Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fun with Numbers: 2008 Liberal Breakthroughs

After taking a look at incumbency effects over the summer, I can now dig a bit deeper when looking back at the 2008 election.

Specifically, by looking at subregional shifts in support between 2006 and 2008, and the incumbency effect, it's possible to "predict" how the parties should have done in every riding last election. While predicting something that's already happened has somewhat limited value, it does allow us to see where the different parties "over performed" and "under performed" last election.

I'm throwing the air quotes around because I want to get a few caveats out of the way before I post my list of the 10 biggest Liberal surprises of 2008:

1. This is only relative between 2006 and 2008. So the fact that the Liberal vote in Wascana was only 1% above predicted doesn't mean Ralph Goodale isn't lifting up the Liberal vote there - since he ran in both elections, we wouldn't expect a big shift.

2. A lot of this depends on other campaigns. So, for example, the Liberals' "worst" performance relative to their expected vote was in St. John's East. This isn't a knock on the Liberal campaign in St. John's East - there were a lot of Tory votes up for grabs in Newfoundland and the NDP candidate simply did a better job of getting grabbing them.

With that said, here's a look at where the Liberals had their most pleasant "surprises" last election:

1. Haute-Gaspésie-yada yada yada (+18%): Nancy Charest and her team deserve some real props - all three other parties underperformed in this riding, suggesting this total is due more to her campaign's strength, rather than a weak opponent. Unlike, say...

2. Saanich-Gulf Islands (+17%): ...where the Liberals stripped most of these votes away from the NDP (pun fully intended) - Gary Lunn and the CPC finished exactly where they were predicted too, even with the NDP candidate resigning mid-campaign. Moving forward, the question is whether those floating New Democrats return home, stay with the Liberals, or go Green.

3. Labrador (+15%): I don't think it was a surprise that this riding went Danny Williams Liberal. But Todd Russell tacked on 20 points to the 2006 total, which was more than most Newfoundland grits.

4. Madawaska-Restigouche (+14%): After a nail-biter in 2006, Jean-Claude D'Amours ran up the score in 2008.

5. Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor (+13%): See number 3.

5. Parkdale High Park (+12%): Having represented the riding as an MPP for a decade, Kennedy had a lot more going for him last election than most challengers do. And I can report first hand that his local campaign team did an amazing job last election.

6. Abbotsford (+12%): I'm sure local Liberals weren't ecstatic about their 20,000+ vote loss. But here's the good news - the Liberal vote collapsed across BC and your riding actually saw the party's vote share increase. The less good news is that this riding had a big negative residual in other words, the "bump" this time around was mostly a correction after a weak showing the previous time.

7. Winnipeg South Centre (+11%): Anita Neville is one of the few incumbents on this list, as she managed to increase her share of the vote, even as the LPC took a hit across Winnipeg.

8. Humber-St. Barbe-BaieVerte (+10%): Another one of those wild Newfoundland swings. I think the moral of the story is that, when things swing, they swing in unpredictable ways.

9. Laurentides-Labelle (+9%): Pierre Gfeller nearly doubled the Liberal vote here, from 2006.

10. Newton North Delta (+9%): Even though BC was quite inhospitable for the Liberals in the last campaign, this riding remained a warm comfy mat with lots of fur, for Sukh Dhaliwal.

11 to 20: Peterborough, Cypress Hills-Grasslands, Nipissing-Timiskaming, Random--Burin--St.George's, St.John's South-Mount Pearl, Westmount-Ville-Marie, Yukon, Guelph, Ottawa South, Portneuf-Jacques Cartier

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  • As a 'Pegger I can tell you that the only reason that Anita Neville's vote in Wpg S.Center increased by 11% in 2008 was that she was going up against a woefully equipped 'political retard'.

    The candidate in question proved unpalatable to many PC moderates and he slayed himself by deliering a sub-par performance during the campaign.

    In turn, many PC supporters in the riding (i.e. my confused(?)PC freak of a brother-in-law) to stay away from the polls. Disheartened, this group, was unable to bring themselves to vote either LiB or Dipper instead - so they just stayed home. Had the Great Satan Harpo & his dour band of Infidels put forth a person of more substance to run against Mrs. Neville - well then I believe she would have lost.

    Fact is (and I say this without malice), Mrs. Neville is a long-in-the-tooth, out of touch, and ineffectual MP. Her long record of service record to the people of Wpg may be noteworthy - but it is time it ran its natural course ...

    My personal sense is that, if the PC's run a stronger candidate next time up, Neville will lose. If the LIB's wanna keep this Wpg seat, they need to respectfully ask Mrs. Neville (nicely, yet firmly) to step aside. Otherwise I fear they risk losing the riding.

    The demographics are changing in Wpg S-Center; the Osborne Village and the Corydon areas are undergoing a profound ideo-demographic shift that favours the PC's. And Mrs. Neville is ill-equipped to deal with it. In short, the LIB's need a new candidate in this riding.

    By Blogger Scott MacNeil, at 11:51 a.m.  

  • It's not terribly surprising to see so many NL ridings on the list, but I don't think the results themselves were terribly surprising. Bonavista, Labrador, and Random (those damn riding names are too long anyway) were pretty much always going to be safe Liberal seats. The increase in voter support was directly attributable to Danny's ABC grudge, but the individual candidate's successes were a result of sound campaigning and personal popularity. St. John's, however, was an odd story. Siobhan Coady was in a dogfight right until the very end with the NDP candidate, while the Tory vote evaporated like so much hot air- most local pundits agree the margin of victory could have been higher, but some local Tories would rather go Orange than Red, regardless of the candidate. In the East, however, it didn't matter if one J. Christ himself ran for the Liberals, the NDP candidate and current MP was always supremely popular. Add to that a completely ineffectual campaign and a staid, old candidate, and you have the makings of an absolute whitewash.


    By Blogger Coady Bustin, at 11:10 p.m.  

  • As someone from Abbotsford, I think that the "bump" was largely due to the candidate, Dr. Lionel Traverse, who came off remarkably well. I may just vote Liberal this time around if he's the candidate.

    Mind you, it's a wasted vote nonetheless, and every progressive and moderate knows it. This is an incredibly conservative riding, and the chances of that changing any time soon are infinitismal.

    By Anonymous libraryguy, at 3:11 a.m.  

  • I live in Cypress Hills Grassland (in the 11 - 20 group. Conservative vote here is 60 - 70%. All other parties are also rans. Any increase in Liberal support is more based on very, very weak NDP and Green candidates than a resurgence of Liberal voters here. Thbis seat is a never win for Liberals

    By Anonymous Gary, at 3:16 a.m.  

  • So those are the top preformers, how about the dead weights?

    By Anonymous Dustin, at 4:27 p.m.  

  • Have you noticed you posted 2x #5? So your list actually totals 11...

    By Blogger Mike514, at 6:35 p.m.  

  • Peterborough deserves serious notice. It's one of the ridings we need to win to increase our seat count and the local campaign is clearly doing a great job to get #11.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 11:32 p.m.  

  • Thank you for posting this info. 

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  • By Blogger ambarwati ardiyanti, at 2:01 p.m.  

  • Thanks i like your blog very much , i come back most days to find new posts like this. PLease coming on site Twitter

    By Blogger Sophie Grace, at 10:37 p.m.  

  • By Blogger Lillian J. Turner, at 7:15 p.m.  

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