Friday, March 6, 2015

Can Bruce Hyer be re-elected as a Green in Thunder Bay-Superior North? Maybe

This will be the fifth time Bruce Hyer runs in the riding of Thunder Bay-Superior North though this time as Green and not a New Democrat.   So what are his chances of winning?  I think he is currently likely a competitive second to the Liberals.

The riding of Thunder Bay-Superior North (and before that Thunder Bay–Nipigon) has been a Liberal/NDP horse race in eight of the last 11 elections.   In 36 years the Liberals have won the riding eight times and the NDP three times.   The Liberals lost in 1984, 2008 and 2011, their three worst elections overall in the last 36 years.   Overall it is more of a Liberal riding than an NDP one, this is borne out in the Ontario provincial elections as well.

The right wing seems to be able to get about 25% support, plus or minus 5 percentage points federally but significantly less provincially .  They have never been close to winning.

The Greens have never been a factor in the riding, but have been able to get 2,463 votes.

How much of the NDP results are due to Bruce Hyer?
Bruce Hyer was the NDP candidate in the last four elections, in first two of he lost and in teh last two he won, in each successive election he has done better than the previous one.  Not only has be improved the NDP results, he has managed to improve them more than the federal trend for the party in Ontario.     It says that at Bruce Hyer has been responsible for at least some of the increase.

If the overall federal trend for Ontario had held in Thunder Bay-Superior North, in 2008 the Liberals should have won the seat though narrowly, instead Bruce Hyer won it for the NDP by more than 3,000 votes.

The 2011 results were slightly better for the NDP and worse for the Liberals in the riding.   If the trend for Ontario had been replicated in the riding Bruce Hyer would have still won but with a significantly lower vote.

As best as I can estimate, Bruce Hyer is personally responsible for about 5,000 to 6,000 of the NDP votes in the last election.   If he can keep 5,000 of these people loyal and maxs out the the Green vote of 2,500, it puts him at 7,500 votes.  With a likely turnout of 37,000, this is about 20% of the vote, not enough to win.

The Conservative vote is likely to end up at around 25%, which leaves 55% of the vote to figure out what will happen with it.

The NDP will not drop to zero, let us say they can be certain to get about 20% of the vote.  Losing Bruce Hyer means they have no path to winning again

The Liberals should do better than in 2011, I think they can be certain of 25% of the vote.

This leaves about 10% of the vote to fight over.   I do not think the Conservatives can get any of it and I do not think the NDP will either.  This leaves Bruce Hyer and the Liberals to split it and we end up with the following
  • Liberals 30%    11,000
  • Bruce Hyer 25% 9,300
  • Conservatives 25% 9,200
  • NDP 20% 7,500
The first wildcard that comes into this race is that people that vote Liberal are much more likely to consider voting Green than NDP.   The riding could be a good places to find Green support because of the overall Liberal strength.  It is hard to estimate as it could be on a range from nothing to 20% based on past results elsewhere. For purposes of this analysis I am using 5% of Liberal vote going to Bruce Hyer

The second wildcard is that the Greens have never tried to campaign in the seat.   Simply putting in effort increases the vote for the party, and in the case of the Greens there is a positive correlation between campaign effort and an overall increase in voter turn out.  Turnout has been between 56.3% and 62.5% in the last four elections.   More people are likely to vote because there is a serious Green candidate that might win.  This could add 1,000 to 3,000 more voters to the turnout.   I am going to use 2,000 more votes.

This leads to the following result
  • Bruce Hyer   11,850 30.4%
  • Liberals     10,640 27.3%
  • Conservatives 9,200 23.6%
  • NDP           7,500 19.2%
I am not claiming this is what the result will be, it is just a possible realistic scenario.  The result says to me that the riding could be won by Bruce Hyer if the factors in play go in his direction.

Other factors to consider:
  • National trends will likely be a factor in the race.and this especially matters if the Liberal support starts to fall.      
  • The Liberals could use the threat of a Conservative winning because of a three-way progressive split and stampede people into voting Liberal
  • How hard will the NDP campaign?
  • How much of the team from the past four elections has left the team to support Bruce Hyer?
  • The increasing support for Bruce Hyer may have just been name recognition and then incumbency

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