## Leftist long-division October 8, 2008

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Professor Judy Rebick of Ryerson University looks at the polling numbers and points out that a coalition government of the three left-wing parties (the Liberals, the New Democratic Party, and the Green Party) with the Bloc Quebecois would undoubtedly defeat the Conservatives in the upcoming October 14 election. Would it really require all four parties?

I don’t think it would. In each of three polls ending 2 October posted on NoDice.ca, the three-party left could take a majority of the popular vote with a fair margin of error in their favour. (The numbers are: 52% left coalition, 37 Conservatives, 9 Bloc; 57, 35, 10; and 54, 36, 9.) Of course, the caveat of distortion from taking the popular vote rather than the riding-by-riding vote applies. The seat projections at NoDice are nearly a month out of date.

So here’s a simple approach: I mapped (in OpenOffice.org Calc) the popular vote for each party, the number of seats, number of seats divided by percentage of the popular vote, and percentage of the popular vote per seat won. (I threw out the Conservatives’ 1993 number, since 2 seats and 16 percent of the popular vote skewed the numbers badly.) I then averaged the Seats/Percentage numbers over the last 5 elections to find the coefficient of the popular vote.

The coefficients are:

BQ:4.18

Liberal:3.92

NDP: 1.52

Based on incumbency advantage, I’m going to arbitrarily adjust the Conservative coefficient upward 50 basis points to 3.26. I’m also going to arbitrarily issue the Greens 5 seats, because their lack of representation makes it impossible to find a coefficient. Thus distributed, I multipled the coefficients by averaged current support based on the 3 polls and rounded. The seats (accounting for 292 seats) are:

BQ: 40

C: 117

L: 97

NDP: 28

Green: 5

Under these numbers, a Liberal/NDP/Green coalition would have 130 seats – not a majority, even of the smaller number of distributed seats, but still more than the Conservatives.

This is NOT A PREDICTION, though. The numbers are utterly lacking in rigour. It was merely meant as a very rough demonstration that the Bloc would not be necessary for a coalition government by the left.