Thursday, November 26, 2015

Riding results with a preferential ballot

In my column for the CBC today, I looked at what impact a preferential ballot might have had on the 2015 federal election. Take a look at the full article.

The calculation was based on second choice polling data at the end of the campaign, which had been broken down to the region. So, with that information I was able to estimate which party a Conservative voter in British Columbia, for instance, would mark as his second choice. With that data, I was able to re-run the 2015 federal election in every riding.

Of course, this assumes that all else is equal, including how the campaigns would have unfolded. It also assumes that the regional-level second choice preferences apply in each riding, which of course would not always be the case. So a few assumptions have had to be made. But I think the exercise is nevertheless indicative of what impact a preferential ballot might have had, and what impact it would have in the future if the parties do not change their electoral strategies.

Since I ran this exercise down to the riding level and had the numbers on hand, I decided I might as well share the data with readers here. In the tables below, I've shown the results after going through the exercise. Blank results for a party mean it was dropped at an earlier ballot and its support redistributed to other parties. 




82 comments:

  1. Good analysis, but your article says "In all, the Liberals would have either placed first or lost on the final ballot in 76 per cent of ridings, compared with 45 per cent for the Conservatives and just 26 per cent for the New Democrats." That doesn't add up.

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    1. It should add up to 200%, not 100%, but only if every riding went to a final ballot. Not all did.

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    2. A matter of definition. In some ridings the first ballot was the last, or final, ballot. Sorry for the nit-pick.

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  2. Would the public accept has to be the BIG question ??

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    1. I can't imagine why they wouldn't. The public already accepts the FPTP results, which are no more proportional, and preferrential balloting by definition comes up with a result that the majority of people are satisfied with, even if it's not their first choice.

      Reassigning actual results is a pretty meaningless exercise, though, since the biggest impact from preferential balloting is on the first ballot. More support for smaller parties, and a complete elimination of strategic voting. You always know that if your first choice doesn't make the grade, your vote for your second choice still counts. Under the current system, many people put their single vote into their second choice because it's better than the alternative.

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    2. Really? The experience in France is that votes for smaller parties become almost meaningless as they don't form enough support to get even close to the 50% mark. Than interest plummets in the 2nd round as people either reluctantly compromise or not bother at all.

      This would turn Canada into a two party system(though one that would tilt to the left as a whole). The Liberals would become the centre left option with the Conservatives shifting towards where the old PC's were or maybe even left of that.

      I think this idea would be entirely dead in the water as lot's of people who didn't vote Liberal will easily see it as a cynical ploy for the LPC to retain power.

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    3. Agreed that small parties wouldn't really be players, since they'd largely disappear on the second round, but they would get more first round votes than they currently do.

      I think it's hard to see this sort of reform as a "cynical ploy," as you put it, when they told us that was what they were going to do before they were elected.

      My expectation would be under transferrable ballots that all parties would push more to middle-ground positions and reflect more differences of personality than differences in policy. It's not clear to me that we would have a CPC/LPC 2-party system, given that a majority of voters prefer either the LPC or NPD, and a much larger proportion of them reflect a willingness to support the other. I would expect the result to be a power rotating between the two left-of-centre parties. CPC would be relegated to permanent opposition, though usually the largest opposition party, and the LPC in particular would push further to the right in order to attract 2nd-choice voters from them.

      But when it comes to voter satisfaction, I think this would score quite high. The party elected would always be the first or second choice of a majority of voters, and the LPC pushing for 2nd choice of CPC voters would make them satisfactory to many moderate conservatives.

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    4. "I can't imagine why they wouldn't. The public already accepts the FPTP results, which are no more proportional, and preferrential balloting by definition comes up with a result that the majority of people are satisfied with, even if it's not their first choice."

      So by that argument, the majority voted for Quebec to separate in 1995? A majority voted to separate in 80 of 125 ridings in 1995, but that wasn't a majority of voters overall. There were only 2 options - so FPTP and a ranked ballot in single member ridings would have had the same results.

      That's what I think you and other supporters of a ranked ballot fail to understand - a majority of the vote in a majority of the ridings only guarantees the support of 25% of the public overall. And that's not only first preference support, but a combination of first, second, third, etc.

      Also, it most certainly does not eliminate strategic voting. Nor does it even guarantee majority support in each riding for each MP - we used this system in BC, Alberta and Manitoba, and barely half (50.1%) even bothered to rank anyone second. I'd suggest you and other supporters of such a system take the time to do your research before trying to tinker with our democracy. The Political Studies Association of the UK has a pretty good briefing paper on AV (the UK name for this system) which is very even handed and worth the read for people an both sides of the issue.

      DouglasEdward makes one of the best points here in my opinion though. A preferential ballot or a two round system in single member districts has been shown to create a very rigid two-bloc system. Australia, France, Louisiana - nowhere have these systems worked well.

      In fact, the formation of an opposition bloc is exactly what ended the use of ranked ballots in Alberta and Manitoba. When the political spectrum finally coalesced into opposition vs government, the use of ranked ballots stopped benefiting the government, and so the government abolished their use.

      Which makes it a very useless tool for keeping a government accountable, since governments can and would just revert to FPTP if the ranked ballot started to disadvantage them.

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    5. You're missing the point, Ryan - I don't think anyone who knows about it says AV will churn out a proportional vote, they just say its better than having someone win in a single riding with only 29% support and it also helps that its probably going to be wildly more acceptable than PR has been so far - at least its some sort of reform, and at least it has some advantages over the current system.

      Also, every system has created a two-bloc system everywhere, PR or no PR... that's just the nature of voters, concerns over that ring tremendously hollow.

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    6. The beauty of an IRV system is that if the public doesn't like it, they don't need to use the mechanism for "2nd votes" and thus it automatically reverts to a FPTP system. While it might not always be a majority, it does reveal the candidate/party with the broadest appeal/acceptance.

      The ability of the government to change the rules of the game needs to be restricted regardless of any type of reform, possibly a constitutional amendment so that the provinces need to agree to any fundamental changes.

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    7. Canada’s new Minister for Democratic Institutions, Maryam Monsef, was interviewed by Peter Mansbridge. He says "People want the system changed. How are you going to go about that?" She replies: "Yes, Canadians voted for real change, for a government that puts their needs ahead of the party's. A government that celebrates our diversity, and not takes a divisive approach. . . . I hope that Canadians will be proud of their politicians and their country because of the kind of work we do and the respectful manner that we go about it."

      “Sunny ways” will, I trust, include respect for Canada’s political pluralism and diversity. Maryam Monsef’s heart is in the right place, like many in caucus.

      Many Canadians who voted Liberal want assurance that never again will a Stephen Harper win 100% of the power with 39% of the votes. And never again will voters have to vote against something, or vote for a less-preferred candidate to block the election of one even less preferred.

      Only proportional representation respects Canada's political diversity, while the preferential ballot in single-member districts alone is nothing but a partisan scheme to favour the Liberals. I cannot believe most Liberal MPs will support it.

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    8. Look folks this whole discussion is about a party ensuring it will remain in power.
      So don't change FPTP as it is the only one that leaves real power with the public.

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    9. Wilf,

      Any form of PR only respect the diversity of political parties. PR produces fragmented legislatures and while there is some guarantee that more parties will be represented in the House of Commons, there is no assurance that diversity in gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, height, weight, income will occur. Indeed, since political parties will themselves hold more power under PR we may see diversity among M.P.s decline.

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  3. I don't understand the objective of electoral reform. I think the objective should be to choose an electoral system that produces the sorts of government we want, and all I see PR and transferrable votes doing is giving us a milquetoast government that appeals to no one in particular.

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    1. I'm curious about exactly what sort of government you thing "we," collectively, want. I think we can agree that Canadians will always have disagreements on what an ideal government looks like. Governments that accurately reflect these disagreements will by necessity never appeal to anyone in particular. The current electoral system expresses these disagreements as swings in how the government operates, so that the "in" group gets exactly what they want for a short period, and is then replaced by another "in" group that pulls the government in a different direction, again to the delight of their fans. Since governments don't turn on a dime, as long as political change happens every two or three elections, you end up with a middle-of-the-road operation that pleases no one in particular. (But have vast mood swings amongst which part of the electorate are happy and which ones are upset.)

      Electoral reform gives us an alternative. The two systems have very different outcomes though: PR gives us perpetual minorities, asking us to vote for our ideal result, and then having our ideal politicians hash out compromise positions that they can agree on. Transferrable ballots instead ask the electorate to come to a broad agreement on which politicians hit that middle of the road position, and then letting them run the government, likely as a majority. They produce much smaller swings in government policy, and, if successful, give most of the electorate a constant "I'm not thrilled, but I'm reasonably satisfied" feeling about their government.

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    2. The PR solution you propose should present constant gridlock, like we see in the US. Most people get the representative they want, but as a group those representatives can't get anything done.

      The transferable vote grants democratic legitimacy to the compromise candidate, allowing them to act as if people actually like them.

      That dissatisfaction FPTP gives us when the other guys win is an important part of our process. We should want that. That reminds us that we don't want the government making decisions for us all the time. This is much like how the GST was hated when it was introduced - it was hated because it was visible, and that hatred was a strength of the tax. The people should hate their taxes. And they should fear their government getting too comfortable.

      I'd much rather we devolved power to lower levels of government, giving smaller communities the chance to govern themselves as they saw fit without having to compromise with those from different communities.

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    3. I disagree with you that people should hate their taxes. Taxes are essential to government and society. It should be that people should hate excessive taxation, whatever that may mean in a certain situation.

      I can argue that taxation are prerequisite to a functioning government where government is dependent on people being productive and paying taxes to operate, and people care about their government because they want their taxes to be spent properly. The alternative is what we see in Middle East and Africa where governments rely on natural resources like Oil or Diamond, It creates the imbalance where goverment would kill its own people (less people to give resources to) and people don't care about their government because they have no taxes to pay and care. It leads to dysfunctional governments.

      When we complain about governments in developed countries, it is just marginal improvements and the problems pale in comparison to problems in other non-developed countries.

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    4. "The PR solution you propose should present constant gridlock, like we see in the US. Most people get the representative they want, but as a group those representatives can't get anything done."

      You should read up more on PR Ira. Change may be more incremental under PR, but it's also more lasting, since it isn't constantly getting reversed whenever a new government turns in.

      And lots of countries with PR have very productive and stable governments. People in Sweden, Germany, New Zealand and Ireland all live under very productive governments elected by proportional representation.

      You suggest PR countries are incapable of bringing in value added taxes like the GST that benefited society as a whole - but do you know what the GST rates in those countries are?

      Sweden - 25%. Germany - 19%. Ireland - 23%. New Zealand - 15%.

      If PR countries are incapable of implementing policies like the GST, how did they manage to implement them anyways?

      They managed to convince people across the political spectrum that value added taxes are a smart and efficient way to raise revenue. Mulroney didn't, but that's as much because Mulroney didn't have to try.

      Those countries have outperformed us on economic growth too - by an average of 1% per year. Your preference on electoral system is costing 1% of growth because it promotes policies that benefit a narrow section of swing voters rather than society as a whole. I'd like to stop giving that 1% away for nothing.

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    5. My preferred system would be a PR Senate and IRV House. The Senate portion would express the "outrage" of people that only tangentially support a party's platform. The House portion would change how our political parties work by expanding the target audience.

      I would say that the FPTP system works best in a two-party system, as a divided vote allows "the other side" to gain power with a minority of voter approval. As such, we lose parties that cater to specific groups, such as the differences between Reform and PC.

      In 2015, I voted Liberal, because they were the best placed alternative, but under IRV they might have been 3rd or 4th on my list: Libertarian, Green, NDP, LPC.

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    6. Germany manages to run efficient systems no matter what they do. Their healthcare system is a byzantine web of payments and refunds that wouldn't work anywhere else, but in Germany somehow it's excellent.

      I dispute that the governments of Sweden, New Zealand, or Ireland are particularly productive. I don't see them making significant changes over the past 30 years.

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    7. Regarding VATs, the special thing about the GST is that it's visible. European VATs tend to be hidden.

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    8. Ireland's government is pretty much a disaster but, 80 plus years after independence they are still trying to incorporate becoming separated from their largest trading partner into a modern economy. It is a good reminder to separatist Quebeckers that the financial, cultural, economic, linguistic and familial bonds are much harder to sever than political union and that the impacts of such a dissolution are long lasting often generational and come with a high cost. In the case of Ireland the economy grew very slowly from 1922-1991 and it took a paradigm shift- European Monetary Union for the economy to grow at more normalised European levels.

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    9. Nazar,

      You may wish to investigate what is sometimes dubbed "the curse of oil" an economic theory which stipulates countries with a high dependence on non-renewable resources tend to have lower economic growth and overall development.

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  4. Interesting, but the major shift from NDP to LPC in the last stage of the campaign can largely be ascribed to soft NDP voters deciding that voting LPC was the most certain way to give Harper the boot under FPTP.

    In a way these soft NDP supporters did their own preferential transfer of votes when they marked their ballots LPC.

    I would be interested in polls that asked 2015 voters which party would have been their first choice in a preferential system.

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    1. I completely agree. This system might have resulted in many more seats for the NDP last election, and maybe many elections in the future, with an real chance at a majority. If I were an NDP member, I'd be pushing for this system hard.

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  5. I think that during the campaign the "Preferential Results" moved from an NDP majority to a Liberal majority. The Conservatives have not done well for second choice for the past five years.

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    1. This is true. The NDP were very close to majority territory under a preferential ballot in single member ridings when the writ dropped. Just because Liberals prefer the NDP to the Tories and visa versa doesn't mean they want their second choice party to govern alone though.

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  6. The flaw in this analysis, of course, is that people's voting strategies would likely change if the ballot is preferential. There would be less fear of a vote being wasted, so there would be less incentive for the anti-Conservative voters to concentrate their vote with the Liberals, as they appear to have done (except maybe in BC). I would expect a boost for the NDP and Greens in an election with preferential ballots.

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    1. If people are already voting strategically though, that means less change from the introduction of a preferential ballot in single member ridings. So Eric's model is probably an overestimate.

      It's still useful though. It at least tells us the direction of change over all.

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    2. In Éric's defence, he did mention that.

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  7. Eric, in your tv presentation you also showed results for PR. In those you had 12 seats for the Greens. I take it that you presented the PR option as a straight result with no minimum % needed to achieve seats? Don't PR systems have a minimum threshold before winning seats?

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    1. They usually do. In this case, I set the threshold below the Greens (so, 3%).

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    2. If the threshold was province-by-province, and assuming the Green vote doubled once every vote counts as the Greens seem confident it will (and I agree), they would pass a 5% threshold in every province but Saskatchewan and Newfoundland (with only 14 MPs and 7 MPs they might need more than 5% there anyway), and Quebec where they got only 2.25%. But I expect they could pass 5% in Quebec too. So your projection is realistic in that sense.

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    3. Paul - the threshold is an optional and controversial part of some PR systems. They reduce the number of parties, so theoretically they add stability by making it easier to form coalitions.

      However, they reduce the very point of PR (making every vote count) and reintroduce strategic voting (why vote for a party that might not make the threshold?) The 5% threshold in Germany was thought necessary due to its prewar instability, but now that Germany is a stable democracy it seems strange that almost 15% of the votes got no representation in a supposedly "PR" system in 2013.

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    4. The Green Party would definately change their electoral strategy if there was a minimum national/provincial vote percent to gain seats. Under the FPTP system, they are concentrating on a getting a few ridings very high rather than "wasting" resources on votes that won't result in an electoral success.

      I think PR on a provincial level is better than the national level, although they give nearly the same results.

      National 134 LPC, 109 CPC, 67 NDP, 16 BQ, 12 Green
      Provincial (No floor, 2.3% vote in QC wins 2 seats & 6% vote in PEI wins none) 137 LPC, 108 CPC, 67 NDP, 16 BQ, 11 Green.

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    5. Even with Provincial PR the Green Party would still likely focus on only a few ridings. Why campaign in Prince George or Calgary that have low potential Green voters? Probably a more effective use of resources is to focus on areas more amenable to the Green's message and try and maximise your results in them.

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    6. PR on a provincial level would mean different thresholds for entry, basically all of the smaller seat provinces would be a write-off for the party, and they'd focus on BC, AB, ON, and QC.

      Looking at the 2015 AB results, the Green Party received 48,747 votes (enough for a seat depending on rounding conditions). Of these, 14,569 were in Calgary ridings, so ignoring Calgary would probably be a bad choice. The ideal strategy for small parties would be to cover urban areas and the cost of ignoring rural areas.

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  8. Thanks for posting this Eric. As a Liberal, I dearly hope that my fellow Liberals realize that just padding out our majority is not the Real Change people voted for.

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  9. I'm interested in the preference flow estimates you used. One of the pollsters published some second choice data which one correspondent sent to me as preference estimates, but I thought the data suggested too high a rate of voters preferencing..

    In Australian states that use optional preferential voting , roughly half of ballot papers exhaust their preferences before reaching one of the two final candidates, and this in a country with a century of use of preferential voting.

    In Australia it is unusual for more than 10% of contests to produce a different winner than would have been elected on first preference. The higher the rate of exhausted ballot papers,the fewer the number of contests where preferences would change a result.

    On the other side, Canada has many more seats where the simple majority winner had less than 35% which opens up more seats where preferences could have an impact.

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    1. A simple majority is 50%+1.

      You're referring to the winner of the plurality of votes.

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    2. 50% + 1 is an absolute majority A simple majority is often used to mean plurality.

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  10. Whenever this "proportional representation vs preferential ballots" discussion comes up in Canada I'm always amazed that everyone seems to assume preferential ballots have to be used in single-winner ridings. They do not. In fact, with multi-winner ridings and preferential ballots you can get closer to a proportional result the more seats you include in a riding.

    There's also the fact that these two systems are not mutually exclusive. You could have a mixed-member proportional (MMP) system that uses a preferential ballot. You vote for a party and rank the candidates in your local riding.

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    1. Ontario did not love an idea similar to MMP. I don't know why the country would be enamoured with it. Preferential ballots are a minor change but change enough. I have hope for Trudeau but not that much hope that he could get a majority of Canadians behind a complicated new system.

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    2. It's not really an assumption as much as a preference. If you dislike larger electoral districts then MMP and STV aren't appealing.

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    3. I don't think proportionality is valuable or even desirable. We're not running a national election. We're running hundreds of local elections.

      I wouldn't be opposed to different parts of the country using different methods to elect their representatives, but I think we need to remember that we're not electing a national government. We're electing local representatives who then form, all of them together, the national government.

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    4. These comments sort of validate my point which is that people would rather take sides than have an honest discussion about the fact that there are more options and variations on the options than everyone talks about.

      Here's to hoping the discussions by the folks with the power to make the change are more open and honest than the discussions that have been taking place thus far.

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    5. I'm not sold on a need for change. I want to know what they think the objective of a general election is.

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    6. In my opinion FPTP is in fact a preferential vote system !! You vote for your preferred candidate. If they don't win then your preferences are wrong, eh ?

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    7. @Ira,
      I'd agree with a mixed approach to the federal elections. However, the premise that we aren't electing a national government is not a requirement for our system. If we are changing how we elect our representatives, we can change what we are actually electing. Rather than local faces to national parties, we could have our say directly about the parties involved as well.

      @Jonathon,
      The issue with putting all the options and permutations on the table is that they make any consensus choice less viable. IRV isn't my ideal solution, but it is the one I believe is most viable for being implemented.

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  11. The analysis of the 2015 election is interesting, but not completely enlightening. In the highly polarized ABH environment, the first and second preferences of many voters were likely to be Liberal and NDP in either order, even amongst voters who actually wanted a Green MP. The polling question wasn't phrased in the context of preferential voting, so respondents would have replied with multiple lines of defence as opposed to what was in their hearts.

    For the same reason, the projected Green numbers under PR are artifically low. It was very clear during election-day Get Out The Vote calls that a massive amount of strategic voting by Greens was happening.

    What's the *real* Green level of support? We won't know unless and until we go to PR. Pollling respondents will think strategically until then.

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    1. With higher levels of Green support under PR, that would primarily come from LPC or NDP supporters, so the minority situation that is exemplified in Eric's analysis would just be more pronounced.

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  12. My guess, if there are had been this system in the last election, because the vote would have spread out more between the three left of center parties, the Conservatives would have been in the top 2 almost everywhere as opposed to to the about half this chart shows and the liberals in fewer. Therefore the final winner count would be changed.

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  13. I disagree with the idea that the Liberals are the huge beneficiaries with preferential balloting. Did you know that BC went to a preferential balloting system in 1952? And guess what, it totally backfired, and defied all predictions.

    The Liberals and Conservatives (the two main parties) did it to destroy the 3rd place NDP, thinking that their party supporters would put the other down as their second choice. What ended up happening is that voters voted strategically to keep the other main party from winning and to such a degree that the tiny socially conservative Social Credit party took everyone's second place votes in such high numbers that they formed the government!

    Think of it as if a party as small as the Greens in the polls ended up forming the government.

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    1. Actually, that's not what happened in 1952.

      Social Credit actually beat out both conservatives and liberals for the first round of votes. If the election had been FPTP, there would have been 21 CCF, 14 BCSCL, 9 LIB, and 3 PC, and 1 LBR. 7 seats changed during the counts, giving us 18 CCF, 19 BCSCL, 6 LIB, 4 PC, and 1 LBR.

      The conservatives and liberals actually did list each other as second place fairly consistently, but they also listed social credit as a third choice to keep out the CCF. The CCF listed social credit as a second choice, all of which gave social credit five extra seats, and in the end that made all the difference.

      So, not the scenario you describe is not quite what happened. However, the general point is true. Very dramatic things can happen with a different voting system and the results can easily defy all predictions.

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    2. Socreds formed the Government but, they only had 1 more seat (19) than the CCF (18) to the Coalition Government's 10 and one Labour. That is what we can probably expect with preferential voting-hung parliaments.

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    3. Capilano,

      That's seem an unwarranted extrapolation. What makes you think this would be a typical result?

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    4. Common sense Winston, common sense. Look at Ireland, Australia, The Australian state parliaments, New Zealand-any system that uses any type of PR will produce more hung parliaments than FPTP-that is the purpose of the system to ensure better representation of minor political groupings thereby creating a higher probability of no one party winning a majority.

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    5. Common sense Winston, Common sense. The purpose of IRV or preferrential voting is for the House to better reflect party performance. Consequently since, it is rare for one party to receive 50% of the popular vote in Canada occuring only twice out of 42 general elections or roughly 1/20 or a 5% probability. Therefore, It is not much of a guess to opine, that majority governments will become rare under IVR and indeed, if we compare with Eire, a country that uses IRV in multi member ridings we see that out of 31 general Elections since, independence only 8 have resulted in majority governments this equates to roughly 26%.

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    6. What you say is certainly true for proportional representation. But IRV isn't proportional representation. Parties can easily form a majority under IRV without a majority of the popular vote, see BC 1953. IRV doesn't really make the house reflect party performance.

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    7. Thanks, Winston Ewert, for the correction. I was going from memory of what I had read in the past, and evidently, my memory is not as good I think it is. I had forgotten that Libs and Cons voted Social Credit as their first choice.

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    8. Winston,

      If what you write is correct why doesn't it happen in Ireland? IRV usually produces small majorities in Australia but, since, one of the two major parties is itself a coalition, I would hesitate to call them "true majorities". Even when Labour wins in Oz support from Greens or others is often required either in the Senate or House. It is not impossible that IRV will produce majorities but, as I stated above it will become unlikely, just as it is in many Australian states and Eire.

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    9. Winnipeg General Striker,

      Ireland uses STV, or multi-member alternative vote. That is a hybrid between the preferential ballot and proportional representation. As far as I'm aware those advocating preferential ballot in Canada are supporting single member AV which isn't a proportional system. So, yes Ireland doesn't produce majorities, because they are in fact using proportional representation.


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    10. I'm not claiming that IRV won't the incidence of majorities, I was just objecting to drawing the conclusions based solely on the conclusion of the 1952 BC election.

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    11. IRV is proportional! if not in theory at least in practice-otherwise why have it? If it is the same as FPTP then why would you want change?

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    12. Why Winston when it is obvious that is the most probable outcome of such a change?

      We just have to look to our Australian cousins where a third of state legislative assemblies are run by minority governments. Juxtaposed against the 12 (Canada, the Yukon and 10 provinces) majority governments in Canada.

      IRV produces less majority governments than FPTP. As in Eire minority governments are likely to be the norm and so the 1952 example demonstrates a very probable scenario should such change occur for election to the House of Commons.

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    13. Winnipeg General Striker,

      No, IRV isn't proportional. It also isn't the same as FPTP.

      In a proportional system, a small party like the greens would win more seats. If they had 5% of the vote, they'd get 5% of the seats in parliament. But look at the greens in Australia. They got 8.7% of the votes, which would have gotten them 12 seats in a proportional system, but they got only 1.

      What IRV does compared to FPTP is eliminate the problem of vote splitting. So, for example, let's take the last Canadian election where it seems many NDP voters voted Liberal to keep out the conservatives. In a IRV election, they could have ranked the NDP candidate first, and the Liberal second. That way they can still support their favorite candidate, but still prevent their least favorite candidate from winning. But it doesn't really help small parties win seats as a proportional system would.

      So, IRV attempts to resolve some of the issues in FPTP without going to PR. That's why some people support it.

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    14. Vote splitting is a fallacy. How some people vote strategically has little impact on how others vote. If some people want to vote strategically fine but, there is little evidence such action does any good or even achieves the "vote splitter's" aims. Vote splitting is not a problem unless one has pre-determine favoured outcomes to future elections.

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    15. I will also point out the ASustralian system is based on state division therefore, The Greens would be awarded seats by state and your guesstimate of 12 seats is far too high. They would be lucky to win 1 seat per state.

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    16. What is the point of voting if one does not have a pre-determined favoured outcome(s) to elections? Vote splitting is the consequence of having more than one acceptable choice, but realizing none of those choices due to an alternative receiving a plurality of votes. Reform and PC merged as they had a plurality of votes between themselves in many ridings, but allowed the LPC to govern due to splitting the conservative vote. A similar statement could be made for the NDP/LPC during most or all of the Harper years, so both sides of the political spectrum have suffered the consequences. The issue is if we want a two-party system that swaps between conservatives and liberals or a multi-party system that allows for more representative government alternatives.

      The difference between IRV and FPTP is the choice to vote for your most favoured party (and more) or the choice to vote against your most hated party.

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    17. Winnipeg General Striker,

      At this point its clear you simply have no idea what you are talking about. You claim that IRV is proportional when it's not, and you claim that vote splitting is a fallacy, when its clearly affected multiple Canadian elections.

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    18. Winston,

      When has voting splitting effected a single Canadian election? Do you have any data or only anecdotal hearsay?

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  14. Why do the results for Calgary-Skyview only add up to 96%?

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    1. Probably a typo or a few points I forgot to distribute.

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    2. Four minor candidates got 4.5% between them.

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  15. Why would you use the term preferential ballot, when you obviously did IRV or AV? There are LOTs of ways to count a preferential ballot, please use proper terminology.

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  16. Many here see IRV as a cynical LPC ploy to retain power, but the main consequence is a reduction of CPC potential (under their current structure).

    The CPC has both stronger support amongst its base and less secondary support amongst other parties. On the other side of the fence, LPC/NDP/Green voters are more fluid, and the quantity of Liberal “first choices” will most likely go down under IRV, but they would most likely remain on the ballot.

    Thus IRV is a system of “everyone vs. the CPC” rather than resulting permanent LPC rule. Beyond which, it would fundamentally chance how our political parties pander to our needs.

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    1. Given that the CPC has stronger support among its base, and further given that its base seems to be at least 25% of Canadians, do we really want a political system that marginalizes them in perpetuity?

      The threat of a CPC victory does a lot of good for the country, even if they don't win. I would argue that the strong fiscal management of the 1990s was largely a result of the rise of the Reform Party in opposition.

      A political system that largely eliminates the possibility of a CPC victory is one that weakens us all, and creates an echo chamber that only reinforces itself.

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    2. Why would the CPC be marginalized in perpetuity? LPC voters are almost as likely to split right as split left, and the CPC just needs to shift back towards what the Reform Party said on transparent governance and what the PC Party said on social values. Unless they are going anti-immigration, comments like "old stock Canadians" will do more to marginalize the CPC than the political system.

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    3. I think Ira is saying a system that is disproportionately beneficial to a particular political party is bad for democracy.

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    4. Winipeg, that is the Conservatives choosing. They could easily come back to the rest of Canada, and could be the preferred second party by next election. That's up to them, and would certainly then negate the Liberal advantage.

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    5. Winston,

      You and your ilk think vote splitting a problem because you are prejudiced toward a certain centre-left outcome for all future elections. Since, you are opposed to any other outcome; a system whereby two popular centre-left parties split 60% of the electorate sometimes produces Centre-right government. You think vote splitting a problem because you favour a near dictatorship of the Liberal Party.

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    6. At the end of the day IRV will make it far more difficult for Canadians to change governments. This has been the experience in Australia and Eire. I think it a poor choice to increases the difficulty by which voters can enforce electoral change.

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