Thursday, May 12, 2011

Turnover to provincial coverage

In the coming days and weeks, ThreeHundredEight will be changing over to coverage of provincial elections. The graphic on the top of the page makes that clear. Mixed in with post-election analysis of the May 2nd federal election will be updates here and there to prepare the website for provincial coverage, with a few administrative changes thrown in as well.

Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador (in that order) will be having their provincial elections between October 3 and October 11. Saskatchewan will be having theirs on November 7. As provincial campaigns generally last a month, we should be in a campaign from the beginning of September until the vote in Saskatchewan, barring any surprises that may come from a province like British Columbia. But for all intents and purposes, the campaigns in these provinces are already under way.

The graphic on the top of the page will be covering the four provincial elections scheduled for October. Saskatchewan's projections will be kept in the right-hand column until the four October elections are completed.

Of course, ThreeHundredEight will also be keeping an eye on the provinces that are not having elections this year, as well as the federal scene. However, with the next federal election not scheduled until October 2015, I will not be maintaining federal projections. And once the five provincial elections are completed, ThreeHundredEight will turn to the elections likely to occur in 2012, such as that of Alberta and Quebec.

I have not yet developed any riding-level models for the five provinces having elections this year. I will work to complete them as soon as possible, using the same projection system that was used in this past federal elections (with a few tweaks here and there based on the new data from the federal campaign). In the meantime, I will keep the graphics up-to-date with the latest polls and a seat projection based on those polls, using the old-style abstract projection model.

The five elections this year should be interesting. Those in Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island are expected to be cakewalks for the governing parties, but this past federal election has demonstrated how things can change. Ontario and Manitoba should have some hotly contested elections, while the campaign in Saskatchewan will probably hand another majority to Premier Brad Wall.

Not all of these elections will be polled to any great extent. As far as I can tell, only one polling firm was active in the 2007 elections in PEI and Manitoba, but five were active in the Ontario campaign. So we should have a steady, but not overwhelming, stream of polls from each of the campaigns.

Suggestions, ideas, and comments are more than welcome as the site changes over to provincial coverage.