Sunday, January 15, 2012

Numbers wonk with a crystal ball.

There are patterns to politics, especially surrounding majority governments. My disclaimer is that this post is simply an analysis of what *usually* happens, statistically after a majority government.

Of 41 sittings of Canadian Parliament, a full 30 of those have been majority governments. Broken down by party, it plays out this way:

Liberal majorities:

Conservative (including pre-1894 Liberal-Conservative) majorities:

Majorities since 1894:
Liberal: 11
Conservative: 6

Broken down statistically, the percentage chance of *any* party getting the following results after a majority are:
Repeat Majority: 52%     Minority:  10%
Opposition Majority: 31%  Minority:  7%

Thus, there is an 83% chance that we will have another majority in the next election, Liberal or Conservative (or NDP, if that's even possible), and a 17% chance of a minority. There is a 62% chance that the Conservatives will form the next government. These statistics, broken down by party, though, are skewed by the powerhouse that has been the Liberal party of the past hundred years.

Liberal majorities were able to be re-elected, as a majority, 8 times, or more than 51% of the time. And the other 50% is broken up equally between a minority re-election (twice) and a flip to the Conservatives, in majority (three times) and minority (twice).

The Conservatives are close to that statistic also, but with much fewer occasions, 50% re-election, and two flips to the Liberals.

I am much more interested in the pattern of Conservative majorities, post 1945, though, as I believe it has more bearing on what we can expect. Trolls, from the right, will say that I'm skewing the numbers by limiting it, but my retort will be that politics has changed. More and more power is being concentrated in the PMO, and less with Parliament, and voters are able to converse across longer distances, making regional politics more likely to influence re-voting patterns than a hundred years ago.

For those who say that this is a 'new and improved' Conservative Party, (the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, or CCRAP) I believe that while different from the previous Progressive Conservative Party, it is drawing on the same voter base as its genesis parties, and so I freely use the statistics from their predecessors. Don't read if it bothers you.

Using only the data since World War 2, Conservatives repeating their majority is much less likely:
Repeat Majority: 33%     Minority: 33 %
Opposition Majority: 33%     Minority:  0%

Liberals, have an overall record that is actually better since 1945 with majorities:
Repeat Majority: 55 %     Minority: 18 %
Opposition Majority: 8 %    Minority: 18 %

So where is this going? My completely arbitrary predictions for the next election, which, I must say, is three years away, and is based on all the related factors such as the Liberal chances in Quebec, the plight of the NDP to keep their party together, and the Liberal choice of leader.

The next election will also be heavily influenced by the actions of Il Duce.  Harper's ability to do vile things while nobody cares, historically, has been the death knell of parties, even if they suck up in their last two years.

Majorities that have generally been back-to-back have been the ones that acted like minority governments, engaging in debate. The recent ones to fall heavily into an opposition majority from their own majority have been Mulrooney, Trudeau, and Diefenbaker, all somewhat autocratic. All hinges, of course, on young people voting, which, if Harper pisses off gays and lesbians, and messes with the environment, is bound in itself to have him ousted. I think we can see which way this is going.

So my predictions are as follows (not to be altered as the three years play out):

Conservative Majority:  5%

Conservative Minority:  25%

Liberal Majority:  20%

Liberal Minority:  50%

There you have it. Let's see if I have a crystal ball after all ;)

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