Party Cooperation (Nathan Cullen Proposal) - Simulations

Please see below for an explanation of how this tool's data was derived.
"Lit up" ridings are ones that could have been won if cooperation were used.

Voter Retention
(to Progressive Candidate)
« » Voter Drift
(to Conservative Candidate)
80% Progressive, 15% Conservative
70% Progressive, 15% Conservative
60% Progressive, 15% Conservative
Note: approx. same as EKOS data, May 2011
55% Progressive, 20% Conservative
50% Progressive, 25% Conservative
45% Progressive, 30% Conservative
40% Progressive, 35% Conservative

Riding Name

[info here]
Conservative: 135, NDP: 112, Liberal: 56, Bloc Québécois: 4, Green: 1
Conservative: 139, NDP: 111, Liberal: 53, Bloc Québécois: 4, Green: 1
Conservative: 143, NDP: 110, Liberal: 50, Bloc Québécois: 4, Green: 1
Conservative: 148, NDP: 107, Liberal: 48, Bloc Québécois: 4, Green: 1
Conservative: 160, NDP: 105, Liberal: 38, Bloc Québécois: 4, Green: 1
Conservative: 165, NDP: 104, Liberal: 34, Bloc Québécois: 4, Green: 1
Conservative: 166, NDP: 103, Liberal: 34, Bloc Québécois: 4, Green: 1

Following my last post in support of Nathan Cullen, I decided to take my cartogram tool, and simulate how Nathan Cullen's plan might work based on the past election results. I know how public opinion can change, and - who knows - support for the Conservatives may plunge, rendering the idea unnecessary... but I like that Cullen has even proposed it. It shows he can think strategically, and can adapt to changing political realities. Besides, the point here is simply to show visually how cooperation can be mutually beneficial to the NDP and Liberals and Greens.

So, I made 7 maps, showing how ridings may swing from Conservative to NDP or Liberal based on assumptions on how votes might be if a joint candidate was run. I have data using an average of 15-35% of "second choice" being Conservative, to 80-40% being to another NDP/Liberal/Green candidate (weighted to each based on the EKOS data).

So, at [15% Conservative, 60% Progressive] - which is roughly what the EKOS data had for second choices in the last election - 100 Green supporters in a riding with no Green or Liberal candidate would vote:

  • ~15 for Conservative
  • ~40 would vote NDP
  • ~20 who would have Liberal as their 2nd choice would then:
    • 10 would vote NDP
    • ~10 would not vote for anyone
  • ~25 would not vote for anyone

Similar behavior would happen for a Liberal supporter, or an NDP supporter in a riding with a Liberal candidate.

Even with this fairly substantial "atrophy" in votes towards the joint candidate (which may well not happen as severely if the strategy were clearly described in advance, and particularly not if candidates go with a joint-party label on the ballot), my simulations show clear gains for both the NDP and Liberals - enough to create a minority government where all progressive parties can benefit. Cullen correctly sees this as a win, even if the Liberals gain more seats; his goal is simply to get the NDP a say in government, when they didn't have one before - and then push for electoral reform.

As described in my earlier post, and in Stuart Parker's analysis - The Logistics of Cooperation - it is unlikely that Liberal, NDP, or Green supporters would drift in large numbers to the Conservatives as some of the candidates fear. Combine this approach with increased outreach to rural Canada, continuing to make inroads on traditional Conservative territory - this is clearly a viable strategy.

Even at [30% Conservative, 45% Progressive], the strategy could gain a seat. It's not much, but it's one extra seat - and it's unlikely Liberal/NDP/Green supporters would genuinely split towards the Conservatives in such great numbers. The NDP, Liberals, and Greens don't really have anything to lose from cooperating in this fashion (you can't lose what you don't have, and the strategy only applies to Conservative-held seats where individual ridings decide to attempt it), and much to gain... so, why not try it?

Then give us Proportional Representation, so everyone's vote can count and we can have a truly representative democracy.

  • NDP supporters: The NDP stands to gain a few extra seats from cooperation, but the real gain is a voice in Parliament. Still well-poised to form the head of a governing coalition - particularly if gains were made in "traditional Conservative" territory - the key is not shooting themselves in the foot by battling the Liberals and Greens.
  • Liberals: The Liberal Party was the worst affected by vote-splitting, particularly in Ontario. Party cooperation is likely to benefit the seat-count greatly, as is growing support in rural Canada. The Liberals should rally behind the idea of Proportional Representation, as one part of a platform of advocating democratic rights, fairness and compassion.
  • Greens: Party cooperation won't directly benefit the Green Party in terms of seats - but, denying the Conservatives a majority is a gain for their cause, as is the likelihood of the adoption of Proportional Representation so seat gains can be made in future elections.

Put another way - the traditional "go it alone" strategy is dangerous for all parties, as the electoral system is stacked against them. In a recent interview on CBC, Cullen said it best: "The idea that we can work with Liberals and Greens after an election, means that we can also work with them before an election. Especially when we're facing a Stephen Harper government. Let's get on with it."

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