moderate party from my read with a general small-c conservative leaning.

Strong Ukraine is a party that was once merged with the old PoR, but de-merged after the PoR got itself in trouble.

Svoboda is the far-right nationalist party, it was their participation in government that ticked off Vladimir Putin so much.

The Communists are Communist, or, at least, a modern post-Soviet Communist party; which effectively means pro-Russian nationalists who yearn for the "good old days"

And Samopomich is a christian party with strong support in the Western edges of Ukraine.

The party I have the most trouble nailing down is the Radical party. It is popular for sure, but beyond that, I have a hard time pinning it to the political spectrum.

Many of the parties are effectively just vehicles for popular politicians, and support whatever that politician supports.

I will now compare the current trends to past elections. The Presidential Bloc is the direct successor to a political party that, in 2002, managed to win 19 seats, but since then, has not existed as a separate party. I will therefore compare that party to UDAR, since the latter is running within the Bloc.

Party of Regions - 185 (last time)
Combined - 45 (this time)
Opposition Bloc, Strong Ukraine (parties)

Fatherland - 101
Combined - 50
Pro and Anti Yulia Liberals

UDAR - 40
Bloc - 185
President's Bloc

Communist - 32
Communist - 15

Svoboda - 37
Svoboda - 15

Radical - 1
Radical - 35

Others - 47
Others - 55
Everyone Else

So, what's happened?
In short, half, or a little less, of supporters of the other parties in the last election, are backing the President this time around. Likely in response to a call for unity. The only other party that's truly up is the Radical party, and the latter is likely due to the party's extremely harsh stance against pro-Russian movements in the country (suggesting separatist protesters should be shot).

The Party of Regions meanwhile has not fallen as far as would appear. There are 12 seats in Crimea (10 in the province, 2 in Sevastopol) which represents 5% of the nation-wide vote, roughly. In addition, there are seats held by the rebels and will be unable to vote. Lastly, some PoR members have simply given up on Ukraine. This explains why the Party of Region's successor parties are at 45 and not 90


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Toronto and more

I've updated the graphic with new polls, as well as increased the vote total expected for the 4th though 67th candidates. I expect just under half of this to go to Goldkind (3%) an additional 1% to go to Baskin, and the remaining 3% to be distributed among the 6th though 67th placed candidates.

Due to his weak early polling, Ford is at 31%, while Tory and Chow now match their most recent poll at 39% and 23% respectively.


There are and were elections in other locations.

For starters, one of the MLAs elected in New Brunswick a few weeks ago has quit saying he did not know how much hard work it was. I guess when you buy in to the media all-politicians-are-lazy you don't expect to have to do any hard work. There will thus be a by-election here shortly.

Also in by-election news is the Alberta By-Elections and the pending by-election in Whitby federally. 

Other countries are holding elections soon as well, or, recently held them.

An election in Bosnia has seen various nationalist candidates win their respective nationalities. 

Brazil has seen the two candidates of the traditional 2 major parties go though to the second round of voting for President.

Ireland had unexpected by-election victors, Independents. This comes as the "other" vote in polls keeps going up in that country.

And elections to come have also shown some interesting results.

Japan has seen a return to more normal polling numbers. Polls in Japan are strange in that they do not ask who the voter is supporting, but weather or not they "approve" of a party. Looking back though historical results, there is a very consistent theme that about 10% of voters are willing to park their ballot with a party they do not otherwise "approve" of, so long as they appear to be the leading candidate to defeat the sitting government. With that in mind, the current poll suggests the next election will have the following results:

362 - LDP (govt)
80 - DPJ (liberal)
14 - NKP (govt coalition partner)
11 - JCP (communist)
7 - JIP (right-wing, successor to restoration party)
3 - SDP (social democrats)
1 - YPJ (populist)
2 - Others (various others)

In Israel, polls suggest the country continues to trend to the right. The October 2nd seat projection suggests the following:

27 - Likud (conservative)
18 - Jewish Home (pro-settler)
16 - Labour (left/centre)
10 - Yesh Atid (liberal)
9 - Yisrael Beitenu (right conservative)
and so on. What matters most is that the Jewish Home, which wants to annex half the west bank, is running in second. They, along with Likud, would only need 16 additional seats to form a government, something not very difficult if the existing coalition partners, Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beiteinu, agree to continue. 

And lastly, Ukraine goes to the polls later this month. I will be doing a complete independent post on this, but in short, the new President and his Parliamentary alliance is expected to win a plurality of seats. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Toronto update and "others"

I've done some research on Elections in Toronto, starting in 1997 with the merger of the city. Counting the top three, or four candidates each time, I've been able to determine how many votes "other" Candidates usually receive.

The lowest is 2%, and the highest is 9%, with the average being between 4%-8%.

Polls are telling us that John Tory, Doug Ford, and Olivia Chow will take a combined 100% of the vote. Quite a few polls, in fact, tell us this. These tend to be the same polls that indicate that rather than any vote for "others" there is a vote for "undecided".

For this reason, I do not trust any poll that tells me the "other" vote is at 0%. I will therefore be adjusting these polls to account for an "other" vote. As to what size remains something I am working on. Right now, the most reasonable size appears between 3% and 4%. Due to the way the graphic was set up, I will simply be including these voters with "Ari Goldkind and Others", and colour them in with Goldkind Red.

I've also poll averaged recent polls as well as older polls, and traditional support levels to produce the updated graphic.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Why I Cannot Support the Next War in Iraq

I just got off the phone with my grandfather, a staunch Conservative for his entire life, but an extremely intelligent and reasonable man who knows a good or bad thing when he sees it. The conversation went, paraphrased, as such:

"Your leader is a disgrace."
"For the 'whipping them out' joke-"
"I found it funny, I guess its a generational thing."
"He is refusing to stop these terrorists."
"I happen to agree with him."
"You want to let those people continue to terrorize Iraq?"
"No, I just-"
"That is just wrong, its shameful."
"He is not a leader for this country, he is a disgrace."

Nothing hurts me more as a person than to have my grandfather call a decision of mine "shameful," and call into question my judgement. I don't think anyone would find it grand to hear such things from someone they respect. I suspect many don't voice their opinions on many issues for those reasons.

I watched a video last night as well from CBC where the hospital bed-ridden, possibly terminally ill father of one of the British hostages of the Islamic State pleaded for his son's life - it was, very simply, something I could not watch, both for the raw emotion and for the fact I could never sit under the glare of someone affected so profoundly by a news event, and say to their faces that I oppose an action that may very well help their family member.

Such is my life at the moment.

Let me be clear in saying that, at the moment, I have no ties to anyone or anything going currently on Iraq, outside of the fact of me being a Canadian taxpayer. I don't know anyone in the military, I have never met any refugees currently fleeing the conflict in Iraq and Syria, and so on. Its very likely that this war/combat action/whatever you want to call it will never affect me personally. But I still feel the need to speak out, because as a politically active Canadian, I have an opinion - one that seems to be in the minority, but an opinion nonetheless.

My opinion is thus: I do not support the current combat action in Iraq (and also possibly Syria). I believe wholeheartedly that sending in aging jets to bomb IS strongholds will not do any significant damage to their grip on power. I do not agree with the notion that this deployment is the end of our involvement - like Jean Chr├ętien, I think we're either in this or we're not. When we see the bombing runs do nothing to IS, there will be serious consideration of sending in ground forces to re-occupy the currently occupied areas - and I do not at all trust Stephen Harper and the Conservatives to say "no" when the US and NATO come knocking on our door. "Mission creep" is not only real, it is inevitable in this situation.

I am not a post-modernist, wish-washy liberal who thinks that what IS is doing is perfectly OK in the context of their region and religion - I believe they must be stopped, and will be stopped, because they have no way of building up the support they need if this is how they treat their own country men and women. I believe we should support the citizens of Iraq, Syria, and the Kurdistan territories against their oppressors, these IS fascists, who justify their sadism and psychopathy through religion and xenophobia.

Here is the thing, though - IS has been enabled because of the missteps of previous attempts to "correct" the situation in these countries. The US invasion of Iraq in 2003, agree with it or not, allowed this to happen. When you create a power vacuum the way the Americans and their allies did, you never know who or what will end up filling it. The decision, waffling as it has been, to support rebels against Assad's regime in Syria has also not exactly helped things along, with the oft-touted "moderate opposition" against Assad that we have tried to support being ineffectual at best, untrustworthy fronts for the darker elements in that war at worst.

With that in mind, invite anyone to explain to me why us stepping into the arena again is going to help matters, because the fact is I have not seen anything except "well IS must be stopped." All well and fine, but why do we believe stopping IS with the same thing that enabled IS is going to fix the situation? Everyone knows it - we'll either end up in a quagmire again, or if we leave, IS 2.0 will just pop up.

The difference is that I recognize it, and I am choosing to speak out about it. I am not opposed to war for the right reasons, with clear goals, proper exit strategies, and local solutions. I am simply opposed to stupid, blind, wasteful wars that, frankly, seem to serve the interests of our government more than the people actually being affected.

Finally, I think this is an important point that my grandfather, and many others, are missing when considering this issue, yet probably should.

The facts are that they not the ones who could be sent into these countries to risk their lives - its my generation that will be on the frontlines. They will not be the ones who will have to decide when to bomb or invade the next group - my generation will be burdened with those decisions. They are not going to be around long enough to have to deal with the consequences of their actions today - but I will be.

As someone who will be the most affected by the decisions being made now, I say "no" to this war. Simple as that. We can find other ways of stopping IS - bombing people is not the only solution. I support not just Justin Trudeau on that point, but any political leader or voice that realizes the mistake we're making, and is choosing to speak out about it.

PKP to be next PQ leader?

I threw together a simple graphic based on a recent Leger poll in Quebec about the PQ leadership. For those not following the race very close, I thought this graphic might help explain the situation. This is among PQ supporters.

The #2 to PKP is Aussant, who if you recall, quit the party and lead the ON. When your principal opposition comes from someone who currently lives in the UK because he could not find a job in Quebec, you know you have a "wide margin" over the field.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Toronto update

Ford has cemented his place as the #2 candidate, and Ari Goldkind has managed to pick up the overwhelming majority of the remaining vote.

44% - Tory
27% - Ford
26% - Chow
3% - Goldkind and others.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#NBVotes Post-Mortem for Projections and Pollsters

So there is some chatter going around that New Brunswick was yet another flop for pollsters in Canada, and in particular Forum Research, who released the final poll in the race that also happened to show a 40-40 tie between the two main parties (Libs and PCs) in the popular vote. That, clearly, did not happen. But was it really a miss, and can Forum be blamed? Lets dive into the facts.

My Projection Model

I included all polls since 2010 in my projection model, in the end I came up with this:

The fact is that, for an election barely polled, my projection didn't do too shabby at all. The Liberal and NDP numbers were essentially spot on, while the Greens were never expected to win a seat (except by NB Politico), and I made some bad assumptions about the Alliance vote.  The main issue here was the PC vote, which rose dramatically for the final projection due to the aforementioned Forum poll.

Other projections from other people, such as, Canadian Election Atlas, and NB Politico, were essentially around the same mark. With no huge divergence among projections, and a pretty accurate reflection of the final result, is there really a problem here?

The Polls

There isn't, but only because our projections have rolling averages that bring in all polls, rather than just one. The more polls added into the average, the better, as any weird results or wild swings are tempered by other polls. That is why we can add in a poll from a less-than-reputable company, as some claim Forum is, and not be too concerned if there is a lot of other pollsters also in the field.

As I had mentioned before, there were was barely any pollsters in the field. Here is a recount of the results since August:

Six polls is not much to go off, especially when it comes mostly from just two pollsters. However, in the end, the trends were all correct - the Liberal lead tightened, the PCs rose from the doldrums, and the NDP collapsed inward.

One could also make the argument that Forum helped correct an inaccuracy on CRA's part - an overestimation  of Liberal support, something CRA actually had a problem with in 2010. Both overestimated PC support in their final polls, though CRA's was within its margin of error - Forum's was not. Both correctly called, within the margin of error, NDP and Green support.

Does this make the polls inaccurate? No more than usual. They are always to be taken with a grain of salt, and their data has to be treated for what it is - a snapshot in time subject to a margin of error, sampling bias, and a number of other factors.

That also means you can't bash Forum around as much as you'd like. Forum has never had a result when in the field with other pollsters that does not match up with what those other pollsters say - BC had every pollster show a large NDP lead; Alberta had every pollster show a Wildrose lead; Quebec 2012 and Quebec 2014, Forum followed the same trends and numbers as other pollsters. The one exception I can find so far has been Ontario's last election, though it wasn't as if Forum showed a completely out-of-this-world result, and had essentially every party within the margin of error (or, in the PCs case, just outside of it). Lets not forget all their many successes, including Toronto's 2014 mayoralty race, 2011 elections in Ontario, Nova Scotia 2013, and so on.

Forum is a popular punching bag for failures in Canadian polling, though that is mostly because of an overzealous President in Lorne Bozinoff, and the fact that they poll a lot more often and in more races than all other pollsters in Canada. No one else touches by-elections, mayoral races, federal elections, small provincial races, and so on - but Forum does. And if Forum gets one wrong, yet they appear to be the only pollster that does because they're the only pollster actually doing polling, everyone piles on.

I'm not here to defend Forum - I simply ask that if you wish to be taken seriously, you should remember that all pollsters are guilty of hits and misses. Forum remains no different.