Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Alberta Provincial Poll: 30% PC, 30% Wildrose, and all sorts of weird.

Quito Maggi's Mainstreet Technologies has put out the first poll in Alberta in over a month, also the first following the recent bringing down of Alberta's deficit budget by the Prentice government which, as I noted before, is likely unstoppable because the soon-to-be ex-MLA Danielle Smith made some very bad decisions in life.

However, this poll says that maybe things aren't as dire as I predicted. According to the survey, among decided voters, the results are the following:


Essentially, its all tied up but there are some variations regionally that seem quite interesting.

The obvious, of course, is Edmonton, where among decided voters the NDP sit at 42%, a huge number for Rachel Notley and her crew (35% with undecideds included). They would very likely sweep Edmonton, especially if the PCs were as low as it says they are.

But of course, they fall flatter outside of the capital city, lagging behind in fourth behind the Liberals in Calgary - not a surprise - and the rest of Alberta outside of its two larger cities - more surprising, but not as big of one as you'd think. In those two regions, the PCs and Wildrose fight it out more, but it still represents a drop for both of them from the election, and a serious drop for the PCs since Mainstreet's last poll.

 Overall, using my projection, this would give the PCs 34 seats to Wildrose's 26, 15 for the NDP, 11 for the Liberals and 1 for the Alberta Party. In other words, the Alberta politico's Apocalypse.

If this were the case, would you see the PCs govern in a minority with the Liberals? They could reach 45 seats combined, that is a bare majority. Or would Wildrose cobble together some sort of unholy coalition with the other two opposition parties? Would the two conservative parties govern together? The possibilities are endless!!!

However, before we start lining up orange curtains for the Premier's office or whatever, lets keep in mind that we're still not in an actual election yet, and Alberta polls are somewhat finnicky. Let's also remember that the PCs have the best political machine in the country, easily rivaling the "Big Blue Machine" of Ontario's politics or the federal Liberal's organization in the latter half of the last century.

Still, this poll gives me some hope. Maybe Albertans will wake up after all.
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

New South Wales - Results

The election is wrapping up and the last ballots are being counted.

The biggest 'surprise' of the night was the Greens did very well. The party now holds two additional seats, in the North-West corner of the State. Two Independents were re-elected, bringing the number of seats from a party not in the big two up to 6.

Some seats are still too close to call, but it appears as though Labor has won 34 seats, while the Coalition has picked up 53 for a solid majority government. Within the Coalition, the Nationals hold 16, and the Liberals hold 37.

While 2PP results are not out yet, this appears close to 57% to 43%, which, while a healthy gain for Labor, is not as much as was expected.

In the end, 12 Liberal seats appear to have fallen to Labor, and 2 National seats to the Greens.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

The Farce That Is Alberta Politics

If it hadn't dawned on the voters of the great province of Alberta that they became totally screwed near the tail end of last year, it surely must have hit them yesterday with the bringing down of the Progressive Conservative government's latest budget. In Canada's conservative heartland, taxes are going to rise and the debt is going to increase, and there is no one else to blame except the party that has governed the province for the last four decades in a row.

Crow all you want about $40/barrel oil, it matters not. A supposedly fiscally conservative government should have the wherewithal to think ahead and prepare for a drop in oil prices. This province of economists and chest-thumping balanced budget promoters should have at least considered that markets and prices fluctuate (no, really?), and in the meantime it may be a good idea to not spend like drunken sailors on social programs and infrastructure projects you couldn't afford if your pot of gold started to run low.

This is about the time where the people of Alberta start to smell the rot, and throw out a government so past its prime that Methuselah is looking at them cockeyed. This should be the time when the Wildrosers are so far ahead in the polls that a sweep of the province's 87 seats could be within reach, and Danielle Smith would soon be on her way to the Premier's office. It sure as hell should be the moment when Albertans take a look at the centrist and centre-left alternatives that do most certainly exist in their province and say, hey, what have you got to offer that these fools aren't?

Yet these choices are not what Alberta has. Instead, they get a mess and no viable leadership among any of the other parties.

Premier-presumptive Smith is not measuring the drapes in the Premier's office, but is instead sitting as a backbencher in a government caucus she may not even be re-elected to. I mean, I can't even talk about her without laughing at the uselessness of the decision made by her and her fellow defectors. Just watch this video for what I expect the backroom reaction was.

The remaining rump of the Wildrose Party is just that - a rump, and that is what it will remain, if it does at all.

The Liberal Party is not seizing its moment in the sun, but instead is so bereft of appeal and a coherent strategy that I fear for its very survival in the upcoming election. I love David Swann and I'm glad Sherman is gone, but I just don't see where they go from here. The less said about Laurie Blakeman and her pointless "three-in-one" campaign, the better.

The New Democrats are not in any position to challenge the PCs for government, let alone force a minority government, and Notley will likely end up as another footnote Opposition Leader, at best. Its also a sad day when I find the bloody Dippers to be the best-placed alternative party, despite the fact that I know they'll go nowhere.

Don't even get me started on the Alberta Party or Greens, who can only hope to become the next useless third parties in the legislature.

It honestly just kills me to think about this mess, about this farce. All Albertans get to do whenever the next election comes up is rubber stamp another four years of an inept government, or just not bother to come out and vote at all. I will not be surprised if turnout goes below 40% in a provincial election, in the middle of an budget crisis of the government's own making!

Just, crazy. Absolutely crazy.
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

UK election kicks off

Back in 2013, I posted an election projection for the UK. You can view it by clicking here.

In it, (I hope) I made clear that this projection was based on what I expected the trends to be, between then, and 2015.

I called for 23 SNP seats, and 10 for UKIP.

I posted this projection in many places, and many people called me crazy, said it was insane for UKIP to ever get close to 10 seats, and even moreso insanier for the SNP to have 23 whole seats!!

Yet now credible sources are admitting I was right all along, and in fact, the SNP may well win far more than just 23 seats.

Frankly, given recent polling, it is quite possible for the SNP to win 40 seats, however, my gut still says we are over-estimating their numbers, if at such, and between 20-30 is more reasonable.

As for UKIP, polls currently put them at 15%, but I'll generally stick to by 10 seat call, with the caveat that this is "roughly" correct, and by "roughly" I mean between .5 and X2, or, in this case, between 5 seats and 20.

Down at just 8%, the LibDems will struggle to hold on to third and could fall to fifth in Parliament; but should easily retain the 6 seats they need for status as an official group, and thus, more powers and rights in the commons. This 'official status' appears to mean less than it does in Canada, however.

I will keep everyone up to date between now and the election on May 7th.
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New South Wales election

New South Wales is Australia's largest state in terms of population, it is home to Australia's largest and most well known city, Sydney, and it surrounds the independent Austrian Capital Territory, where the Federal Parliament is located.

One of the big issues is electricity privatization; which makes NSW a bit like Ontario.

Compared to Queensland, it looks much less likely that Labor can win. Like Queensland, they faced a heavy defeat last time, and like Queensland, they are expected to gain seats.

In Queensland, polls taken since August 2014 never put the LNP above 53% in a 2PP, and of the 15 polls in that time frame, Labor lead, or was tied, in 6 of them.

Compare this to the last 15 polls in NSW. Labor's highest in any poll since then has been 47%, with the average being closer to 46% or 45%.

In addition, polls had Premier Newman faring poorly, compare this to Premier Baird in NSW who has an all-time poll low of 46% compared to 22% in the same poll for Foley, Labor leader.

All these signs indicate a LNP victory in NSW.

Last election Labor took 20 seats, while the Liberals and Nationals took a combined 69. Labor can be expected to gain between 12 and 20 seats, for a split closer to 52 and 37, with the remainder filled by third party candidates and Independents.

Here is a fun little calculator from ABC to play with.

The election takes place this Sunday.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Israeli election results

With almost all ballots in and counted, the following results are where we stand

Likud - 30
Zionist Union - 24 - AKA Labour
Joint List - 13 - AKA Arabs
Yesh Atid - 11
Kulanu - 10
Habayit Hayehudi - 8 - AKA Jewish Home
Shas - 7
UTJ - 7
Yisrael Beyteinu - 6
Meretz - 4

The only question now is if we are in for a right-wing coalition of Likud with Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu, the Religious Parties, and Kahlon, or a centrist coalition of Likud with Labour, and Yesh Atid. 
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Israel election

This coming Tuesday, Israelis go to the polls to elect their government.

Mostly stable polls have shown a late swing towards the centre left. Polls also indicate that the most solid support is for the right.

In the last Ontario election, I developed a theory that parties that have less solid support actually do better in the election. So far, in every election I've been able to test this on, this remains the case. If the trend continues, this suggests that two parties in Israel in particular will benefit the most.

In addition, in Quebec elections, Federal and Provincial, late swings have been very significant to the final result. If this also transfers to Israel, it means good things for one bloc in particular.

Taking the most recent poll average, we find the following results:

25 - Union
21 - Likud
13 - Yesh Atid
13 - Joint List
12 - Jewish Home
9 - Kunalu
7 - Shas
6 - UTJ
5 - Meretz
5 - Yisrael Beiteinu
4 - Yachad

However, given the momentum, swings, trends, and vote certainty, I feel the following is a more realistic result:

26 - Union
20 - Likud
16 - Yesh Atid
13 - Joint List
12 - Kunalu
11 - Jewish Home
7 - Shas
6 - UTJ
5 - Meretz
4 - Yisrael Beiteinu or Yachad (only one meets threshold)

This results in a radically different possible list of events than we have seen thus far in the election.

"Natural Allies" the Zionist Union and Yesh Atid end up with a total of 42 seats. With unofficial, or official support from the Arab Joint List, this can be bumped to 55, with Kunalu bringing this to 67 and a majority.
This is by no means a sure thing. No fewer than three people in this arrangement feel entitled to the post of Finance Minister. In addition, there is no guarantee the Arabs will actively back such a government, or, that members of more moderate parties like Kunalu are willing to compromise far enough to mollify the Arabs.
Despite that, the idea of a left-wing government in Israel is more possible today than it has been for the entire election.

Likud and Jewish Home would end up with only 37 seats. Even if the Religious parties are brought along this is only 50. Support from Kunalu could push it over the top. Such a government could prove to be unstable however and we may be back at the polls in a year or two.

Yesh Atid's leader, Yair Lapid, wants to remain Finance Minister. If he wants it badly enough, he might even try his own government by allying with Kunalu's Moshe Kahlon. If the two parties were to come together, and Kahlon were to try for the Premiership, the bloc would have 28 seats. While it would be very hard for them to find the remaining seats they would need for a majority, they might find some unexpected way to cobble it together, Potentially going up to 32 seats with Yisrael Beiteinu, the party might find a way to tear moderates from Likud and Labour and form a government on it's own.



In the end, things have indeed changed. While a week ago a Bibi government seemed all but certain, today, this is no longer the case. While I still say the odds are that Bibi will somehow managed to remain Prime Minister, a bet against that would no longer be a lost cause.
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