Friday, January 22, 2016

Breaking down Saskatchewan's elections

As I plug away at the projection models for Saskatchewan and Manitoba (the three-election system requires a little more work, since some effort at a rough transposition for elections before the last one has to be done), I thought I'd share some of the information I've tallied for the Saskatchewan model.

The model will be a regional one, with breakdowns for Regina, Saskatoon, and the 'rest of Saskatchewan', which is a sadly dismissive name for such a huge area of the province. These regions have been defined as any of the ridings with the name Regina or Saskatoon (or neither, in the case of the RoS), as these mostly align with the boundaries of each city.

Both Regina and Saskatoon have a riding or two that is partly outside and partly inside the city boundaries, but a quick glance at the map suggests that a large proportion of the population in these ridings is within the city limits. Locals may dissuade me of this notion if need be.

Because the model is a three-election system, I've had to calculate the electoral results in these three regions going back to 2003. So let's take a look at them, starting with the capital.

The last time the NDP won an election in Saskatchewan, in 2003, they dominated Regina. They took 56.8% of the vote, with the Saskatchewan Party capturing just 25.6%. The Liberals took 15.9%, finishing closer to the Sask Party than the Sask Party did to the NDP.

In 2007, however, the NDP lost a lot of its support to the Sask Party in Regina. The NDP fell to 47.5% as the Sask Party increased by about 10 points to 35.7%. The Liberals hardly budged, sliding to 13.9%, while the Greens went from just 1% in Regina in 2003 to 2.7%.

The NDP dropped again in 2011, but the Sask Party's big gain in the city (rising to 55.7%) was propelled by the disappearance of the Liberals from the scene — quite literally, as the party offered up just six candidates for the entire province. While the NDP did bleed some votes to the Sask Party, falling to 40.6% (and the Greens, who were up to 3.2%), the scale of Brad Wall's victory here was largely the product of the hole the Liberals left on the political landscape.

The most recent Mainstreet poll, which put the Sask Party at 49%, the NDP at 34%, the Greens at 10%, and the Liberals at 6% among decided voters, suggests that the two smaller parties are making up ground at the expense of the two larger ones. That's bad news for the New Democrats, who desperately need to return to Regina in force.

The NDP had also won Saskatchewan's largest city in 2003, but by a narrower margin than in Regina. The party took 47.8% of the vote, with the Sask Party at 29.5% and the Liberals not far behind at 21.6%.

But the NDP lost Saskatoon in 2007, falling to 41.7% against 42.8% for the Sask Party. Though that represented a steep drop for the NDP, the Sask Party made most of its gains off of the Liberals, who had fallen to just 12.8% in the city. The NDP's slide was also driven by a gain for the Greens, who went from 0.8% in 2003 to 2.3% in 2007 in Saskatoon.

The Sask Party won the city by a wide margin in 2011, as they gathered up most of the Liberal vote. The party took 58.2%, followed by the NDP at 37.5% (a smaller slide than in Regina). The Liberals captured just 1.4% of the vote, putting them behind the Greens, who had 2.9%.

The last Mainstreet poll gives the Sask Party 52% in Saskatoon, with the NDP at 37%, the Liberals at 5%, and the Greens at 2%. This would suggest that here the gains for the Liberals may draw votes away from the Sask Party, rather than the NDP.

The New Democrats narrowly held onto government in 2003 because they kept things competitive outside of Regina and Saskatoon, winning seats in the north (of course) but also the smaller cities of Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.

But the Sask Party still won the 'rest of Saskatchewan' with 47.6%, followed by the NDP at 39.4% and the Liberals at 10.9%.

With gains from both the Liberals and the NDP, the Sask Party dominated southern, rural Saskatchewan in 2007 with 59.6% of the vote, as the NDP dropped to 31.8% and the Liberals to 6.4%. The Greens, though, went from 0.3% to 1.7% in the region.

But while the NDP held on to a few seats in southern Saskatchewan outside of the two big cities in 2007, they were pushed out entirely in 2011. The Sask Party increased its vote to 69.7% as the NDP fell to 26.7% and the Liberals to just 0.4%. The Greens picked up a point, increasing to 2.7%.

In the Mainstreet poll, the Sask Party led in the region with 66%, with the NDP at 23%, the Liberals at 9%, and the Greens at 1%. The Liberal gain has come at the expense of both the NDP and Sask Party.

As the Liberals will be running a fuller slate this time around (their website lists 29 candidates), the party has the potential to complicate things for the other two parties. But there is no sign in the polls yet that any sort of upheaval is likely to give hope to the NDP or worry to the Sask Party.


  1. Saskatchewan people seem to like how Brad Wall runs the place. I can't say I disagree.

    It's is a shame that the NDP government elected in 2003, led by Lorne Calvert, doesn't get more credit for the economic strength of Saskatchewan over the past 10 years. I expect Calvert isn't thought of as a significant entry in Saskatchewan's economic and political history, but he should be.

    1. I just had to say, I really respect you Ira. It is really nice to read the opinions of someone who is Libertarian (and would be be considered by the tradition scale as right wing) that isn't partisan and clearly pays attention and thinks out their positions. I am sure there are a lot of people like you on both sides of the spectrum, but you mostly just see partisan and unthought out opinions online. Despite the fact I consider myself moderate (would likely be viewed as more left wing though. Socially libertarian but feel businesses should be strictly regulated) I think you have come to be one of the people online who's opinion I most respect and trust.

      Anyway, off topic, but I just wanted to say that.

    2. Thanks, Jared.

      I lack our optimism about people, however, so I don't think there are many people who think through their positions.

      Which is why I don't like government regulation. I think they'd mostly screw it up. Whenever we see the government regulate businesses, we get rampant cronyism.

      The government has coercive power, but the government is just people. I don't want other people to have coercive power over me, and I doubt others would like me to have coercive power over them.

    3. @Ira,

      I think I might be more cynical than you, but I do respect your overall position. I view cronyism as endemic, regardless of type of government or extent of regulations. The main difference is who benefits from the cronyism. The best that we can hope for is a government that is willing to bite the hand that feeds it, as Chretien did with party finance reform or Mulroney did with GST and the cod fishing moratorium. These decisions had immediate short-term negative effects for those directly involved, but long-term positive effects for the nation.

      We need government regulation of business, but we also need popular regulation of government. There is more to life than making money or retaining power.

    4. Define cronyism. I say this since cronyism by right wingers is defined as picking winners and losers, but cronyism in general means defending and supporting your special interests which should be banned.

      Politicians should be supporting us the taxpayers and building societies not based on debt and based on using the Bank of Canada for money creation.

      Social Credit used to talk about these issues but so does the Canadian Action party.

      People ignore real facts such as why did Canada have such low debts prior to 1974 and after WW2?

      Why was food bank use low in the early 80's?

      These questions should be known by every man, woman and child.

      Of course, nationalism is never easily supported. It is always deemed as Hitler even though those on the right say using that ends discussions.

      What we need are new parties, new ideas, and a serious opening up of the political oligarchy that we have now. What we have now is a state for the political class. This left-right nonsense does not even work anymore.

      Eric can attest to this. Of course, it is never put into light!

      I want polls which talk about how many Canadians even know that we have such thing as independents and small parties in this country?

      Where are those polls?

      How many Canadians even believe politicians?

      I want political awakening in Canada.

      These politicians do in fact want us to be sheep!

  2. The problem with Saskatchewan is people were duped by the Saskatchewan party. The NDP has always been the party of centrism and social justice. Don't forget it was that same NDP which had true reformers back in the 90's such as Roy Romanow and leading into the 2000's with Lorne Calvert. Without the NDP, health care would have been privatized.

    This Saskatchewan party was meant to be a coalition of liberals and conservatives, but in the end ended up as a party of populists and conservatives. I feel there has not been enough centrists dominating the party.

    I feel when you make it to a two party system in any jurisdiction the people lose out in the end.

    Oil and gas should never be the only industry just like green technologies for progressives. I have always felt that the main reason for oil and gas being so central to conservatives has to do because those are their donors. An economy should be diversified in many areas and there should never be going to oil and gas being central to building an economy, when manufacturing of many industries was the basis for building the middle class.

    This is why Saskatchewan residents are clearly drinking the conservative koolaid. Of course, the NDP and Liberals are the same by wanting to favour their select groups as well. This is what is wrong with mainstream politics.

    1. The definition of social justice is so fluid that nearly anyone could be said to be in favour of it. For a time, even the Fraser Institute claimed to promote social justice.

      What does it mean?

    2. A very good question. "social justice" seems to be synonymous with mob rule.

    3. Well the alternative to it is social conservative and you think they don't play on the worst elements in people, yet they make threats and claim to be all high and mighty. Who are you fooling bede? The fact is yes Ira all parties can claim to be progressive, but true progressives to me should be against neoliberalism meaning low interest rate environments, free trade, globalism, war and the status quo. I am not a socialist but a nationalist of the civic nationalist kind.

      We need serious reform to our politics. Those on here sick of mainstream politics should demand a return to democracy.

      There have been videos online showing how Trudeau started the process of allowing more partisanship in politics in 1971 with parties being more vocal and less about constituents, and it has gotten worse ever since.

      We need MP independence and a return to fact-based measures in parliaments and legislatures. Real debate has been lost and now anyone against the mainstream is labeled a kook and a trouble maker. We are not. There are 40% that do not vote on average in every province and federally.

    4. No John,

      The alternative is the rule of law.

  3. As a 48 year member of the Liberals in B.C., I have only observed Saskatchewan and other Liberals from far afield. I know that some Liberals crossed to form the Saskatchewan Party (as some Liberals here in BC crossed to Social Credit in 1975) but I thought the real undermining of the Liberal Party in Sask was the coalition with the NDP in the Calvert governments. Coalitions generally end up with the junior party disappearing. Perhaps if they can rebuild the Party, they can start on the road back for future elections.

    1. When was there a coalition government in SK?

    2. After the 1999 General election Lorne Calvert's NDP entered into a "coalition" with the Liberal party. I'm not sure if the Liberals received any cabinet seats but, I remember a deal was made whereby the Liberal leader became the Speaker of the House.

    3. Following 1999, NDP had a minority, governed with the semi-official help of the four remaining Liberal MLAs following the SaskParty merger, most of them then went over to the NDP - Buckley Belanger is one of them, still an MLA.

    4. Also, 1929, but I suspect that isn't what Paul was referring to.

    5. Sorry, that was Osika and Melenchuk that crossed the floor, Melenchuk was a minister and Osika was speaker. Belanger left an election earlier. I get my Liberal floor crossers mixed up.

      Sorry for the triple post, Eric.

  4. Mr. Grenier
    It's starting to like the Saskatchewan NDP will be wiped on April 4,2016m

  5. hmmm fascinating prognostications. here's hoping Greens make breakthrough


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