Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Calgary Centre by-election

Conserative MP Lee Richardson for Calgary Centre has resigned to move to provincial politics.   He will be working for the most successful women in Canadian political history, Alison Redford.  This means we are looking at another federal by-election.

One would think that an Alberta riding is a slam dunk for the Conservatives, but Calgary Centre is one of the most Liberal parts of Alberta, I going to try and see if I can see any patterns that might indicate any danger to the government losing the seat.

In Calgary Centre the Greens, NDP and Liberals have been getting between 42.32% and 48.32% in the last four elections - the average has been 44.71% of the vote.   Predictably, the vote for the sitting incumbent has been rising over the last four elections.  

In the last three elections the Conservative has heavily out spent the other three parties.  In 2004 the Liberals spent almost as much as the Conservatives.

I am wondering if there are trends in Calgary overall that might be of interest.    Here is the history of the eight Calgary ridings in the last four elections ranking everyone that got more than 10% but did not win.  I am using 10% because anyone seriously campaigning anywhere should be able to take 10% of the vote.

If we look at 2011:

  1. Liberal Calgary Northeast 2011 27.71
  2. Liberal Calgary West 2011 17.68
  3. Liberal Calgary Centre 2011 17.53
  4. NDP Calgary Centre North 2011 15.99
  5. NDP Calgary Centre 2011 14.86 3rd
  6. NDP Calgary East 2011 14.12
  7. Liberal Calgary Centre North 2011 14.00 3rd
  8. Green Calgary Centre North 2011 13.07 4th
  9. NDP Calgary Nose Hill 2011 12.49
  10. NDP Calgary Southwest 2011 11.92
  11. Liberal Calgary East 2011 11.83 3rd
  12. Liberal Calgary Nose Hill 2011 11.30 3rd
  13. NDP Calgary West 2011 10.36 3rd
  14. NDP Calgary Northeast 2011 10.28 3rd
  15. NDP Calgary Southeast 2011 10.26
The change I see in 2011 is that the NDP was the second place finisher in five of the eight ridings and the Liberals only managed that in three though the best result of any second place finisher was the Liberal in Calgary Northeast.    The NDP was only the only opposition party in 2011 to break 10% in all  eight of the Calgary seats, in the previous three elections they only achieved that six times in total.   The Greens have very much faded from the scene.

Party    2nds 3rds 4ths
Liberals  3    3    0
NDP       5    3    0
Green     0    0    1

It was only a few years before that the only opposition game in town was the Liberal party.  Jumping back to 2004 and the  Liberals were second in all of the ridings. 
  1. Liberal Calgary Centre 2004 29.89
  2. Liberal Calgary West 2004 29.27
  3. Liberal Calgary Northeast 2004 24.61
  4. Liberal Calgary Nose Hill 2004 22.88
  5. Liberal Calgary Centre North 2004 21.35
  6. Liberal Calgary East 2004 21.27
  7. Liberal Calgary Southwest 2004 18.39
  8. Liberal Calgary Southeast 2004 16.35
  9. NDP Calgary Centre North 2004 12.12 3rd
  10. Green Calgary Centre North 2004 11.24 4th
Party    2nds 3rds 4ths
Liberals  8    0    0 
NDP       0    1    0
Green     0    0    1

In 2006 the Liberals came second in 7 of 8 withe NDP taking one second.   Not only did the Liberals not come second in one of the ridings, their overall vote was down by a lot.    
  1. Liberal Calgary West 2006 22.12
  2. Liberal Calgary Northeast 2006 22.06
  3. Liberal Calgary Centre 2006 19.28
  4. Liberal Calgary Nose Hill 2006 17.10
  5. NDP Calgary Centre North 2006 16.78
  6. Liberal Calgary Centre North 2006 13.70 3rd
  7. Liberal Calgary East 2006 13.56
  8. NDP Calgary Centre 2006 13.31 3rd
  9. Green Calgary Centre North 2006 11.80 4th
  10. Green Calgary Centre 2006 11.74 4th
  11. Liberal Calgary Southwest 2006 11.38
  12. NDP Calgary East 2006 10.87 3rd
  13. Liberal Calgary Southeast 2006 10.35
  14. Green Calgary West 2006 10.27 3rd
Party    2nds 3rds 4ths
Liberals  7    1    0
NDP       1    2    0
Green     0    1    2

2008 the Liberals declined again, they came second in five ridings though in one of them, Calgary Southwest, with less than 10% of the vote.  The Greens came second in one and NDP in two.   2008 was the high point of the Greens in Calgary because they broke 10% in five of eight ridings
  1. Liberal Calgary West 2008 21.90
  2. Liberal Calgary Northeast 2008 20.25
  3. Liberal Calgary Centre 2008 17.97
  4. Green Calgary Centre 2008 16.72 3rd
  5. NDP Calgary Centre North 2008 15.32
  6. Green Calgary Centre North 2008 15.29 3rd
  7. Liberal Calgary Nose Hill 2008 13.23
  8. Liberal Calgary Centre North 2008 11.77 4th
  9. NDP Calgary East 2008 11.75
  10. Green Calgary West 2008 11.15 3rd
  11. Green Calgary East 2008 10.61 3rd
  12. Green Calgary Southeast 2008 10.26
  13. Liberal Calgary East 2008 10.15 4th
Party    2nds 3rds 4ths
Liberals  4    0    2
NDP       2    0    0
Green     1    4    0

Calgary Centre has been the one of the top three ridings for the Liberals in the last four elections and had the closest result of any riding in the Calgary area  when the lost in 2004 29.89% to 51.15%.

So what does all this mean?  If this by-election were being held five years ago only the Liberals would have had any chance of winning.   Now it is a very much an open question as to if it is the NDP or the Liberals that people opposed to the Conservatives should coalesce around.   What will also be interesting is the impact of the NDP if they actually spend some money here.   In four elections they topped out at  $9,881 in 2008, which is not even enough to run for council in most Canadian cities.


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