Friday, March 25, 2011

Seats that changed hands

I will be regularly using the amazing data available at Pundits Guide when I look at election statistics.

Today I want to look at what is a realistic range for the number of seats to change hands in this election.

  • 2008 - 43 of 308 seats changed hands - 86% retained
  • 2006 - 55 seats changed hands - 82.1% retained
  • 2004 - 63 seats changed hands, though there was the addition of seven new ridings and redistribution of the ridings in the country, so the nature the election is one in which there would be more changes, though the creation of the Conservative party increased the number - 79.5% retained
  • 2000 32 of 301 seats changed hands - 89.4% retained

Floor crossings and by-elections change things as well, but in general the trend in the last four elections has been in a small band between 10% and 20% of seats changing hands.   This means we are looking at 48 +- 12 seats changing hands in this election.

The shifts in seats in the last four elections have been as follows:

  1. 2004 Liberals - 37
  2. 2006 Liberals -32
  3. 2008 Liberals -26
  4. 2006 Conservatives +25
  5. 2004 Conservatives +21
  6. 2008 Conservatives +19
  7. 2000 Liberals +17
  8. 2004 Bloc +16
  9. 2006 NDP +10
  10. 2000 NDP -8
  11. 2000 PC -8
  12. 2008 NDP +8
  13. 2000 Canadian Alliance +6
  14. 2000 Bloc -6
  15. 2004 NDP +6
  16. 2006 Bloc -3
  17. 2008 Bloc -2
The biggest parties have the biggest variations, which is not a surprise.   One thing I do see is how less volatile the Bloc is than the other parties.

The last three elections have seen the Liberals lose the most seats and the Conservatives and NDP gain seats in each election.

The 1993 and 1984 elections were out of the norm for Canadian elections because such a large number of seats changed hands, 38.7% in 1984 and 68.1% in 1993.

What this all says to me is that the realistic range of the parties in this election is quite narrow.   We have three realistic outcomes of the election - this is order of what I think is realistic
  • Another minority in which the Conservatives need one party to govern
  • A Conservative majority
  • A Conservative minority in which they need either the Bloc or Liberals to vote in favour to govern
For the Liberals to govern with the NDP we would need to see 41 seats go over to the two parties, which means realistically more than 20% of the seats have to change hands overall.
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