Thursday, October 29, 2015

Barnstorming the strategic vote

CBC : Liberal voters in Victoria confused after candidate drops out
"Jean Oliver lives in Victoria and is a long time Green Party supporter. But in advanced polls, she decided to vote strategically, and cast a ballot for the Liberals by ticking Thomas's name.Oliver is worried that less informed voters will be casting ballots Monday based on misinformation."
I worry about that too. Three things to note here :
The "long time Green Party supporter" in the Victoria riding decides to "vote strategically" for the Liberals even though :
  1.  the Liberal candidate Cheryl Thomas had withdrawn from the race three weeks before
  2.  the Liberals had come in third or fourth place in that riding in the past three elections
  3. the voter's first choice, the Green Party, had come second in the byelection one year before and strategic vote proponents projected a similar ranking for this election. 
In the end, 8,489 votes were strategically cast for a Liberal candidate who had dropped out, more than the party received in the previous two elections, one of them a byelection, and more than the margin of difference between the first and second place NDP and Green candidates. 

Graphic from Wikipedia

Manipulating the strategic vote ...

A month ago, "10 ridings where strategic voting might decide the election" at Global News explained how Conservatives in this same Victoria riding would benefit from voting strategically for the Green Party in order to oust the NDP incumbent : 
"Conservative voters could vote strategically, if so inclined, in Victoria, where NDP MP Murray Rankin won a close byelection over the Green Party three years ago.
A Green Party win in Victoria wouldn’t directly help the Conservatives. But it would take away one seat from the NDP—and in an election this close, one riding could make a big difference.
Two months prior, former BC Premier Gordon Campbell’s long-serving chief of staff penned a column entreating people to eschew strategic voting and vote Green Party.
In the last provincial election, the BC Liberals bought a full page ad in the Victoria Times Colonist promoting the BC Green Party leader as a principled alternative to Christy Clark in a blatant attempt to split the vote between Greens and the NDP, then leading in the polls.

All voting is tactical. Strategic voting is the moniker commonly used to mean supporting a candidate other than your sincere preference in order to block a candidate or party you dislike.
Its popularity is helped by a media happily promoting a poll-driven "who's the most popular leader/" horse-race approach which results in voters imagining they vote in their local ridings for some distant party leader.  

In December in the HoC last year, Justin Trudeau voted against an NDP motion to bring in some form of mixed member proportional representation as recommended by the federal Law Commission, stating his personal preference for a ranked ballot system that would - he did not say - mostly benefit the Liberals. He then campaigned on ending the First-Past-the-Post system that just gave his party a majority government by the same percentage the Cons got theirs last time round. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So just like SGI in 2008 but without the robocalls.

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