5.03.2011

harper majority: don't blame the ndp, part two

[Part one here.]

allan guest post

So, on the morning after the Liberals suffered a historic defeat, the NDP did spectacularly well, and the Conservatives have their long-desired majority, the question so many people are asking is: Whose fault is it?

James, commenting on the previous election post, answers the question.
Suppose the NDP stole 50 seats from the Liberals. What would have happened had those seats stayed Liberal?

Instead of:
Conservatives: 167
NDP:           102
Liberals:       34
Bloc:            4
Green:           1
We would have had:
Conservatives: 167
Liberals:       84
NDP:            52
Bloc:            4
Green:           1
Doesn't make much difference in terms of the majority, does it?

Suppose all the NDP votes had gone to the Liberals. Then we'd have had:
Conservatives: 167
Liberals:      136
Bloc:            4
Green:           1
Still not much of a difference...

The NDP didn't hand the CPC a majority by doing too well; the Liberals handed them one by doing so poorly.

James also linked to these maps from the 2008 and 2011 elections, showing that the NDP's gains are almost entirely at the expense of the Bloc, not the Liberals. Outside of Quebec (and bits of Toronto), the NDP's holdings have barely changed.

In closing, please remember: Facts are good. They help us understand things.

21 comments:

Cat said...

Except that this is a false way of looking at it. In the first-past-the-post system, vote splitting is a big deal and arguably made the difference in Ontario. Had the NDP not been so strong, the Conservatives would not have benefited from the split left vote. Meaning the Liberals would have taken Conservative seats. Don't get me wrong, I voted NDP too - but I am in Montreal, and it was safe to do so. Strategic voting is the only way short of a party merger to stop the Conservatives!

Sally said...

Had the NDP not been so strong, the Conservatives would not have benefited from the split left vote. Meaning the Liberals would have taken Conservative seats
If for example in Mississauga East-Cooksville riding(con 18782 lib 18121 ndp 8938) more people would have voted lib instead of ndp, we would have lib MP, not a conservative

Scott M. said...

Cat is correct - you're looking at it incorrectly.

Seats do not equal votes.

If you add up the votes between NDP and Liberals in many, many ridings they would have taken seats from the Conservatives.

Think of it this way...

If there are 100 votes in a riding, and the result is:

Conservatives 40
Liberals 25
NDP 25
Others 20

Adding Liberals and NDP would take the seat away from the Conservatives.

There are a *lot* of ridings like this in Ontario.

So the problem isn't if you took the NDP *seats* and made them Liberal seats, it's if you took NDP *votes* and added them to Liberal votes you would switch many ridings from Conservative to Liberal.

That said, I personally support proportional representation so we don't have to go through this FPTP hassle.

laura k said...

it's if you took NDP *votes* and added them to Liberal votes

You say this as if the two parties are indistinguishable.

I understand your point, but (eg) Cat refers to "the split left vote". How could anyone call the current incarnation of the Liberal Party "left"?

It is not a "split left vote". It is asking leftist voters to vote centre-right. Why not ask centre voters to vote left? Why is it the NDP voters are the ones who lost the riding to the Conservatives, rather than the Liberal voters?

Scott M. said...

Just for fun, I did a quick look at seats that, if the Libs + NDP vote were added they would have unseated Conservatives.

Ontario only, done by hand so may have an error or two.

32 seats total.

35001 Ajax--Pickering
35006 Bramalea--Gore--Malton
35007 Brampton--Springdale
35008 Brampton West
35009 Brant
35016 Don Valley East
35017 Don Valley West
35019 Eglinton--Lawrence
35021 Essex
35022 Etobicoke Centre
35023 Etobicoke--Lakeshore
35027 Guelph
35035 Kenora
35037 Kitchener Centre
35039 Kitchener--Waterloo
35043 London North Centre
35044 London West
35047 Mississauga--Brampton South
35048 Mississauga East--Cooksville
35049 Mississauga--Erindale
35050 Mississauga South
35051 Mississauga--Streetsville
35057 Nipissing--Timiskaming
35063 Ottawa--Orléans
35066 Ottawa West--Nepean
35072 Pickering--Scarborough East
35075 Richmond Hill
35079 Sault Ste. Marie
35081 Scarborough Centre
35090 Thunder Bay--Rainy River
35100 Willowdale
35103 York Centre

MSEH said...

"Why not ask centre voters to vote left? Why is it the NDP voters are the ones who lost the riding to the Conservatives, rather than the Liberal voters?"

Exactly.

laura k said...

"Why not ask centre voters to vote left? Why is it the NDP voters are the ones who lost the riding to the Conservatives, rather than the Liberal voters?"

Exactly.


And further to that:

Do you all not realize the NDP and the Liberals are different parties with different values?

Do you not see that the NDP is much more popular than the Liberals?

Is it not time to wonder why so many formerly Liberal voters voted for the Conservatives, rather than why NDP voters didn't vote Liberal?

Scott M. said...

I understand the policies of the NDP and Liberal are not interchangable... however many people, like you, would much prefer the Liberals to Conservatives.

If we had an Alternative Voting system (rank your choices, keep eliminating lowest candidate and redistributing votes to next preference until someone gets more than 50%), I bet almost all of those 32 seats would have been Liberal.

(Liberal was the vast majority of people's second choice in polls).

Scott M. said...

BTW, you will note it was Allan who brought up the topic of adding seats, not Cat, Sally or myself.

We're just pointing out why the adding seats logic makes no sense.

laura k said...

Scott, I'm not sure what the relevancy of that is, but for the record, James brought it up, Allan and I agreed with it. I'm not asking you, Cat and others not to post about this. I'm simply disagreeing with your reasoning.

allan said...

BTW, you will note it was Allan who brought up the topic of adding seats, not Cat, Sally or myself.

BTW, you will note it was Allan who quoted James re the topic of adding seats...

(I didn't think this should even be a guest post, since I didn't add anything of my own.)

laura k said...

however many people, like you, would much prefer the Liberals to Conservatives.

I actually prefer neither. The principal reason I did not vote for the Liberals is that the party, under Ignatieff's "leadership", makes me sick.

laura k said...

if the Libs + NDP vote were added they would have unseated Conservatives

If there had been a coalition, I would have voted for it. Libs + NDP would only be possible with a coalition.

Scott M. said...

My apologies, you are right. Missed the indenting of the quote.

It is James who is incorrect that someone could simply add the seats of the Liberals and NDP to see what would happen if people voted all one way or another.

Another reason why our FPTP voting system sucks - it's difficult to understand how votes map to seats at an initial glance without downloading a big Excel spreadsheet (which is what I did to get those 32 Ontario ridings).

There's more ridings, btw, which would have flipped in BC and the Atlantic. But it's a pain in the butt to look up so I'll spare you.

laura k said...

My issue is not who brought it up. Allan and I re-posted James' comment because we agree with it.

Scott M. said...

If there had been a coalition, I would have voted for it. Libs + NDP would only be possible with a coalition.

Generally, in a Parliamentary system, coalitions are not announced in advance. The only two ways it happens in advance, in general, is if they agreed to only run one candidate between the two parties in each riding. That hasn't happened in a parliamentary system in a long time, as negotiations for which party runs in which has many problems.

Other options would be:
- A combined party (The Liberal Democrats or something)
- a coalition announced after the fact based on how the seats fall (which wouldn't work in this case).

laura k said...

Yes, I know that. Most people I know were hoping for a Conservative minority, then the Libs and NDP going to the GG and trying to form a government. Either way, in advance or after, would work for me.

But that isn't what happened, and that's not because people "should have" voted differently.

Sixth Estate said...

Frankly, the Canadian electorate isn't well defined enough that there would be NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives, with people shifting between the first two but never the third. Either progressive voters in the NDP are told to tolerate a centre-right Liberal Party they didn't like in the first place, or Liberals are told to actually choose between left and right, in which case some of them will go left, but some of them will also go right.

All of which makes for fun electoral math, but even more trouble in the event there's a government. Does anyone honestly believe that the Liberal Party would agree to play second fiddle in an NDP-led government? Doing that would be almost as bad as supporting the Tories.

Which leaves us with a Tory majority and four tough years, but we can get through them.

laura k said...

Does anyone honestly believe that the Liberal Party would agree to play second fiddle in an NDP-led government?

Right, good point. Similarly, their supporters believe we should all vote for their party, no matter what, and do not consider that perhaps they should have voted NDP.

Gunner said...

The Liberals lost because they didn't deserve to win. The Liberals have drifted ever more rightward for at least the last decade and a half so expecting the left to support a right wing government just because they're not the Conservatives just shows their undeserved sense of entitlement. Especially since there is a true leftwing alternative in the NDP. If the Liberals wanted the support of the left there policies should support the left.
Also given the fact that we were probably looking at Conservative government anyway expecting Iggy to be a viable opposition leader just wasn't in the cards. If he can't lead in opposition in a minority government why give him expect him to be effective with a majority Tory government? The Lib's lost because they deserved to.

laura k said...

If the Liberals wanted the support of the left there policies should support the left.

What a concept.

And not just at election time, with words. With actions that hold the line against the Conservatives, standing up for ordinary Canadians.