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Friday, 8 February 2013

By-Elections: Windsor-Tecumseh and Sudbury within NDP Commuting Distance

Finance Minister Dwight Duncan holds a media avail to highlight Ontario Liberals' strong plan to create jobs
Forward Together, just not with me.
Strange things are afoot in the Liberal cabinet. Dwight Duncan, the Finance Minister of Ontario, and MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh has just announced his resignation from his seat in Queen's Park, as has Energy Minister Chris Bentley, of London West. Likewise, another cabinet official, Rick Bartolucci, has just stepped down and will vacate his seat at the next general election.

These resignations will present some enticing opportunities to the opposition.

Bums on Seats

As the title of this entry suggests, we at OntarioProjections seem to think that the NDP has a chance to steal this seat from the Ontario Liberals, as well as Sudbury.
But let's be careful. We've shied away from constant projecting of elections because we have come to view the exercise of projecting elections on the scale of individual electoral districts as pseudo-science, or at best fan fiction.

It's one thing to be Nate Silver and pour over American state polls and state voting and come up with an electoral vote total that sounds reasonable. It's another thing to look at small ridings in a much smaller country, especially when the ridings change boundaries every 8-10 years (unlike states), toy around with some percentages using 4th grade math and be able to see the NDP wave of 2011 (lotsa votes equals lotsa seats!). On the other hand, in a country with First-past-the-post representation, it's always handy to hear what polls "mean" through some rough sketch or another.

That said, we've put together some new projection models for Ontario using several methods (see: UKPollingReport), and we'll likely be adding to their complexity soon.

If we take the current polling levels proffered by ThreeHundredEight, the various models we've whipped up give the NDP a gain in two of the seats.

At these historically high polling levels for the NDP, London West is within striking range, but even then, it will requires a bit of a push.

The PCs are non-players here.

Since only London West and Windsor-Tecumseh would be up for by-elections, the result would likely be one gain for the NDP, and one hold for the Liberals. That is, of course, assuming that a general election doesn't happen first.


Like we said, these require a lot of assumptions. One is that turnout levels remain constant for by-elections (obviously a dangerous presumption) or that turnout changes will be evenly distributed among the parties. Another assumption: the current levels of support among the various sections of the electorate remain fixed at 2011 levels. Obviously, that's never going to be the case. This can be corrected for by pollsters with weighting and sampling. But it's no coincidence that a lot of the psephologists out there have been inspired by geodemographics and taken a socio-economic turn. So we're back to throwing darts, and hoping that most of the time, the biggest numbers equal the most seats.


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