Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The magic number is 40%

 Any single party that can get 40% of the electorate behind them wins. Federally or provincially. And the test isn't just that they can, its that no other party can. 

This is why, sad and horrifying as the prospect is, that the Conservatives have an excellent chance of winning the next federal election.  It's also why the Alberta NDP have an excellent chance of being reelected in four years and starting a new Alberta dynasty.

A three way tie means the Conservatives probably win federally.  Of the two progressive parties the NDP have a better chance of solidifying the progressive vote than the Liberals but very probably neither has the time to do it before October, The progressive split will probably continue and if it does, Harper wins.  I will be delighted to be proven wrong but I'm afraid I'm probably right.

In Alberta, frustrated right wingers like to harp on the fact that 60% of Albertans didn't vote for the NDP.  But of course the point is that no other single party could come close to that 40% the NDP won.  

'Ah ha!' They say, but its only because the right wing is divided between the Wild Rose and the PCs.'  Of course this is based on the highly questionable conclusion that Wild Rose and PC voters are generic right wingers who could end up following one party and this is of course nonsense.  The real vitriol and bile in the recent Alberta election was that between PCs and Wild Rose.  They are NOT interchangeable voters.  The many reluctant progressives who supported the PCs to keep out the Wild Rose will throw their support to the NDP or the Liberals or the Alberta Party.  That's assuming the PCs don't keep staggering on, and if they do they certainly won't win back the Wild Rose voters.

The electoral math favours the NDP, and so does the cyclical nature of petroleum prices.  The NDP will probably be going into the next election on the heels of a boom, and voters reward governments lucky enough to match the boom bust cycle to the electoral cycle. That's at least part of why Prentice called the early election that was his downfall.

The Alberta right wing split and renewed boom should be enough to get the ANDP another 40% at least next time, and that's all any government needs barring bringing in proportional representation.

1 comment:

Purple library guy said...

. . . Except a 3-way split does not come even close to guaranteeing the Conservatives 40%. In fact, how the split between Libs and NDP goes has basically no bearing on whether the Conservatives get 40%, which they usually don't get.

It's true that if the non-fascist vote went lopsidedly enough to either Liberals or NDP, the beneficiary would get 40% thus guaranteeing a win. But there's nothing much to be done about that one way or another.

If there's a three way split . . . there will be a minority. Just whose minority is likely to be up to the Liberals. I can't understand why they'd be stupid enough to hand it over to the Cons again, but past track record suggests they might, even if the alternative is getting into government themselves with NDP support. But I'm not sure that would really count as the Conservatives "winning", so much as the Liberal party apparatus turning out to be Conservatives-lite after all. Not so sure that many of their voters are Con-lite, so it could bite them at the ballot box next time if they did it.

Basically, unless there's a fire in the Reichst . . . um, parliament buildings, or some other convenient "terrorist attack" on the eve of the election, or unless Conservative vote fraud proves to be rather more successful than I expect, I don't think the Conservatives are that likely to pull off a majority no matter how the rest of the vote splits. I don't see them getting more than 35% this time around, and if all their assorted baggage can be made to bite, maybe quite a bit less. So either they'll simply lose and it'll be a battle between Libs and NDP for who gets a minority government, or they'll get a small plurality of seats and we see if the Libs have the gumption of a pygmy shrew and refuse to hand them the confidence of the House, or if they let Harper bluff them. If the Libs acted with rational self-interest, let alone the kind of disdain and vengefulness towards the Cons that might be expected if they had a vestige of self-respect, they'd never let the Cons form government without a majority. But we shall see.

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