More election data.

As indicated by the popular vote totals, there is little support for the claim that a coalition government between the Liberal and NDP parties in Canada would be undemocratic. However, this represents a very rough analysis because the Canadian system, like many others, is a first-past-the-post process in which the candidate with the most votes is elected regardless of the margin.

In order to reveal the desire of the electorate more realistically, it is necessary to consider the total votes in each riding rather than at the national scale. I decided to see what would have happened in the latest election had the Liberal and NDP candidates run jointly in each riding from the outset by summing their respective votes on a riding by riding level. I compared only the major parties, meaning that I did not include any votes from the Green Party, independents, or fringe parties in the new totals. Data were acquired from Elections Canada and only verified final results were analyzed.

The actual election results were (number of seats):

  • Conservative: 143
  • Liberal: 77
  • Bloc Qubecois: 49
  • NDP: 37
  • Independent: 2

Now, taking each riding individually and adding the Liberal and NDP votes received, we note the following changes:

  • Conservatives would have lost 30 ridings to Liberal+NDP and retained 113.
  • Bloc Quebecois would have lost 9 ridings to Liberal+NDP and retained 40.

The new election results, if we count each riding by itself but combine the voters who chose either Liberal or NDP, are then:

  • Liberal+NDP: 153
  • Conservative: 113
  • Bloc Quebecois: 40
  • Independent: 2

We can’t assume that the election would have turned out exactly like this with combined parties (it would depend on the candidate, party leader, etc.). Nevertheless, this gives a reasonable estimate of what voters wanted in terms of representation. In other words, the election results, whether analyzed by popular vote nationally or riding by riding, clearly refute the claim that a coalition of the Liberal and NDP would contradict the expressed will of voters.

3 thoughts on “More election data.

  1. I agree with most of your reasoning, but I’m not sure it’s fair to give the votes of the NPD to the PLC in Quebec. I bet most francophone Quebecers who supported the NPD would rather vote for the Bloc than for Stéphane.

  2. It’s clearly a very rough analysis, and I think you’re right that many NDP votes could have been anti-Liberal-though-anything-but-conservative votes. Still, even without the 9 seats from Quebec, the pattern is pretty clear. And I am pretty sure no one who voted NDP anywhere would have chosen Conservatives instead. (Plus, it’s not about giving the votes to Liberals, it’s a coalition in which the NDP will have much more impact than they have previously)

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