Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Reality Check on the NDP

The NDP is going to win a lot more seats on Monday than anyone though was possible before this election.   The NDP is going to elect people that were only there as paper candidates.   The NDP was far from a serious national party before this election.   Here is one measure of far they were from a serious threat in the last five elections.

Rebates are the number of candidates that managed to get more than 10% of the vote and qualify for rebate of some of their expenses.   >75% is the number of candidates that spent more 75% of the spending limit, >50% is the same for 50%

Election Rebates >75% >50%
2008        243   35   66
2006        214   34   61
2004        195   23   54
2000         57   28   43
1997         87   43   75

What you can see here is the huge boost in the number of New Democrats that break 10% after Jack Layton but the number of candidates that are spending serious money to get elected is still limited and in fact not much up from the bleak years.

The spending numbers show me how many serious campaigns a party is running.   If you do not even spend half of what you are allowed, you do not really expect to win or even do well.

This data says to me that the NDP only thinks that there were about 60-70 ridings in which they had any serious chance.   In fact the number of Bloc candidates spending more than 75% or more than 50% is not much smaller than the NDP.  

In 2008 and 2006 only the Conservatives had more than 155 candidates spend more than 75% of the limit.  In 2004, 2000 and 1997 only the Liberals had achieved the same.  You will see that the party won each election was the only one to have more than half their candidates spend more than 75% of the limit.

Looking at the NDP in Quebec

Election Rebates >75% >50%
2008        50     3    5
2006         8     0    0 
2004         5     0    0
2000         0     0    0
1997         0     0    0


You can see that 2008 is the first election in which the NDP had any presence in Quebec and then only a handful of serious campaigns.  I suspect the NDP went into this election only expecting to run the same number of serious campaigns in Quebec but are now stuck scrambling trying to figure out how to suddenly run many more campaigns.   You really need a three month lead time to have any decently well organized campaign, two weeks is almost not worth the effort.   


One impact of this data is that the NDP is only set up to get the vote out in about 70 ridings in the whole country.   The Bloc will have E-Day campaigns in 50 or ridings in Quebec.   The Conservatives will have 250 or so E-Day campaigns nationwide and 30 of them in Quebec.  The Conservative E-Day campaigns go far enough that I was asked to work on one in my riding in which the Conservative candidate has no real hope at all, it would only go Harper in a 1984 Mulroney style landslide, which is the last time the right won Victoria.


What these numbers mean is that the NDP will have lower than polled results in 230 to 240 ridings in Canada because there is no push to get the people out to vote for the candidate.   This will likely cost them roughly 1.5% on election day nationwide and potentially 3% in most of Quebec.


Meanwhile the Bloc should be able to boost their vote by about 1.5% province wide and 2% in Bloc ridings.  


The combined differential in Bloc ridings of less than expected NDP vote and better Bloc turnout moves the gap between the two parties 5% towards the Bloc.   This should be enough for them the win a number of seats that the various projections are giving to the NDP.   


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All my data comes from PunditsGuide - check it out
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