Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Projection: CPC 132, LPC 92, BQ 52, NDP 32

With the tweaks I've done to reflect voting day behaviour (which, as some of you have argued, also takes into account organizational strength), I thought I'd do a quick projection update.

I'm not going to compare it to the last projection in detail, as some of the changes are due to the tweaks I've done, rather than polling performance.

But, with the tweaks and the two most recent polls the Conservatives gain three seats and now have 132. Their seat gains come in British Columbia (where they now have 20), Ontario (where they now have 46) and the North (where they now have one).

The seats come from the Liberals in British Columbia and Ontario (where they now have seven and 45, respectively) and the New Democrats in the North (where they now have none).

With a combined 124 seats, that puts the Liberals and NDP out of the running for any sort of coalition.

As for the top line national numbers, the Conservatives are up a full point to 34.1% followed by the Liberals, who are up 0.7 points to 28.4%.

The NDP drops 0.5 points to 16.4% while the Greens drop from 10.5% to 8.9%.

At this point, the Conservatives look set to re-elect another minority government, though it will be weaker than the one they won in 2008. The Liberals gain 15 MPs and the Bloc gains four, so they also have something to play for in the next election, though obviously this result could be seen as a Liberal defeat. The NDP stands to lose the most among the opposition parties, but they would still be at a respectable 32 MPs, which would tie their current third-best result in their history.

47 comments:

  1. I disagree that a coalition is out of the question with 124 seats. Many countries have minority coalitions with support from other parties outside the coalition. I see no reason why the Libs/NDP can't form a coalition and have the Bloc support them on some legislation. I think with the Quebec sovereignty issue aside, the Bloc would have general agreement with a Lib/NDP government on policy matters.

    Canadians need to get over the fact the Bloc stands for sovereignty. They also want to help Quebec and can play a constructive role in Parliament, which I believe they've shown in the previous session.

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  2. Marc said: "Many countries have minority coalitions with support from other parties outside the coalition."

    Agreed, but can you name one such coalition which is wholly and utterly dependent on the support of a party's whose sole raison d'etre is to succeed from their country? There aren't any obvious candidates (you will note, for example, the unwillingness of the British Labour and Liberal parties to contemplate an alliance with the Scotish Nationalists in their last election).

    Canadians don't need to "get over the fact" that the Bloc stands for sovereignty. They're quite entitled to hold that fact against them (just as one can hold a particular policy that you don't like against any other party). I'd imagine that if there was a party whose principal policy was for "english" Canada to separate from Canada (or, more accurately, Quebec) Quebequers would, quite rightly, hold that fact against that party and any parties proposing to deal with them.

    I'd also suggest that, if Quebequers want to vote for a party to help Quebec, they might want to consider not voting for a party whose distinguishing feature is support for sovereignty. Such a party, inherently, will never have the influence outside of Quebec that a non-separatist party does.

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  3. Eric

    Have you any comment on Paul Well's assertion and data that shows an historic consistent 10% shift in results from Liberal to CPC in polling to actual results?

    Would the 10% shift (5% plus for CPC and 5% down for the the Liberals) be enough to give the CPC a majority under your seat model?

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  4. No, that doesn't even bump the Conservatives up to 36%, while the Liberals would still be at 27%.

    I'm assuming PW was talking about 10% and not ten points, because ten points would be wrong.

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  5. Marc

    I hope that you can get your message out that there are people that consider a Liberal/NDP AND Bloc coalition a viable alternative to forming a government.

    I am sure that will be a big part of the CPC stump speech during the election.

    As a CPC supporter I would want (demand) that the CPC support and work toward good legislation with a NDP/Liberal coalition should NDP plus Liberal seat count exceed a the CPC total.

    In fact I would recommend that the CPC be first in line supporting a Liberal government or a CPC/Liberal coalition (as we functionally have now)

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  6. OT: McGuinty Forced to back down.

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/cbc/100720/canada/canada_toronto_ontario_eco_fees691

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  7. He means points. CPC to 39% and Liberals to 22%.

    His "facts" show that this is the norm.

    Which means if the two parties are tied in voter support on the day a campaign begins, the Liberals should, as a rule of thumb, expect to be 10 points behind when people actually vote.

    Link is http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/07/17/pre-election-peaks-and-doldrums-or-a-lesson-for-alf/


    This version of the truth goes a long way to explain why the Liberals are avoiding an election at all costs that your numbers show them making a significant gain with a very realistic chance that Liberal+NDP might be > CPC and result in a Liberal PM.

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  8. http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/07/17/pre-election-peaks-and-doldrums-or-a-lesson-for-alf/

    link to Well statistical agruement

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  9. That's ridiculous, I've already shown that the difference between polling and election results is no where near 10 points.

    The Liberals and Tories weren't tied at 32% in the polls during the last election.

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  10. Ah, sorry, I see he is talking about pre-writ versus election.

    I'm not sure if Nanos's findings alone are really enough to come to a conclusion. We can use it to come to a conclusion for NANOS, I suppose...

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  11. Coyne posts a must read for Quebec Nationalists, and staunch Federalists alike.

    IMHO A most accurate view of Canadian history.

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  12. Eric,

    You may note that Well's argument is supported by the Lispop dataset that I posted the other day, which has pre-election polling data going back to 1962 (although its a bit of a hodgepodge of polling companies).

    The order of magnitude of this phenomenon isn't a great if you look only at the lispop numbers (I think it's, on average a 4 percentage point Liberal drop and a 1.7% Tory gain, as opposed to a 10% swing in the nanos numbers), but on the other hand, it's the phenonmenon is very strong. As Well's points out in one of his comments (way down at the bottom), the only time the Liberals did better in the election than the pre-writ polls would suggest was in 1993 (where the pre-writ polls were, arguably, tainted by Campbell mania) and 1974 (where, according to him, Trudeau ran the campaign of a lifetime, and gained 3%).

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  13. Nice job on the tweak BTW Eric. It worked out better then I thought it would.

    How exactly did you determine organizational strength? Whatever you did it seems to make your projection more believable.
    (at least according to that most sensitive political instrument... my guts)

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  14. Carl,

    Well, if that is the case it will come through in my projection as election day approaches.

    AJR79,

    I didn't determine organizational strength. Arguably, the difference in polling and electoral results is partly due to the GOTV system of each party. As the tweaks are based on the differences between polling and election results, it should take into account that GOTV system.

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  15. Carl the phenomena Wells is talking about is even more robust if you combine PC + Reform's share of the vote, which seems like a reasonable approach to me.

    But it doesn't show up in all elections, notably 2008.

    This goes a long way to explaining why, even with mediocre numbers like these, Harper is totally unafraid of going to an election and always uses that fact to walk all over the opposition.

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  16. I don't think he should be afraid, it is easier to get voters from 2008 to vote Conservative again than it will be for the Liberals to go out and get new votes.

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  17. Shadow,

    I agree, and I think the percentage numbers I gave above assume a merged PC/reform/alliance vote.

    In terms of whether Harper should be afraid of calling an election or not, I suspect what gives him comfort is that his party has significantly more organizational strength (money, members, volunteers) than the Grits and the fact that he's a vastly more experienced campaigner than the Liberal leader. While the observed over-performance of the Tories and underperformance of the Liberals is a "nice to know", its no guarantee.

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  18. Eric

    So would you consider your numbers used in the projection to be pre-writ?

    I know that there is a lot of weighting going on and your numbers are influenced by historic numbers but the bulk of them would be considered pre-writ ??

    If these can be considered pre-writ and the 5% shifts did occur (pretending that an election was called today) would the 39% CPC and 22% Liberal vote be a large CPC majority?

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  19. I guess you could consider them pre-writ, and, yes, I do think a 39% to 22% spread would mean a Conservative majority. I can't do any calculations with just top line numbers like that.

    Do I think the result will be 39% to 22%? No.

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  20. Carl we now know that the organization advantage has INCREASED relative to 2008 for the CPC.

    Fundraising was over reported by the Liberals last year which gave everyone, including folks like Volkov and Eric, the impression that things were turning around for the Liberals. (I was skeptical because I saw Tim Powers on tv being skeptical and that man knows his stuff).

    Over at Pundits Guide she has information on EDAs, the CPC's completely dominating in this type of fundraising too.

    And finally those court decisions about expensing the GST and allowing the in and out strategy.


    So I think its fair to expect a strong ballot box effect in the next election, at least equal to the 110% modifier from '08.

    So applying the historical trend modifier first and using the latest environics numbers we'd be looking at something like:

    40.37 CPC vs 27.72 Liberals

    and using AR:

    40.7 CPC vs 22.77 Liberals

    I think it would be a fairly reasonable conclusion to assume that if Harper called a fall election he could win a slim majority.

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  21. Actually, I can think of many examples. There have been several Spanish governments that depended on support from the Basque nationalists and/or the Catalan nationalists or the Canary island nationalists. The current Italian government under Berlusconi is a coalition with the Northern League which wants northern Italy to secede from Italy. Coalition negotiations are going on right now in Belgium which will almost certainly give the Flemish separatists a role in the government and in India, minority governments routinely make deals with a plethora of regionalist and ethnically based parties that want to secede from India. The only reason that the Scottish and Welsh nationalists didn't end up making a coalition deal in the UK was that the math just didn't add up and the LibDems ended up making a deal with the Tories so it became a moot point.

    "Agreed, but can you name one such coalition which is wholly and utterly dependent on the support of a party's whose sole raison d'etre is to succeed from their country? There aren't any obvious candidates (you will note, for example, the unwillingness of the British Labour and Liberal parties to contemplate an alliance with the Scotish Nationalists in their last election)."

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  22. I would be inclined to think the LPC's support is less firm than other parties'.

    Regarding this:
    http://www.wlu.ca/lispop/fedblog/?page_id=8

    I see the leader almost always losing ground. That is almost always the Liberals, and they almost always were boasting a much bigger proportion of the population to begin with.

    But I can't help but notice that there was no such effect in the last election or the 2004 election. Indeed, in those elections where the Liberals started under 40%, their record is pretty even for over/under.

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  23. Here's a fine piece of journalism by Aaron Wherry on his blog today.

    Judging from the comments, I'm not the only long-time Conservative to have never heard of Ray Novak. I find this extremely odd.

    He seems like quite an interesting piece of work. (in a goodish way)

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  24. Kevin,

    Are you reading the Lispop data right? How can you say the Liberals didn't drop in 2004 or 2008. In 2004, they started at 39 and ended at 37. In 2008 they started at 28 and ended at 26. By my, admitedly hurried, math that means they lost, on average, 2% points in each of those elections. And, of course, in 2006, they fell from 35% to 30%, making the average a 3% drop over the last three elections. It's true that the drops in 2004 and 2008 were less than the long-term average (about 4% since 1962), but they were still there.

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  25. Can you provide a link to the listpop data?

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  26. Y'know, looking at the Bloc's success I'm surprised we haven't seen a Bloc Alberta (Reform sort of was) yet or something like that for the Atlantic provinces. Right now the Bloc controls the HOC - if the Liberals or CPC want control they almost have to get the Bloc onside or the CPC has to scare the Liberals into not showing up.

    This really screams why we need electoral reform - some form of proportional representation - so that the Bloc (or something like it) controls no more than 10% of the HOC and has no shot at official opposition. Otherwise we will see more regional parties spring up in the future.

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  27. Shadow,

    If the Tories had got 40% of the vote to the Liberal's 22%, I think they would probably win more than a slim minority. Realistically, I wouldn't expect that.

    First, you can't combine Eric's adjustment for pre-election polling and election results and Paul's Well's adjustment for pre-write polling and election results. They're different ways of making the same correction for different polling data. You can use one or the other, but not both. Plus, I don't think Eric's observed "bump" for the Tories in 2008 is a sytematic one (note, it didn't apper in 2004 or 2006). The 2008 result was due to the incompetence of the Liberal compaign and the decision of many Liberal voters to sit on their hands. I don't think the Tories can count on that happening again.

    Second, while I think there's truth behind Well's observation that Liberal support drops between the pre-write period and the post-write period, I would expect that effect to be smaller now than it was when the Liberals were in their heyday. I mean, when the Liberals were sitting at 45-50% as they were in the 60's and 70's, it're reasonable to expect that that would include a fairly large number of "soft" Liberal supporters who might be pealed off during the course of an election campaign. When the Liberals are sitting at 25-27% in the polls, you might expect that that soft Liberal support has already gone (since, "soft" supporters would be the ones you'd expect to abandon the party first).

    Certainly, in the past, you'll note that the size of the drop-off in Liberal support is smaller when Liberal pre-writ polling numbers are lower. For example, the average drop in Liberal support from pre-writ polling for those 8 elections when Liberal pre-writ polling support were lowest ('72, '74, '79, '88, '93, '04, '06, and '08) is less than half a percent. Moreover, even if you exclude '93 as an anomaly (as you probably should), the average drop in Liberal support is still less than 2 percentage points for the remaining 7 elections (about 1.6-1.7%). Given that the Liberals are currently at all-time lows, I wouldn't expect a drop to me any more than that.

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  28. Eric,

    Kevin posted the link to the Lispop dataset.

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  29. John,

    The Bloc has had electoral success, but it's debatable whether they've been politically successful, precisely because they are a pariah in the rest of the country (which is what you might expect for a regional or separatist party). They get seats, but they don't get real influence.

    In contrast, while there may be no Bloc Alberta, you know that Alberta's concerns are getting aired in cabinet meetings.

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  30. The census scandal is expanding support for Harper well outside his base.

    49% think it is a good idea to make the long form voluntary including:

    56 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 say it's a good decision to make the long form voluntary

    and

    Quebecers showed the strongest support for abolishing the long-form census in 2011, with 62 per cent saying the move is "good," the poll suggested.

    There should CPC votes being won on this and Liberal/NDP votes being lost as there are obviously a significant portion of people who vote against CPC who think it is a good move.

    It should really be scary for Liberals that the population is approving of this solidly CPC move... It will give the centrist undecided pause to think and an example of Harper doing a good job.

    If Harper can define it as Government versus bureaucrats it could be a major win for him.

    The press, elites, NGOs, public servants and special interests groups are on the wrong side of this issue a la Meech Lake.


    link: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/canada/consensus+census+debate+Poll/3302580/story.html#ixzz0uKOPob2R

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  31. Bloc no influence? Then why is Quebec now recognized as a nation within Canada (costing my local MP his cabinet seat in the process)? Why did Quebec see so many goodies sent their way pre-2008 election? Why do they keep voting them back in?

    Simple - the Bloc has been very, very effective at keeping Quebec high on the minds of the CPC as the CPC knows they need to get one of 3 parties to vote with them and the Bloc has done so quite often.

    As a reminder...
    2006 & 2007: budget passes thanks to Bloc support (NDP/Liberals vote against)
    2008 & 2009: Liberals support it

    Huh. Guess the CPC was in an alliance with the Bloc in their first term in all but name.

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  32. John,

    Why did Quebec do well under the Conservatives pre-2008? It wasn't because of the Bloc, it was because the Conservatives thought (reasonably at the time) that they could pick up a ton of seats from the Bloc. That's why the 2006, 2007 budgets were favourable to Quebec (and why the Bloc couldn't vote against them). And for the record, the NDP and Liberals didn't vote against the 2006 Budget. The Tories were trying to win seats in Quebec on their own account, not trying to gain the support of the Bloc - that simply happened because the Bloc couldn't vote against Quebec friendly policies.

    In 2008 Quebec voters squashed that notion, and since then, the Conservatives have been far less willing to cave to Quebec's demands (even though the Bloc has just as many seats as it used to). The Quebec-friendlyness of the first Harper government was a function of Tory strategy, not Bloc influence. And we see that from the decline in Quebec's pull in Ottawa when Tory policy changed post-2008.

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  33. Carl a few points.

    1) Well's adjustment and ballot box effect are NOT the same effect.

    The first concerns people tuning into politics, having choices, and polarizing along the platforms instead of just telling a pollster "Liberal" because its the safe, middle of the road party.

    The ballot box effect concerns things like GOTV, candidate strength, and any shy voter effects left over from the first.

    Proper way to determine this is:

    Pre writ polls -> Post writ polls -> Election day results.

    So yes the correct way to add it would be current results + Well's adjustment X ballot box %.

    (I take your point that the figures we've seen bouncing around for the magnitude of Well's adjustment are being calculated incorrectly and include a ballot box effect.)

    2) Why was there a ballot box in 2008 but not 2004, 2006 ?

    Simple. The CPC were not the government so they had less incumbency advantages (voters going with the devil they know on election day). The Liberals still had reasonable fundraising in those days too. And the CPC's electoral infrastructure was still in its infancy where as the Big Red Machine hadn't yet lost its wheels.

    Any examination of the CPC organizations relative to 2004, 2006, or 2008 would show that the 201? situation will be more like 2008 than the former years.

    3) Remember this is all based on polling. If the effect didn't appear one year its possible the polls were wrong as opposed to the effect not existing.

    Also one day the effect should dissapear as Canadian polling becomes more like American polling and invents likely voter screens based on a serious study of turnout and voter behaviour.

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  34. Shadow,

    I don't disagree that they're not the same thing, but they're adjusting for the same thing using different data (i.e., the difference between different sets of polling data and election results), that's why you should adjust for both of them.

    It's hard to say conclusively that the Tories "bump" in 2008 was due to organizational advantage given (a) that the Liberal campaign was a disaster (far more so than 2004 or 2006) and (b) it isn't clear that the Tory organizational advantage was greater in 2008.

    Yes, they were the incumbent in 2008 and had a significant advantage in terms of financing and party membership over the Liberals in 2004 and 2006. Then again, the Tories had a significant edge in financing over the Liberals in 2004, 2005 and 2006 as well (though, granted, the order of magnitude was 2 to 1, rather than 3 to 1 or 4 to 1, and the Grits were entitled to greater public subsidies) and probably in terms of members and volunteers as well.

    More to the point, even assuming you're right that Tory organizational strength was materially greater in 2008 than in previous years, you're assuming that that explains the "bump" in Tory support. But that's not obvious from the facts. Remember, the Tory vote didn't go up in 2008. They got a bigger share of the vote, yes, but the number of voters fell. If organizational strength was the explanation for Tory success, you might have thought that they would have done better in terms of voters than they did in 2006(on your assumption that they had a stronger organization). The more likely explanation for the Tory "bump" in 2008 was that lots of Liberal voters were disgusted by their party's performance and stayed home. That drove up Tory support and drove down Liberal support. The Tories can't count on that phenomenon being repeated (though Iggy seems to be doing his damndest).

    In any event, I'd be awfully reluctant to draw any conclusions about Tory organizational strength (or the effect that it has on election results) based on one data point, particularly since there are other equally plausible explanations for the bump.

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  35. Also one day the effect should disappear as Canadian polling becomes more like American polling and invents likely voter screens based on a serious study of turnout and voter behavior

    As the intelligence and technology already exist and it is simply a matter of costs would not these sorts of polls be already being done by at least the CPC and maybe the Liberals and NDP.

    The internal pollsters for Martin are his only obvious tie to adscam and the increase in $ going to Harper's internal government polling is a good indicator that the parties have access to better polling info than the the public.

    They would have to be done during an election campaign where millions are spent to direct the resources to where there will be maximum impact and benefit.

    You would think that the CBC with unlimited funding would be able to fund US style pollsters.

    The fact that Eric and this site is the best source for converting popular polling into seat counts says a lot about the state and degree of professionalism of Canadian polling.

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  36. Carl i'm not inventing the impact of superior organization on performance, its generally accepted to matter based on academic review of countless elections.

    The only real debate is the size of the effect.

    So not looking at 2004, 2006, and 2008 in terms of organizational strength would be careless.

    Its not an assumption that CPC organizational strength is materially greater today than it was in previous elections and that Liberal support is materially weaker. Objective data points (central party fundraising, strength of EDA's, number of incumbents) and anecdotal evidence provided by pundits almost universally suggests that in each passing election from 2004 to 2006 to 2008 that the CPC has increased in strength and the Liberals have decreased in strength.

    "If organizational strength was the explanation for Tory success, you might have thought that they would have done better in terms of voters than they did in 2006"

    Election fatigue was widespead in 2008. All parties fell in voters (except Greens). However, the Tories had the smallest decline in their share of the vote of all the other parties. That would seem to indicate that their GOTV was the most effective.

    (Or they had the highest base intensity, which is linked to organizational advantage by volunteers/small donors. While not technically an organizational issue it is cultivated by organization through microtargeting/narrowcasting and for the purposes of our discussion would fit into the ballot box effect.)

    "The more likely explanation for the Tory "bump" in 2008 was that lots of Liberal voters were disgusted by their party's performance and stayed home."

    How would Liberals know they were doing poorly before election results were published? Remember we're discussing the ballot box effect here, not the general decline in Liberal support throughout the campaign because of disgust over the Green Shift.

    And remember BQ and NDP voter stayed home too, although to a lesser degree, even though they were running good campaigns and making breakthroughs.

    Liberals staying home on election day can be explained better by a lack of contact via direct mail, phone banks, or volunteers knocking on doors.

    Identifying your voters, making repeated contact with them, and motivating them to turn out is the job of your organization. If anyone stayed home its an organizational issue.

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  37. Carl i'm not inventing the impact of superior organization on performance, its generally accepted to matter based on academic review of countless elections.

    The only real debate is the size of the effect.

    So not looking at 2004, 2006, and 2008 in terms of organizational strength would be careless.

    Its not an assumption that CPC organizational strength is materially greater today than it was in previous elections and that Liberal support is materially weaker. Objective data points (central party fundraising, strength of EDA's, number of incumbents) and anecdotal evidence provided by pundits almost universally suggests that in each passing election from 2004 to 2006 to 2008 that the CPC has increased in strength and the Liberals have decreased in strength.

    "If organizational strength was the explanation for Tory success, you might have thought that they would have done better in terms of voters than they did in 2006"

    Election fatigue was widespead in 2008. All parties fell in voters (except Greens). However, the Tories had the smallest decline in their share of the vote of all the other parties. That would seem to indicate that their GOTV was the most effective.

    (Or they had the highest base intensity, which is linked to organizational advantage by volunteers/small donors. While not technically an organizational issue it is cultivated by organization through microtargeting/narrowcasting and for the purposes of our discussion would fit into the ballot box effect.)

    "The more likely explanation for the Tory "bump" in 2008 was that lots of Liberal voters were disgusted by their party's performance and stayed home."

    How would Liberals know they were doing poorly before election results were published? Remember we're discussing the ballot box effect here, not the general decline in Liberal support throughout the campaign because of disgust over the Green Shift.

    And remember BQ and NDP voter stayed home too, although to a lesser degree, even though they were running good campaigns and making breakthroughs.

    Liberals staying home on election day can be explained better by a lack of contact via direct mail, phone banks, or volunteers knocking on doors.

    Identifying your voters, making repeated contact with them, and motivating them to turn out is the job of your organization. If anyone stayed home its an organizational issue.

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  38. Shadow: "How would Liberals know they were doing poorly before election results were published?"

    Are you serious? Are you telling me, on October 13, you didn't realize that the Liberal campaign was a disaster and that Dion was incompetent, and that the likely outcome was a hefty Tory minority. Because you'd be the only one. It's not at all hard to believe that Liberal voters said, "f-this, my vote isn't making a difference and, in any event, I'm not wasting my time voting for these goofs." Organization or no, you can't get people to vote for a train wreck.

    In any event, I don't understand your point. You're saying (1) orghanization is essential to turn-out and (2)the Tory organization in 2008 was materially better than in 2006 and (3) tory votes fell. There's a problem there.

    Shadow said: "And remember BQ and NDP voter stayed home too, although to a lesser degree, even though they were running good campaigns and making breakthroughs."

    Again, not sure what to make of that fact, except it suggests that good organization apparently doesn't translate into turnout (since, at least within the ridings where they get their votes, the NDP and Bloc are damn well organized and have the advantage of being able to focus their efforts). And note, in the case of the NDP, some of their decline in vote was probably not attributable to low turnout amongst their supporters, but increased support for the Greens (who likely sucked off a disproportionate number of voters from the NDP, though they probably also sucked off voters from all parties to some degree or another).

    In any event, there's no doubt that the Tories have a stronger organization than the Grits (and, at least on the membership and funding side), it's not obvious that the Grits have done much to remedy that result. But I think you're giving Tory organization in 2008 too much credit and not giving the Liberals sufficient credit for muffing their campaign.

    And certainly, I wouldn't be expecting the Liberals to do as badly in 2010 or 2011 (at least in terms of running a campaign) as they did last time. That would be a significant accomplishment.

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  39. Carl we're talking about ballot box effect here.

    Yes Liberals kenw well ahead of election day that the Liberal campaign was a trainwreck.

    In fact they knew it so far ahead of time that it should have been baked into the polling data already.

    The point is the extra drop from the last polls conducted to election day.

    "Organization or no, you can't get people to vote for a train wreck."

    Tell that to people who vote for small parties that never form government like the Greens, NDP, Reform, Alliance. And all the Liberals who still turned out to vote in 2008.

    I'm not saying morale doesn't matter. But if people are hesitant to vote then its the campaigns job to motivate them.

    A truly sophistiacted organization knows how voters are feeling and is at the level of awareness that they are offering rides to supporters from nursing homes !

    "You're saying (1) orghanization is essential to turn-out and (2)the Tory organization in 2008 was materially better than in 2006 and (3) tory votes fell. There's a problem there."

    No there isn't. Because you left out a factor I identified which was greater in 2008 than in 2006 - voter fatigue.

    The party with the most advanced organization experienced the least drop in its share of votes. If you think that's just a coincidence there's a problem there.

    "But I think you're giving Tory organization in 2008 too much credit and not giving the Liberals sufficient credit for muffing their campaign."

    We're talking about a 110% ballot box modifier for the CPC and a 93% modifier for the Liberals. That's not too large of an effect by any means. Its two or three points which is what political operatives will tell you is the effect your "machine" has on the results.

    "And certainly, I wouldn't be expecting the Liberals to do as badly in 2010 or 2011"

    Really ? Remember its about relative positions. The financial gap has widened.

    Ignatieff's political management has been WORSE than Dion's: witness the Newfoundland 7, the abortion vote, candidates criticizing him, Bob Rae undermining him, and the Quebec team's blow up.

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  40. "And certainly, I wouldn't be expecting the Liberals to do as badly in 2010 or 2011"

    Shadow said: Remember its about relative positions. The financial gap has widened.

    That simply isn't correct. The Tories didn't raise much more in 2009 than they did in 2007 (they raised less than in 2008, but that's an election year so that's not a fair comparison), while the Grits raised twice as much in 2009 as they did in 2007 (though, in fairness, that number should be discounted as a portion of that included their "leadership" convention fees which were offset by corresponding convention costs).

    Moreover, if you look at liberal fundraising over the second half of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, and compare it to the similar period in 2007 and early 2008 (which would avoid distortions caused by elections and conventions), the Grits are doing significantly better.

    Granted, some of that additional revenue will only offset the decline in their subsidy as a result of the beating they took in 2008, but the increased revenue reflects, to a certain degree, a revived liberal party organization

    Shadow: "Ignatieff's political management has been WORSE than Dion's: witness the Newfoundland 7, the abortion vote, candidates criticizing him, Bob Rae undermining him, and the Quebec team's blow up."

    There's no doubt that Iggy has had some rough patches, and I have my doubts about his political instincts. Then again, he's a far less experienced politician than Dion so it's not clear to what degree this reflects Iggy's own incompetence or his inexperience. On the other hand, he can speak english fluently (and important consideration when you're largely fighting for Anglophone dominated ridings), which Dion couldn't. He appears to have surrounded himself with a higher calibre of advisors since last fall. And, unlike Dion, he doesn't seem to be trying to do everything himself. In any event, even an inexperienced and clumsy leader you shouldn't assume that the worst case scenario will be repeated.

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  41. Carl the situation is far more complex than looking at yearly fundraising. Instead compare 2007's and 2009's LPC return:

    http://www.elections.ca/fin/rep/2007/liberal_2007.pdf

    Net Assets = 2.8 million

    http://www.elections.ca/fin/rep/2009/liberal_2009.pdf

    Net Assets = 3 million

    Losing 2 million in subsidies a year is brutal, as well as spending millions on Narnia ads that had no effect.

    Obviously Dion had much of '08 to stockpile cash, just as Ignatieff has had '10 (although his Q1 10 returns are down from Q1 09.)

    In the '08 election the Liberals spent 14 million. The CPC maxed out at 20 million.

    A court ruling on financing the GST/HST has increased those limits by about 1 million. That would seem to obliterate the paltry .2 million increase in the Liberal's positions from '07 to '09.

    The CPC's proven fundraising will allow it to max out again because it'll have an endless supply of bank loans if needed.

    They'll also be in a position to do a pre-election ad blitz, something the Liberals can't afford.

    I'll admit that .8 million is only a marginal increase in financial position. The point generally should be that the Liberals have NOT CLOSED THE GAP.

    Note - this is just fundraising, the CPC also has a greater incumbency advantage which strengthens their organization.

    "In any event, even an inexperienced and clumsy leader you shouldn't assume that the worst case scenario will be repeated."

    If Ignatieff is a better campaigner this will be reflected in the post-writ polls. This would be the Well's adjustment.

    Not the ballot box adjustment we're discussing which is based primarily around GOTV activities.

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  42. I'm not sure why the net assets of the Liberal party are a relevant measure of party strength. After all, the net assets of the Conservative Party fell significantly from 2007 to 2008 (from $4.8 million to a deficit of $1.3 million) and has not recovered in 2009 (when their net assets were only $400k). By that measure, the Liberal party was financially stronger than the Tories in 2007 and 2008, and is stronger than the Tories in 2009, which is plainly nonsense.

    Revenue is the bettter measure of party's financial strength, since it reflects not only a party's ability to finance current expenditures but also the ability of the party to borrow against expected future revenues. And on that measure, the gap has clearly narrowed between the parties. Let's take a look at the elections Canada financial statements you referred to above, shall we?

    In 2007, the Tories had revenues of $30 million. In 2009, the Tories had revenues of $29.1 million. In contrast, in 2007, the Grits had revenues of $12.7 million, while in 2009 they had revenues of $19.9 million. Even if you cut out the $1.1 million in convention fee revenue in 2009 as being a one-off source of revenue for the Grits (and one that was presumably offset by higher expenses), they've have increased their fundraising by 50%, while the Tories have stagnated. In my book, that's a significantly narrower gap in financial ability.

    " If Ignatieff is a better campaigner this will be reflected in the post-writ polls. This would be the Well's adjustment."

    That's not right. Well's ajustment is for pre-writ polls and doesn't take into account election campaign activity. His adjustment reflects a tendency for Canadian voters to "park" their votes with the Grits between elections, but not to actually vote for them. If Iggy is a good campaigner, that should be reflected in the ballot box adjustment since, all else being equal, an inspiring leader is more likely to get his supporters out to vote, no?

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  43. Carl net assets are relevent because it shows how much cash is on hand.

    If the Liberals raised a bunch of money and then blew it its silly to say their strength has increased.

    The CPC's net assets are irrelevent. They have a huge donor base and a proven trackrecord of fundraising that would let them take out the maximum in campaign spending via loans.

    Could the same be said for the Liberals ? Maybe. They're at a -.8 million relative position but perhaps their increased donor bsse/fundraising would allow them to secure more loans ?

    Except the threat of cutting off the public subsidy has scared away financing, since estimates on a future subsidy are no longer secure. Additionally there's an expensive leadership race on the way that will tap out donors.

    "His adjustment reflects a tendency for Canadian voters to "park" their votes with the Grits between elections, but not to actually vote for them."

    Well no, I wouldn't phrase it that way because he specifically mentions the gap widening when a possible election approaches, not nessecarily just comparing pre-writ to election day results.

    "If Iggy is a good campaigner, that should be reflected in the ballot box adjustment"

    No I was wrong. It shouldn't be reflected in either Well's rule or the ballot box adjustment.

    It should be reflected in the poll movement during the campaign which is independent of both factors.

    Campaigns do matter, after all.

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  44. Shadow.

    Let me get your position straight. Net assets matter - for the Liberal party, but not for the Tories. That's a logically inconsistent statement, mind you, which is neccesary only because the Tories have far fewer net assets than the Liberals.

    And why don't net assets matter for the Tories,well, because they can raise money and borrow agains it. Ok, but that logic applies equally to the Liberals. Can't they raise money and borrow against that as well.

    All you're really saying is that revenue is the key indicator of financial strength - which was my point. And, as I noted, the gap between the Tories and the Liberals on that front has narrowed significantly since 2007, despite a relative decline in vote subsidies (on contrast to the Tories, who saw their revenue fall despite an increase in vote subsidies).


    As for the point about Iggy running a good campaing, why wouldn't the effect turn-up in both the election period polling and at the ballot box. A good campaigner will increase both the support among the population as a whole (reflected during election period polling) and increase the likelihood that his or her supporters are actually going to bother to vote (reflected in the ballot box). It's not an either or proposition.

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  45. Carl you have my position perfectly right.

    The Liberals and CPC are in asymmetric positions. Just as the Greens, NDP, and BQ have a unique set of circumstances that impact their finances differently.

    Parties in government, parties with the largest number of incumbents, parties who recieved the most rebates, parties who have the most money stuffed away in EDA's, parties with a long term proven trackrecord of fundraising - ie. the CPC - are going to max out their spending in the next election.

    My understanding is that the CPC already has all their financing and election assets secured. Liberals not so much.

    So we know the CPC spending will equal the 21 million or so spending limit.

    The question of relative advantage then is where will the Liberals be ? Can they exceed the 14 million out of 20 million they spent last time ?

    For a number of reasons I identified that's unlikely. They only have .2 million in new cash on hand, spending limits have increased by 1 million, public subsidies are no longer secure collateral for a loan, they have fewer incumbents, almost no chance of forming a stable government, have an expensive leadership race on the horizon, are going back down in fundraising in 2010 compared to 2009, and they will likely have to pay back the GST/HST from the 2008 election which will further reduce their net assets by about $700,000.

    "All you're really saying is that revenue is the key indicator of financial strength - which was my point."

    No. My entire point is that SPENDING also matters. And a host of other factors identified above that have changed since 2008.

    "A good campaigner will ... increase the likelihood that his or her supporters are actually going to bother to vote"

    I was hesitant to endorse this line of thinking because the effect a campaign would have on base intensity seems marginal to me. I'm sure you're right in that it exists to some degree. I just question whether the effect is great enough to really matter at all.

    The base is usually more politically aware, more dedicated, and already knows most everything there is about the leader. Elections don't really tell them anything new or influence them a great deal.

    Most movement during an election is around soft support, people just tuning in who can be won over by many parties.

    Identifying and cultivating a base takes years. Getting them fired up and ready to go (to borrow a phrase) requires knowing who they are and then targeting them.

    Sure the leader can be deployed to certain areas to shore up enthusiasm. But this again seems more of a function of organization than the leader himself.

    Without awareness on the ground all the leader would be doing is blindly appealing for voters to turn out on election day and vote for him.

    But isn't that what they all do anyways ?

    Organization seems key here in determing the ballot box effect. Its not like Ignatieff, Harper, Dion, or any of our political players are all that inspiring in their own right.

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