Federal Election III: Could the Dippers overtake the Grits?


The Toronto Star is reporting on a fascinating dimension of the race; the narrowing gap between the NDP and Liberals.

Polls are fun to speculate over, especially this early in the race when there isn’t much else worth discussing.

Polls also influence elections; if even one poll shows the NDP ahead of the Liberals, the scripting of the election changes.

No longer will the Liberals be able to claim a vote for the NDP is a “wasted” vote. (With federal subsidies attached to the number of votes a party gets, there is no longer such a thing as a “wasted” vote anymore.)

The real bad news in this poll for the Grits is not the five point difference (Liberals 23% / NDP 18%), but the fact their support is widely dispersed. The NDP support is more concentrated in strongholds, whereas the Liberals do not have as many concentrated strongholds.

Concentrated support is more important than widespread support in Canadian Elections. The most vivid example is the 1993 federal election.

The Progressive Conservative party received 16.04% of the popular vote; only the Reform and Liberal parties received more votes.

Both the Bloc and NDP received less votes that the Progressive Conservatives. In the case of the NDP, the Progressive Conservatives had more than twice the votes; 2,186,422 compared to 939,575. The Bloc received 1,846,024 votes in Quebec.

The end result was 54 seats for the Bloc, 9 for the NDP, and only 2 seats for the PCs.

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Federal Election III: Could the Dippers overtake the Grits?

  1. The “Dippers”? Is that official Maclean’s jargon? Will you also be referring to the “Cons” and the “Lame-o-rals”?

  2. Great Googling, Carson. You found a couple of bloggers — apparently New Democrats — who call themselves “dippers” and this makes the term “non-derogatory” and “affectionate” in all contexts? Just like racial or homophobic epithets, for example? Joey Carson, you boys are so transparent that it’s got to be a bad joke.

  3. Rick,

    Your so busy looking to be the victim of a vast media conspiracy that you rarely stop to read what has been written.

    This post is actually beneficial to your party (the NDP) because the more media attention that is given to the narrow gap between the NDP and the Liberals; the harder it is to argue for “stratgic voting.”

    Another history lesson for you; the reason the NDP was devastated at the provincial polls in 2003 was large numbers of voters going Liberal to get rid of the Harris/Eves government.

  4. You also miss the point that the Blogging Dippers are the de facto blog wing of the party.

    I guess Conservatives should get worked up over the Blogging Tories!

  5. The Blogging Dippers is a network of dozens of bloggers who are generally supportive of the NDP or the general policy agenda of the party. The name is used in the same context as “Blogging Tories“ or “Liblogs.“

    And yes the term does at times have nagative connotations but to suggest that the term Dipper is to be taken along the same lines as racial or homophobic epithets is just bizarre!

  6. The Liberals used to hold a great amount of strongholds in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau and Vancouver. But since then they lost some ridings such as Outremont (NDP), Parkdale (NDP) and Gatineau (BQ) which had voted Liberal for all but one election before (mostly 1984, which was their worst electoral defeat ever), we can only wonder which one will fall next.

    And when electionprediction.org puts Hull-Aylmer in the “too close to count” category, even though Liberals have won every election there since 1917, you know things are not going well…

  7. too close to call, I mean

  8. So close and yet so far.

    That is one excellent example of the problems of First-Past-The-Post. You need to go all the way and throw some support behind Proportional Representation.

    Imagine – a system where the percentage of the popular vote determines how many seats a party holds! Imagine, governments and opposition parties with a broad base of support instead of regional blocks vying against each other.

    In 1993, the Libs held 177 seats with 41.24% of the vote, the BQ was the official opposition with 54 seats and 13.52% of the vote, Reform had 52 seats with 18.69% of the vote, NDP had 9 seats with 6.88% of the vote, and the PCs had 2 seats with 16.04% of the vote.

    A rip off of immense proportions. Under proportional representation, the seat totals would have been:

    Liberals: 122
    Reform: 55
    PC: 47
    BQ: 40
    NDP: 20

    With 5% of the remaining vote distributed amongst other parties. Given that none of the remaining parties got more than 3% of the vote, the remaining seats would have been proportionally distributed to the elected parties (how depends on which system of PR).

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