Saturday, May 2, 2015

Federal Political Opinion in BC created with a Google Survey

I have been testing out Google Surveys as a possible polling tool.   Here are the headline results

April 30-May 2
n=914 - decided voters only
Liberals - 28.5%
NDP - 27.5%
Conservatives - 23.5%
Greens - 15.7%
Other - 4.8%

I did a smaller one roughly at the same time - April 29 - May 1
n=545 - decided voters only
Liberals - 33.7%
Conservatives - 23.9%
NDP - 22.2%
Greens - 16.5%
Other 7.7%

I did a first one a week earlier - April 23 to 25
n=432 - decided voters only
Liberals - 31.3%
NDP - 26.2%
Conservatives - 25.5%
Greens - 11.8%
Other - 4.4%

For comparison, here are the EKOS results from April 22-28
n=400 - decided voters only
Liberals - 30.9%
Conservatives - 26.4%
NDP - 21.9%
Greens - 19.6%
Other - 1.1%

The numbers I am getting are in the same ballpark as the EKOS results but that does not mean my numbers are a useful representation of public opinion.   It may only be luck.  What I have been testing is how good the Google Surveys sampling method is, can it give me a demographically accurate representation of BC?

I think it may be a useful polling tool but in the testing I have made some observations that leave me feeling mixed about the quality of the results.  I will discussing the results in detail with Google on Monday,

Here are some quick observations:

  • Too many of the responses come with no demographic data which means when you start a survey looking for 1,000 responses you are likely to only 700, I am finding 30% of the responses are without demographic data.   The results above are weighted for age and gender which means all the responses with no demographic data are not counted in the results above
  • The geographic distribution of the results are not an accurate reflection of BC, it is far enough off that I am not happy with it.  I would like to calculate the weighting that would need to go into that to correct the number but I do need more information about how the locations are set.
  • The responses consistently have had more men than women answer meaning the female responses are given a lot more weighting and this makes the results less reliable.

I have lot more detailed analysis to do over the next couple days.  I also want to run one more test, this time targeted specifically to Vancouver Island, I want to see if choosing a specific region would remove most of the responses with no demographic information.

If Google Surveys can be made function as a opinion poll, I would like to run a weekly public opinion poll of federal voting intentions in BC till the election.  If I go ahead with this I will be crowdfunding to cover the costs, but feel free to drop me a line now if you would like to support this idea.

If you want the raw data, I will happily share it with you, just drop me a line.

Google Surveys can be very cost effective.  A single question survey within one province or the whole country costs only $0.10 per responses - a 2000 response survey only costs $200.

Google gets their respondents from people wanting to read content that costs but which by answering a survey you can read it for free.   

This is how a Google Survey looks:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Bold Alberta Election Prediction - a comfortable NDP majority government

I am going out on a limb here but I think the NDP will win 60 seats

Party  Seats Vote
NDP      64   42%
Wildrose 19   26%
PC        3   22%
Liberals  0    5% 
Alberta   1    2%
Other     0    1%

Why do I think this will happen?

  • There is a clear trend in the polls showing the NDP in the lead and not only in the lead but with a large margin over the second place party
  • The NDP campaign has been positive and has inspired people to get involved
  • Rachel Notley very clearly won the debate and looks like more of a premier than Jim Prentice
  • The Wildrose campaign has been bland and wooden with an acceptable but uninspiring leader
  • The PC campaign has gone from bad to train wreck  
  • The Liberals are a non event in the election and will lose most of their vote to the NDP
  • In 2012 roughly 230,000 people that would have normally voted NDP or Liberal voted for the PCs at the last minute for them to stop the Wildrose Party, this will not happen this time.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Federal Political Party Support in BC January to April 2015

EKOS has been polling consistently since mid January and with large enough national samples to allow for results in BC of around 500 respondents which is large enough to start to mean something
In the last three months support for the NDP and Conservatives are up in BC while for the Liberals it is down.

What is also interesting is that other than one Conservative result on March 14th (the smallest sample poll in the series) the support for the big three parties has been in a fairly narrow range.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Federal Proportional Representation in Canada - is it likely?

Elections in Canada with the first past the post system means that MPs can be elected with less than a third of the vote and a party can form a majority government with only the support of around 40% of the voters.    The system is not doing a very good job of translating the will of the public into representation in parliament.   One of the answers is to adopt some form of proportional representation the question is which one.   I believe that Mix Member Proportional is not political possible in Canada whereas Single Transferable Vote might be.

In Canada there are two forms of proportional representation that have been either used or considered:

  • Single Transferable Vote, used in the prairie provinces from the 1920s to 1950s and proposed for BC and voted on in 2005 and 2009.   STV works very well in delivering a result that is a good approximation of the public will.  It is especially good at rewarding hard working representatives and eliminating the concept of a safe seat.  The problem is that STV, while be an elegant and sophisticated electoral system, the electoral system is not intuitive.   In STV it is almost impossible to useful game the system and no benefit to strategic voting.
  • Mixed Member Proportional - formally proposed in some form in the last decade or so in Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.  As well often being suggested as a form to use for the Federal Parliament.  MMP was created after World War 2 to be less proportional than the electoral system used in the Weimar republic as a response to the fractured parliaments that happened.   Outwardly as a system the concept of how it works is easy but the system often has to have complex mechanisms to achieve the results and the math that goes into who get elected and who does not is very complex.   It is one of the most complex electoral systems in use in the world.   There are several ways voters and political parties can game the system and it encourages strategic voting at the local level

Right now the popular support in Canada is definitely much more in support of MMP than STV, though when provinces have held referendums on electoral reform the results for STV were the best in the country.

The federally the NDP is very much advocating for MMP and there is a moderate chance they could form a minority government which means we could see it being proposed in the next parliament.  It is an electoral system that appeals to the strongly partisan, such as core leadership of political parties, and looks fair to the public.   The question then becomes could MMP be made to work in Canada?

The problem with introducing MMP in Canada is that the number of voters in each riding is not consistent at all.    PEI has four seats for a population roughly the same single seat in Calgary.  Implementation would either mean fewer local MPs especially for BC, Alberta and Ontario or 85 to 225 more party list MPs in the House of Commons.  Either approach would have serious political opposition.

The ratio in most MMP systems is roughly 30% to 40% of the representatives coming from party lists.   To achieve something similar in Canada there would have to be 144 to 225 party list MPs as well as the current 338.  Even with only 20% being list MPs, this would entail another 85 members in the House of Commons.     Adding this number of new MPs would not be very popular with the public based on reactions to the idea of more MPs.   The party list MPs are most likely to end up being roughly proportional to provincial populations which would mean the six smallest population provinces would see their relative representation in Ottawa would be reduced.  

Party lists would be most likely balanced in such a way to get the most support for the party and this means not overloading it with people from Atlantic provinces.    With 85 list members it is likely that only six to eight of them would come from the the four Atlantic provinces.  Yes, a party could over load their list with Atlantic members but that is very likely to play badly in the four largest provinces.  As it stands, few people in BC or Alberta think it is fair that PEI gets four MPs.

The other direction would be to stay at 338 MPs and make some of the list MPs, but without a constitutional amendment only 56 could be party list MPs     The constitution mandates the minimum number of MPs per province and six of the provinces are at their minimum already.  The lost local MPs would all come from BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.  Quebec would have the smallest loss with only 3 being removed but Ontario would lose 26, BC 14 and Alberta 13     My own island would lose two of our seven MPs and Vancouver Island would have half the MPs for New Brunswick but a larger population.   I can not see any significant support in the four largest province for this approach.

If the constitution were amended to remove the restrictions on MPs per province the split could be 270 local MPs and 68 list MPs though in this would entail the six smallest population provinces losing seats.  Manitoba would drop five seats, Saskatchewan six, PEI three, Newfoundland three, New Brunswick four and Nova Scotia either four or five.   These six provinces would have to agree to losing MPs and I do not see that happening.

In my opinion MMP is not politically achievable in Canada unless the public can accept the addition of 85 or more party list to the House of Commons and Atlantic Canadian political leaders accept reduced influence in Ottawa.

STV could be introduced without changing the number of MPs and thereby removing all the oppostiion from the province .   The problem with STV is that is a system not favourable to centralized political parties and as a system feels to different for most people.

In my opinion STV could be acceptable to the general public with education but it is not going to be proposed by the NDP, Liberals or Conservatives.

Monday, April 6, 2015

 Somehow my email address is in a GOP database somewhere  - it means I get this constant barrage of Republican letters begging for money of which many of I find humourous.

The latest one is for Michele Bachmann, a person that as a politician is already a joke but this sappy sounding one as if it is coming from her family sounds like a bad parody of what a cynical Republican would do in the States.

What it is really for is a group called MICHELEPAC (Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere Political Action Group).   I can not figure out what this money is being raised.


Dear Bernard,

Last year for Mom's birthday we sent you an email asking you to sign a birthday card for our mom, Michele Bachmann. And Bernard, she loved it so much that we are emailing you again this year to ask for your help again!

Please click here to sign the birthday card for our amazing and courageous mom!

Hearing from you will certainly brighten our mom's birthday, and make it a memorable day for her which she will always remember.

Now is the opportunity to thank our mom for her never ending commitment to working tirelessly for our country and all of us, and wish her a very happy birthday. 

After you sign the card, we hope you will please consider making a donation to MichelePAC, her PAC that supports the election of like-minded constitutional conservative candidates across the country.

We know she would be most grateful if you could make a donation to her PAC on her birthday, to partner with her, in her efforts to save and protect our blessed country.

On behalf of the entire Bachmann family, thank you for always being a friend and staunch supporter of our mother's. Your friendship and support means the world to her and our family!

Caroline, Elisa, Harrison, Sophia, Christine & Lucas Bachmann

P.S. Our mom's birthday is today so please help us start getting her present ready! We hope you will take 3 minutes and follow this link to send our mom, Michele Bachmann, your best wishes for her birthday.

MichelePAC is the Political Action Committee founded by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in 2010. MichelePAC stands for: Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere and works to elect constitutional conservative candidates throughout the country. Michele's dedication to uniting constitutional conservatives motivates her to find, support and election like-minded candidates across America.

In 2010, your support for MichelePAC swept Nancy Pelosi out of leadership and ushered in a new group of leaders dedicated to defending constitutional principles. In 2012, MichelePAC candidates received unprecedented support from conservatives who stood together to defend American principles from the Obama agenda. In 2014, MichelePAC assisted in giving the Senate Majority to Republicans as well as helping reclaim the Leadership seats for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. Now, MichelePAC is a national organization dedicated to keeping the Senate red and maintaining majorities in the House.

Contributions to Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere
are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes
Paid for by Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Somehow I ended up the Ted Cruz mailing list

Anyone that knows me would know I am not in the least supportive Ted Cruz to be elected to anything even if up until recently he was a fellow Canadian.

I subscribe to the Economist's view of him
Mr Cruz will not win the presidency, since he repels the swing voters who decide things. But he could still do harm. If he turns the Republican primary into a conservative purity contest, in which anyone softer on Mr Obama is labelled a sell-out, other contenders may be dragged so far to the right that they become unelectable in the general election. That would be bad for the Republican Party and for America. Voters in 2016 deserve a choice between two grown-up candidates.
This is an email I recently received

Bernard --

Have you seen this?

I have less than 4 hours left.

Please -- right now -- read below and contribute before 11:59pm.

For liberty,

Ted Cruz

From: Ted Cruz
Subject: 7 hours
Cruz For President

We don't have much time. So, I'll be brief.

My deadline is less than 7 hours away, and I just got off the phone with Lauren, my National Finance Director.
**I need 3 more donors in your area BEFORE midnight**

Bernard, as a personal favor to me, will you help us meet our Money Bomb goal by making an immediate contribution -- it is imperative that we don't come up short. After the barrage of's clear: as conservatives, we are in the fight of our lives.

Please, before you do anything else -- click here and make a Money Bomb contribution of at least $5 or as much as $35 or even more if you can afford it.

 STOP-GAP $100 » 

 STOP-GAP $35 » 

 STOP-GAP $5 » 


My campaign finance report is about to come under intense scrutiny from every media outlet, Democrat, and presidential hopeful in the country.

I announced for President to defend the Constitution and restore the promise of America, but we can only win with the support of courageous conservatives like you.

There are less than 7 hours left in the Money Bomb Challenge.

Will you step up and stand with us?

For liberty,

Ted Cruz

P.S. If you haven't already, will you click here right now and help me meet this Money Bomb Challenge with a most generous donation of $100, $35, $5, or whatever you can afford? 


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Monday, March 30, 2015

The electoral math of four parties competing over a seat

The number of serious contenders in a riding dramatically changes the electoral math of what it takes to get elected.

Normally in first part the post elections you have two primary parties competing for a seat which means a close race 45% of the vote is what is needed to win.  

When there are three parties competing for seat it take about 35% of the vote to win.   With only 35% of the vote needed to win, a seat can be won by a strong minority view point.

When you have four parties seriously competing 30% becomes enough to win the seat.  This sort of race makes it much easier for a small party to win seats because they do not need to try and reach the majority of the population.   A minor party with 5-10% of the vote in the past can realistically win in most four party races.  

In 2015 we will see four party races in the following areas
CPC. LPC, NDP and Greens:
On all of Vancouver Island other than Saanich-Gulf Islands, parts of the lower mainland,  Yukon, and some places in Ontario

CPC, LPC, NDP, and Bloc
About 25-30 ridings in Quebec

What it means is that in these 50 or so ridings no one will able to call any of them with any confidence.