Saturday, April 14, 2007

Expandable Stephen's Giant Super Nova


One of the most rollicking recent discussions we've had around this tiny little patch of the bloggodome occurred after I brought up the issue of uniting Lotusland's Left in common cause to stop the Cons' total destruction of the country formerly known as Canuckistan.

And while a number of folks presented powerful arguments on both sides, I was ultimately dissuaded when longtime Greenster Briony Penn became the Liberal candidate for Saanich and the Utopias.

Which, looking back on it now, was clearly a prelude to the quid from the pro Pols that has now become the cacaphonous quo of Elizabeth May's Lib-free candidacy in Central Nova.

Now there has been all sorts of discussion about this, the latest bit of backroom bootstrapping, from the Dionistas.

Case in point - there has been little else to read over at the ProgRockers aggro-blog for the last couple of days.

But, despite all the back-and-forth, there has been a real dearth of brass-tacks, cold-cash, hard-numbers talk about whether or not Ms. May can actually prevail over Little Peter MacKay.

As usual, the place to get a really solid take on that kind of thing is Greg Morrow's Democratic Space.

And he thinks May actually has a real, solid chance at the brass ring:

People typically look at previous results and see the Greens so far back that they discount the possibility that May could actually win. People would be wise to re-think that position. I, for one, think it’s certainly possible for the Greens to win.

Why? First, MacKay performed surprisingly poorly in 2006, winning by only 3,273 votes over NDP candidate Alexis MacDonald in a riding that should be a Conservative lock. Put another way, 60% of Central Novans voted for someone other than Peter MacKay.

Secondly, another thing to understand is that a party’s performance in a given riding depends on whether it is targeting that riding or not. And the more money spent, the more their message gets out. There is a reasonably strong correlation — though not linear to be sure — between how much is spent and how many votes a party receives. Look at what happened in 2006 in Central Nova:

Party Candidate Spent % of Max. Votes $ per vote
Peter MacKay $56,051.90 74% 17,134 (40.7%) $3.27
Alexis MacDonald $30,275.27 40% 13,861 (32.9%) $2.18
Dan Walsh $42,271.56 56% 10,349 (24.6%) $4.08
David Orton $901.04 1% 671 (1.6%) $1.34

As you can see the Greens ran a candidate here but it was not a serious campaign, spending virtually nothing, while MacKay spent 3/4 of the maximum allowed (which was $75,650.95). I have no personal knowledge about what they will spend this time, but you can bet that this will be one of the few ridings that the Greens will target, so you might expect the Greens to spend close to the maximum here this time around. This will surely force Mackay to spend the maximum this time, but I think most people know the CPC message here and are of course very familiar with MacKay himself, so more CPC spending here will not likely raise their vote total to a great degree.

Mr. Morrow then goes on to show how the Greens have been able to raise their percentages significantly when they pour money into a riding (ie. see the recent London North by-election) and then talks about how Ms. May's weird, but saleable, triplefusion of enviro/progro/fisco responsibility could suck off some of Mr. McKay's non-Con old Red-Tory vote in Nova before closing with a detailed discussion of how the numbers could move:

So the Liberals are not running a candidate here. A warm relationship between Dion and May suggests that a good number of Liberals in Central Nova will probably be comfortable voting for May. Let’s say 3/4 do — that’s about 18% for May from Liberals, and let’s say another 4% for MacKay and another 2% for the NDP. If the Greens spend the maximum here vs virtually nothing (a 75-fold increase!) — we might expect their vote share to naturally increase from 2% to the 14% range (FYI, a 32-fold spending increase in London North Centre resulted in a 5-fold vote increase, so a 75-fold spending increase may result in a 7-fold vote increase). The Green vote is typically drawn from all three parties in roughly a 2 NDP:1 Liberal:1 CPC relationship. So that brings May to about 32%, MacKay at 40% and the NDP at about 28%. The NDP is currently running about 3% lower in the polls as compared to the 2006 election, while the Greens are running 3% higher. Factoring that in, we get Mackay 40%, May 35%, NDP 25%. But the NDP is not re-running Alexis MacDonald, who performed well last time. This suggests that we might expect a drop in the NDP vote. And since there is no Liberal candidate, we can expect most of that drop to benefit the Greens. So if the NDP drops another 5% because of a weaker candidate, then we have Mackay 40%, May 40%, NDP 20%.

What this suggests is that Central Nova will be a hard-fought close race.

Update: just to be clear. I am not saying May will win. I’m just saying that based on a rough analysis, it should be a close race and people who think otherwise might want to take a closer look.

Now, I think the real wild card here is not who the NDP runs, but how On-the-Fence Lefty voters, people like me, who have a healthy skepticism about the true feasibility of some of the fusionary aspects of the Green platform but who also really, really wants to stop the Conning of the Country, ultimately reacts.

But, regardless all that, let's just pretend for a moment that Ms. May and Mr. Harper BOTH win.

Just let that sink in for a moment.......

And then, while you attempt to suppress the bilious bile from boiling-up and bursting your brainstem, consider this.

Would the ever-expanding Mr. Harper and his Death-Star Rangers really be upset by such an outcome?

The extremely responsible Cowboys and think not:

My better angel tells me that the Green Party should be in the House and that this display of post-partisan partnership demonstrates that St├ęphane Dion is a bigger person than some of us (and a much bigger person than Jack Layton.)

The bitter angel tells me that the party should run 308 candidates regardless of the outcome.

The better angel does some work on the bitter angel

Reminding the bitter angel that the last Liberal MP for the riding was Roseanne Skoke, the better angel makes this post-partisan arrangement look better and better.

Sometimes a name on the ballot wins.

Doing Stephen Harper's dirty work

Conspiring to defeat MacKay, as May and Dion have done, may give Stephen Harper the opportunity to rid his cabinet of the dead weight that MacKay represents.

It could be exactly what Harper needs.

Could it be that Stephen Harper is the only winner in this new relationship?


You can let those brain bubbles burst now.


Feel better now?

I sure don't.


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