Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Fun with Numbers: Most Volatile Ridings

Unless Stephen Harper breaks his own fixed election date law (ha ha ha!), we'll have a new set of ridings for the 2015 election.

So for kicks this summer, I'm looking back at life in the old ridings over the past four elections. I already posted a list of the most exciting ridings in the country - today, a list of the most volatile.

To keep it simple, I've simply tallied up the percentage point swing between each election, to find out which ridings had the largest changes. So if from 2004 to 2006 the Tories fell 8 points in a given riding, the Liberals fell 8 points, the NDP rose 8 points, and the Greens rose 8 points, that riding would be recorded as a 32-point swing.

And with that, the most volatile ridings in the county over the past decade:

1. Cumberland Colchester (285-point swing): No surprise here, as the Tory vote yo-yo'd thanks to the Bill Casey fiasco.

2. Portneuf-Jacques Cartier (194): Like Cumberland Colchester, Portneuf rises to the top due to the rise and fall of an independent conservative, Andre Arthur.

3. Jonquiere-Alma (184): This riding was on the frontlines of both the rise of the Tories and the rise of the Dippers in Quebec.

4. Labrador (179): Labrador saw a 30-point shift from the Tories to the Liberals this May.

5. Beauce (169): I feel like the riding should get "volatility bonus points", due to the personality of its MP.

6. Trois-Rivières (162): The orange wave was particularly strong here last election, with NDP support sextupling from 9% to 54%.

7. Charlesbourg-Haute-Saint-Charles (159): A similar story to many Quebec ridings on this list - the Tories jumped 26 points in 2006, and the NDP jumped 32 points in 2011.

8. St. John's East (153): Thanks in large part to a mind blowing 57-point jump in support for Jack Harris during the 2008 election.

9. Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou (150): Ninth in volatility, but first in cumbersomeness of the riding's name.

10. Rivière-du-Nord (150): Over half that swing came last election.

And just missing the Top 10...

11. Central Nova (148): Thanks to Lizzie May.

12. Saanich - Gulf Islands (141): See above.

On the list of most stable ridings, there are few surprises with 7 tory-blue Alberta ridings in the top 10, led by Crowfoot (only a 20-point swing). Dartmouth-Cole Harbour (28%) comes in at number 3 to add a bit of orange to the list, with Malpeque the only solidly Liberal riding in the top 10.

And finally, taking the riding-by-riding averages, the most volatile provinces politically over the past decade:

1. Newfoundland: Thanks to Danny Williams
2. Quebec: I corrected for the presence of the Bloc here, dropping them to second
3. Nova Scotia
4. Manitoba
5. New Brunswick
6. BC
7. Ontario
8. Saskatchewan
9. PEI
10. Alberta

The top 2 and bottom 2 stand out, with the rest all bunched closely together.



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