What Could Have Been: Elxn41 Under a Preferential Ballot
So what kind of impact would a preferential ballot have had on the previous election?
To determine this, I looked back at the final "second choice" poll numbers from the last campaign (seen here, here, and here), applied a few minor regional corrections, and ran run-offs in each riding where the winning candidate received fewer than half the vote. So if the Greens were fourth, their votes were scatered based on the second choice of Green voters. Then if the Liberals were third, their votes were scatered based on the second choice of Liberal voters.
It's not an exact science, but it's close enough for a fun "what if" exercise.
In the end, only 25 seats change, but that's enough to knock the Conservatives down to a minority. The majority of their loses come from Ontario, with ridings like London North Centre, Willowdale, and the Don Valleys staying red. While the Liberals snag 13 Tory seats under this system, they'd lose some star power with Misters Trudeau, Garneau, and Lamoureux all drowning under the orange wave. After all, as bizarre as it may sound, even Conservative voters were more likely to lean NDP than Liberal by the end of the last campaign.
The NDP would therefore snag seats from the Tories, Liberals, and Bloc, and would come out of Quebec with a remarkable 66 seats.
So while it makes a certain amount of sense, it's not something I'd expect to see anytime soon unless Stephen Harper is feeling in a particularly self-destructive mood.
UPDATE - NBPolitico looks at what might have been under other voting systems
Labels: fun with numbers