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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Briefly, Some Inflammatory Numbers

It's done!

We've compiled a whole Excel file full of voting data and demographics alongside for each of the 107 Ontario ridings. We've already gone over how much this was a challenge, particularly for the eleven Northern Ontario ridings. As a result we're splitting up our reporting based on the whole of Ontario, the North, and the Rest of Ontario (ROO). If someone can come up with a better name for that, we're open to suggestions.

We thought we'd try it out by opening up another Excel worksheet and running some basic correlations just to see if it all made sense. Since the Ontario NDP, which managed to impose a minority government on the liberals due to its showing in 2011, will be looked at closely for the next few days, we thought we'd start with looking at how how it gained support.

These are correlations, of course, and we can't read too much into them. And the usual environmental fallacy caveats apply. But faced with an apparent absence of extensive exit polling in Canada, this is what we've got to deal with.

The Digits

Below is a graph based on the correlations we found based on Chinese residents, number of rented dwellings, and people "not in the labour force" in the most recent census (2001 for the North, and 2006 for the ROO), measured against raw vote totals (not "percentages of valid votes").

Toronto - Chinatown
According to this admittedly rough first sketch, the NDP managed to increase its support from the Chinese-Canadian community. Or to put it more accurately, they managed to decrease the negative correlation between Chinese-Canadian presence in a riding and total NDP votes.  The biggest jump was in the north, with more marginal gains down south. 

Changing NDP Support Graph
Click to Enlarge

Why did I pick Chinese-Canadians? Well, I met my friend during a recent campaign, so I wanted to amuse him later with some statistics about "his people", as he might put it bemusedly. It was the first demographic listed alphabetically, and I just wanted a visible minority group from the census.  

Perhaps more interesting is what's going on with "# of rented dwellings", which we'll use as a proxy for "renters". Unlike the Chinese community, the NDP started out with a positive correlation for rented dwellings in 2007 everywhere, that is, except in the north. But in 2011, they then lost some renters mostly in the Rest of Ontario, while in the North they actually made quite a big leap (though still ending up slightly negative). 

No trabajas aquíThe "Not in the Labour Force" numbers were interesting as well. In 2007, Ontario-wide, the NDP actually had a negative correlation for this group. Only in the Rest of Ontario was there a slight correlation in favour of the NDP. The North, however, did not see the NEET flocking to the NDP by any means (-0.587).

In 2011, a time of greater labour market difficulties, the NDP improved quite a bit on their score with those "Not in the Labour Force", with a marked jump in the North (going to -0.101). The Rest of Ontario saw also saw a large move toward the NDP, but one not nearly as dramatic. Province-wide, the party went from a negative to positive correlation.

Where to Go From Here

In the next few days, we'll be looking at some of the most significant correlations to party vote. We will also begin drawing up some rudimentary election projections and discussing some flaws with some of the existing models out there.

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