Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More on Toronto

I created a Toronto "Electomatic" - though warning, it's of limited use since the mayor's race is a city-wide winner-take-all and the individual ward results do not matter.

What is interesting is the map it produces:

What I find most interesting is there are 3 wards that will vote for John Tory that are all currently held by huge Ford Nation members. These are highlighted in light-Green.

Kyle and I are discussing the possibility of endorsements for City Council in Toronto; if we do go that route, one thing I want to see, is a focus on those wards where a bit more effort can knock off a Ford enabler. While we've not decided anything in these 3 wards just yet, it's a good place to look if you are itching for action.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Toronto Graphics

I decided to up my game and present far better graphics on the Toronto election. That sad doughnut will never be seen again.

This is a poll average combining my earlier "poll average" with the two most recent polls. I added in the past 'average' in to stabilize it a bit, even though said average already contains these two polls.

This graphic uses the (un)official campaign colours.

Feel free to leave any feedback.

edited to add black bar at bottom so preview image is not "squashed"

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Omnibus Minipost

A second poll from a small firm has come out and pegged Doug Ford at 16%. I decided to do some poll averaging, including the two polls, the last Rob Ford poll with the 80% modifier I noted earlier, the previous Doug Ford poll from months ago, and lastly, my own personal "gut" poll. The result is as follows:

42.8% - John Tory
25.6% - Olivia Chow
25.4% - Doug Ford

As for who is what candidate in terms of party support, I'll say this: I colour the names because it makes the race easier to follow for those not familiar with politics in Toronto. Clearly the "party lines" are not going to be crisp, however, in general, those who like the "blue" party, will, in general, like Doug Ford, while those who like the "orange" party, will like Chow, etc so on and so forth. I will continue to colour these three candidates in this manner until the election date, but will not be adding any party labels to any of them, as, clearly, they are all independents. I threw this on a graph to show, as opposed to tell, why I want "party" colours for these candidates. I plan to make more (and far better) graphics like this as the race continues.

There are two state elections in Germany on Sunday. While I had planned to do a minor write-up on both, the simple reality is both incumbent government coalitions are expected to be re-elected with around 55% of the vote, and thus, I'll simply leave it at that.

More interesting is what is going on in Sweden. None of the proposed coalitions seem to work, but a grand coalition between the two major parties would secure a majority. The election itself is Sunday, and the actual final numbers will determine which combinations work and which do not.

After a crazy third ballot due to a non-tie tie second ballot tie non-tie, Paul Davis has emerged as the Premier-Designate. He replaces Tom Marshall, who replaced Fred Corbett (or something), who replaced Tom Marshall, who replaced Kathy Dunderdale, who replaced Danny Williams. Marshall actually never left his post, with his prior "replacement" resigning prior to taking office. That joke added to this "mess" of a second ballot, in which it became pointed out that 50%+1 is not a majority, but slightly more than a majority. In this case, 340 VS 339, as, 340.5 is actually 50%+1.

I do not expect many changes from my last newfoundland predictions, though some St. John's area ridings might be solidified; in particular, the "middle" of the three light-blue ridings is now that of the leader, and would thus be expected to be held by the party.

New Brunswick
A new poll that I've only found reference to on Twitter pegs the Liberals at 42%, the Tories at 32%, and the NDP at 13%. I've added this to a poll average (weighted to forum's other poll)* to produce this:

45% - Liberal
31% - PC
16% - NDP
6% - Green
2% - Alliance

And this map:

*This means I added the two forum polls, then treated that as a single poll with a weight of one third, when combining it with the other two polls to come out within the past month. IE each forum poll was weighted at 1/6th.


New Brunswick Liberal Association

The New Brunswick Liberal Association is a part of the Liberal Party of Canada, however, the two do not share membership lists. Why?

Well at one time, the NB Liberals claimed 450,000 members. Again, no extra 0's in there. They did give me the disclaimer that "many" of these people likely had "since moved out of province" or "passed on". I tried to find out if the lifetime memberships are still a thing. According to the most recent membership form, from 2009, free lifetime memberships are indeed still a thing. 2009 however is far from 2014, so to find out, I simply called the party, not 5 minutes ago. Due to the election, they are open today, and confirmed that the above is still the case, but that they have slightly fewer members, but did not give a hard number.

I know that this was one reason the Federal party took so long in moving to one-member-one-vote; with provinces like NB handing out memberships forever, for free, it was seen as unfair to those areas that did the traditional $10-for-a-year scheme.

Even in modern history, the NB Liberals have been among the most successful provincial Liberal party in the country. Their base of support is in the Acadian areas of the province.

The official platform is very well written and presented. The party's leader, Brian Gallant, is from Shediac Bridge, one of the most big L Liberal areas of the country, big L as in brand loyalty. This makes Gallant a Francophone Acadian, and he would thus be the first Acadian to win an election in the province since Louis Robichaud, the most famous and popular Liberal leader in the history of the province.

Prior to the election of Robichaud, New Brunswick was an English province. As I mentioned, I lived in the province for a year. I have family there, and my maternal Grandparents both were born and raised in New Brunswick. My Grandmother in particular was born and raised in Bouctouche, very close to Shediac and Saint-Antoine; the latter being where Robichaud was born and where I lived. My grandmother gave me some insight into how things were done in the pre-Robichaud New Brunswick.

Upon going in to town - Moncton in particular - she was instructed to "Speak white", which meant, do not speak French in public. Even in Dieppe, the Francophone suburb of Moncton, many people would speak English in public due to the way French was perceived; something to be ashamed of.

Robichaud won election in 1960. By 1963 the government was marred in scandal, and Robichaud called a snap election. Due, in part, to a victory by the Federal party in the middle of the campaign, Robichaud was able to lead the Liberals to a re-election victory.

It was that term, between 1963 and 1967, that saw the start of the reformist programs of Robichaud. "Equal Opportunity", which sought to break down the wealth gap between Anglophones and Francophones, was brought in. In the following term, after the 1967 election, Robichaud saw unrest, with Francophone students staging sit-ins and protests demanding more rights. The Campaign was eventually successful and saw New Brunswick become an officially bi-lingual province.

Following Hatfield, the Liberals would return under Frank McKenna, winning every seat in the province. The McKenna government was much more of a blue-liberal government, appealing to business and McKenna himself was known to say the "best social program we have is a job." After 10 years at the top, McKenna resigned as Premier, and the party went on to defeat in the following election.

Shawn Graham is the most recent Liberal premier. Graham, like McKenna, had a more moderate approach. In the end, however, voters tossed the government and replaced it with the Tories under David Alward.

Today, Brian Gallant is leader, and is running on a very progressive campaign, one that harkens back to the days of Louis Robichaud. The party is committing to raising income taxes on the "super rich" and improve social programs.

Polls all point to an easy Liberal victory.

How easy of a victory?

Pretty easy, given the numbers.

Things still are yet to be decided however. The next poll (or polls) will help clear up exactly where everybody stands. Right now, however, a Liberal landslide is to be expected.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Quick update on Doug and Rob Ford and Toronto

Very short update about where the polls might go.

First, I want to get this out of the way; John Tory is for all intents and purposes, the big L Liberal candidate for Mayor. Brad Duguid, a Liberal MPP, has endorsed him. In addition, as said earlier, most Liberals I know within the city are backing John Tory. I will thus continue to treat him as such. Doug Ford meanwhile was a prospective PC Candidate, and Olivia Chow is a card-carrying New Democrat. While elections in Toronto are non-partisan, it is quite clear the top three candidates have some level of backing from each of the three parties. This was true in 2010, true in 2006, and will likely continue to be true for the time being.

Now, on to the polls.
We have actually had Doug Ford polled before in a Forum poll from some time ago.
Doug was able to get about 80% of the response his brother did.

This would suggest the following result:

46% - John Tory
27% - Olivia Chow
25% - Doug Ford

However, a flash poll, also by Forum, has produced the following

41% - John Tory
34% - Doug Ford
19% - Olivia Chow

Chow has been on a downward trajectory for a number of weeks now, with fewer and fewer non-NDP-type voters backing her. John Tory seems to be sucking up that voterbase, and maintains a lead according to the flash poll.

Personally, I do not expect this boost to Ford to last. I also expect Chow's vote to continue to decrease to NDP levels, meaning closer to 15% I also expect most Anti-Ford supporters to gather in the John Tory camp, and push his levels up, while Doug Ford returns to more traditional Ford-levels of support.

Thus my prediction for election day is as follows:

50% - John Tory
30% - Doug Ford
15% - Olivia Chow

Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick

Here is a fun fact that most people don't know, but I do (because I asked). The NB PC Party used to claim 300,000 members.

No, I didn't add an extra 0 in there. 300,000 people, a little under half the population of New Brunswick, were considered by the PC Party to be members. How? Simple; it costs $10 to join the party, and once you are in, you are in. There was no annual membership fee, so your membership would never lapse, the only way out was to ask to leave.

I'm not 100% certain that this has changed, but the membership page suggests somewhat, with free lifetime upgrades available; though it now requires action on the part of the prospective member; a default opt-out and not a default opt-in.

The policies supported by the incumbent government are generally what you'd expect to see from a provincial PC Party in the Atlantic. The only real "right-wing" policy the party has is on fracking, which it backs to the hilt.

The history of the party is rather interesting, or at least, I think so.

Before 1935, officially, there were no political parties in provincial politics in New Brunswick. Despite that, the media (and public) generally knew if a premier was Liberal or Conservative. As well, it was quite easy to find out who are the supporters and opponents of said premier within the legislature. This is why I've added, and insisted it be kept, a list of "parties" forming the government. to the New Brunswick election wiki page. You can see that like in Nova Scotia (though not to the same extreme) the Liberals had been more successful for the early history of New Brunswick. The first modern PC government to sit for more than two terms was that under Richard Hatfield.

Prior to Hatfield, an election result like this was commonplace. With the Tories doing very well in English and Anglophone areas, and the Liberals sweeping the Acadian areas, with places like Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton, and Mirimichi swinging towards the government of the day.

To a degree, this pattern still exists, however it was the government of Hatfield that really brought Acadians in to the PC Party in a big way, purposefully as well.

This (on the left) is Hatfield's last victory. You can see he did rather well in Acadian areas, winning nearly half of the seats. Prior to Hatfield the Acadian vote had been relied on to consistently go Liberal, where as since then, the Acadian vote simply "trends" Liberal, meaning the PC Party can expect a handful of Acadian seats, in victory or defeat.

1987 was a terrible year for the Tories. Hatfield, facing major scandals, waited until the last legal day to call the election, and was rewarded by winning 0 seats. In the following election in 1991 the party finished third behind the Confederation of Regions. It was not until 1995 that we would again see a PC leader of the Opposition in the province. Even then, Hatfield's legacy remained, with the majority of the PC caucus being Acadian, as well as it's leader, the current minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

1999 saw young Bernard Lord, a Quebecois by birth, win 44 out of 55 seats. The Lord government was seen, especially in it's first term, as competent and moderate. The major problem for Lord was the rising rates for car insurance.

I actually lived in New Brunswick during this period. I was told by one insurer that if I went with them, my yearly rate would be $15,000. And again, I did not accidentally add another 0. In short, they purposefully charged so much to avoid having 18 year olds on their policy list. The Tories nearly lost the 2003 election, which came as a shock to many, but managed to hang on by just 1 seat.

By 2006, "Tanker" Malley had quit the party and forced an election. (Tanker is running in Miramichi as an Independent) and the election of that year saw the Liberals pick up just the few seats needed to form a very narrow government, despite the PC Party winning the popular vote. In this election the Liberals managed to win 50%+1 of the Anglophone ridings, while the Tories won 41% of the Acadian ridings, making the first real "balanced" split for both parties among the province's two language communities.

By 2010, the Liberals, seen as unable to fix the problems facing the province, were gone. This was the first time in the history of the province that a political party had not been re-elected to a second term in government. And now, in 2014, it looks like the PC Party will suffer the same fate as all the polls point to a Liberal victory.

The Tories don't stand much of a chance of winning, but if pushed to the extreme, the party might be able to have a very strong showing.

The same old English-French vote pattern is clear, however, with the Liberals having regained their foothold among Acadian voters.

The party retains support in the Madawaska region, but it's largest base of support is among Protestant Anglophone voters in the province's central heartland along the Saint John river, and west to the US border.

An updated Electo(non)Matic can be found here:
Note the changes to the colourization.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Brunswick NDP

The New Brunswick NDP is the "3rd" party in the province. It has held seats before, never more than one at a time, but is the only party beyond the Liberals and Tories to elect members in more than one General election. In 5 of the last 8 elections, 1 member of the NB NDP has made it to the legislature. This election there is the real potential for the party to elect more than one member.

The party's greatest asset is Dominic Cardy. While I still question his political astuteness, his charisma is something that can not be denied. Cardy was born in the UK in 1970, making him 44 years old; middle of the pack for the top 3 leaders. You can see from his videos that he speaks with ease, with few pauses for "ah"s and "um"s and speaks French well (far better than I do anyway) but possibly (and likely) with an accent.

The party under Cardy has positioned itself as a moderate and modern alternative. Even the official platform lacks many of the buzz words of NDPs past. Ironic, perhaps, for the NDP branch perhaps most known for being disbanded due to left-wing radicals taking control.

Much of the history of the NB NDP is similar to other branches. The party has been known to swing back and forth on the spectrum, from radical socialism, to very pro-Labour stances. The NDP's most successful leader in the province, Elizabeth Weir, was known to be more on the socialist side of the debate, yet also can be seen as a moderate when compared to 'socialists' in places like Toronto or Vancouver. Weir was only the second New Democrat elected in the province, and the only one to manage re-election, getting re-elected a total of 4 times. Much of the history of the NB NDP is the history of Weir's NDP.

Weir's presence in the legislature became commonplace over this period, and even at times without NDP representation, the media has still turned to the NDP to get another opinion on various matters. Weir's riding in the heart of Saint John helped the party become well established in the area. Vote patterns suggest that should the NDP ever see support levels like that found in Nova Scotia, the party would end up "based out of" Saint John, much the way their sister party was "based out of" Halifax.

There are, however, important pockets of support elsewhere. Cardy has worked hard to boost support in Fredericton, while the party also has done relatively well in Moncton, despite many of the recent Liberal and Tory Premiers calling the area home. There are also pockets of support within Acadian areas that the party is keen to see grow, with one of the possibilities being in Restigouche West, an area of the province known for being against the grain; not only was it the closest the Acadian Party came to a seat, but it was also the seat most likely to flip had Frank McKenna not managed to sweep every seat.

The NDP is also respected within the province as having some quality ideas. The party was at the forefront of the auto insurance debate before it exploded, and Weir herself enjoyed wide support and respect, even if her party struggled at the polls.

There are some ridings the NDP could easily win and others the party could struggle to take. These two maps outline extreme conditions at the upper end of possible:

As can be more clearly seen on the bottom map, much of the hope of the party comes in a few select ridings. Four candidates in particular have a shot at victory.

1 - Dominic Cardy. The leader is running in Fredericton West, and has put a great effort to win that seat. If Cardy is able to do what he did during the by-election, he could well take the riding, and due to his personal profile, if he does, he'll likely be able to hold on to it.

2 - Bev Harrison. Sitting MLA he was elected for the Tories in the last election. Running in Hampton, his success comes down to how many voters are willing to follow him in to his new party. With limited information, it is presumed he is doing alright in this aspect, and may manage to get re-elected.

3 - Gary Stackhouse. Running in Saint John Harbour, the riding once held by Weir, Stackhouse is known for being a radio host, not something to balk at. Due to a high personal profile and a strong riding to run in, there is a good chance that he could be elected in any multi-member NDP caucus.

4 - Kelly Lamrock. Like Bev as noted above, he is a former MLA; this time from the Liberals, and in fact, a former Cabinet minister. I would expect should the NDP elect members, Lamrock would be among them.

In the end the NDP is fighting an uphill battle against the traditional two-party dominance found in the atlantic. This election could be the start of a new breakthrough for them, or could be yet another heartache for supporters that sees no real movement.