Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fun with Numbers: The Liberals

As we learned last election, when the political wave rises, it's hard to avoid it. If ever you wanted evidence of just how powerless local campaigns are, look no further than some of the quality men and women who were defeated by phantom candidates who hadn't even set foot in the riding, never mind campaigned there.

But that's not to say local candidates can't make a difference. After all, it's a safe bet that lone spec of red between Winnipeg and Vancouver also known as Wascana would be blue if anyone other than Ralph Goodale had been the Liberal candidate.

It's very difficult to measure the success of local campaigns, but it is possible to get a sense of which candidates did better or worse than expected. To measure this, I've used the same methodology as after the 2008 election. Namely, I've carved Canada up into 30 subregions (i.e. Calgary, Southwest Ontario, Nova Scotia, Northern Quebec, etc) and compared the vote change from 2008 in each riding to the regional swing. So if a given candidate held his support while her party lost 10 points in the region, that's a sign the local campaign had some positive mojo.

With that, I present a list of the 10 Liberal campaigns that most exceeded expectations. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is relative to 2008. People like Gerard Kennedy and Ken Dryden may very well be star candidates who ran top notch campaigns but their residual value for this exercise still comes in around "0" - which is what we'd expect, assuming they ran comparably strong campaigns in the last go around.

So treat this more as a list of ridings that stood out, for a variety of reasons.

1. Winnipeg North (+27 percentage points above expected): No surprise here since I used 2008 and not the by election as the baseline. But even if we give by elections their historical weighting, Lamoureux nets a +10. To become relevant in Western Canada, the Liberal Party needs to find whatever factory made Kevin Lamoureux and order a dozen more.

2. Guelph (+17): Frank Valeriote's vote actually jumped 11 points in Guelph this election, due in part to the collapse of the Greens in this riding.

3. Central Nova (+15): Central Nova makes this list for obvious reasons...it's not hard to improve upon 0 votes. Central Nova scored a -17 in 2008, so this marks a return to the traditional level of Liberal support..

4. Sault Ste. Marie (+12): While 19% is not a great showing, it still marks an improvement from 2008, at a time when the Liberals were falling everywhere else in Ontario. Still, this riding put up a -7 in 2008, so some of this is nothing more than a "bounce back".

5. Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (+11): Basically the same story as above.

6. Cumberland-Colchester (+10): The Liberals benefit from the retirement of Bill Casey, who pretty much everyone in the riding voted for in 2008.

7. Don Valley West (+10): This is small consolation for Rob Oliphant, who still finds himself unemployed.

8. Calgary Northeast (+8): This was actually the Liberals' best riding in Alberta, with their support jumping 8 points, to 28%. The LPCA should treat this riding the same way the NDP treated Edmonton Strathcona after Linda Duncan's strong second in 2006. Nominate Stewart early, door knock the riding heavily in advance of the next election, and pour resources into it. At the very least, they can make the CPC play defense in Calgary next time.

9. Avalon (+8): Scott Andrews held his ground, despite the Liberals dropping elsewhere in Newfoundland.

10. Surrey North (+8): Once again, 18% isn't a phenomenal result, but it still marks an improvement from 2008.


Honourable Mention: Kitchener-Waterloo, Papineau, Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough, Ajax-Pickering, Nepean-Carleton, Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Eglinton-Lawrence, Malpeque, Random-Burin-St.George's, Medicine Hat, Westmount-Ville Marie

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7 Comments:

  • I think we can all agree that if we Liberals can get Kai Nagata to run for the leadership, many more ridings will swing Liberal. Like most Canadians, I am sick and tired of being rules by a heartless autocrat like Stephen Harper.

    It is time to take back our country. And Kai Nagata is the man to do it.

    By Anonymous Blood Orange Liberal, at 9:39 AM  

  • BGOS definitely deserves a shout out. Kimberley Love exceeded all expectations as a candidate. The fundraising was at it's highest since MP Ovid Jackson held the riding and despite the terrible national conditions she increased the Liberal vote %.

    By Blogger Kaisha, at 10:59 AM  

  • somewhat naive, somewhat self-righteous, and somewhat rambly manifesto, there's a lot of truth in what he's saying and he deserves credit

    Agreed; though I'm compelled to add he's no more self-righteous, naive, or rambly than, oh, say, fellow team members Jason Cherniak, James Bowie, or Kyle the Anthropomorphic Purple Tablet. Except Nagata carries more truth and deserves more credit.

    how many of the same people who lambasted Ignatieff for his time outside of the country went absolutely ga-ga over our future head of state visiting

    Haha so true
    I thankfully was able to avoid most of the coverage but I did hear she wore a hat. (BTW big shouts to Kai Nagata for criticism of the royal coverage)
    Disclosure: Yes I'm a republican.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 12:09 PM  

  • I was going to comment on what I thought was the excellent campaign run by Grant Humes agents Bev Oda (who as I am sure the readers of the Blog will agree was a very week candidate) in Durham, Ontario but when I looked up the numbers I found out that the Liberal vote acutualy fell relative to the Tories this time around. It realy leaves you scratching your head.

    By Blogger Steve in Toronto, at 3:40 PM  

  • How about some Fun with Maps:

    http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/electoral-maps-2011-federal-election-poll-poll-results

    By Blogger Political Outsider, at 4:18 PM  

  • Raplh has seen his 16 point spread dwindle to just over 2 points since 2000.

    At this rate prior to the 42nd election in 2015, he will announce his retirment or will likely lose.

    By Blogger CanadianSense, at 5:28 PM  

  • I think your suggestion for Calgary-NE is sharp, and should be pursued with all vigour. I passed through Duncan's campaign office briefly (threw my main effort at Ray Martin's campaign in Edmonton-East) and there's nothing like the energy of a campaign for an otherwise-unpopular island in a sea of whatever. Calgary NE is particularly ripe ground as Nenshi country, since you may be able to pull from both traditional Liberals and Alberta Party types come 2015.

    I know it's not your primary interest, but what do the numbers tell you about CPC and NDP outliers?

    By Blogger Don, at 7:50 PM  

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