Thursday, October 16, 2008

The implications of 59.1% times 37.6%

Getting 37.6% of a 59.1% turn-out means that Mr. Ordinary got the votes of 22.2% of eligible voters.

I couldn't find the post where I read this but there is a portion of the general population that believe all sort of crazy things (alien abductions, Area 51, positive opinions about Bush's performance) and seem to fall into the range of about a quarter. They may be nuts enough to support Harper but they tend to be energized about exercising their franchise. It wouldn't surprise me if their turn-out was in the high 70s low 80s for a candidate or party they think represents their views. Harper's vote total for this election might just allow us to quantify his base (probably about ~18-20% of voters).

If we accept the premise that his base is around 20 percent, all of his negative campaigning and ad hominem attacks on Dion impressed very few undecided voters.

This helps explains some of the steps Harper took to try and suppress the turn-out. Hope for the incumbency effect, have the election the day after Thanksgiving, do as much as you can to not motivate opposition to another term (oops on that one in Quebec). His slot machine commercials were designed to suppress the Liberal vote more than to convince soft Liberal support to come over to the dark side. His base will turn out time after time and he doesn't need to fool too many others to win. But for the Arts comment he would have had his majority.

Given the low Alberta turn-out (~50%) and the very few people I have found who will admit to voting for Rob Anders et al., I doubt if the generally stronger stated preference for Conservatives has swung the numbers that much.

As many others have pointed out, the poor GOTV effort by the Liberals cost them several seats if not the election. It also makes clear that to rise above left wing vote splitting and win the Liberals must craft a platform that minimizes Conservative increments to their base and capture the vote of as many Greens, NDP and others as possible. In other words be Liberals.

Not easy but not impossible either.Recommend this Post

No comments: