Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Link of the day: Strategic voting guide

I'm going to take a bit of a breather in anticipation of the debates, but in the meantime I found this handy tool over at Democratic Space which allows one to figure out how to vote if voting strategically. I agree with the site that one shouldn't have to do this and if we had proportional representation it would be completely unnecessary.

Go to the Strategic Voting Guide, which lists districts where it make sense to vote strategically in general. Then click on the party of your choice on the upper right of that page to find out whether you should be voting for your preferred party in your district, or another one to best ensure the desired result -- i.e. if you're a progressive, preventing a Conservative win; if you're a right-winger, preventing a Liberal win.

Could strategic or second-choice voting actually cause a different result? It certainly did back in 2004 when the Toronto Star predicted an extremely narrow win for the Cons -- 119 to 117. Enough Canadians were frightened of Harper to give it to the Liberals, 135-99. Could it happen again? With thirteen days left, I suppose anything's possible. Ekos said today that there are still 19% of Canadians who would switch their vote to prevent a Harper majority, including 14% of -- shock! -- Albertans. That's more than enough.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.


Pal Hal Pall said...

Progressive voting is the worst symptom of our disgraceful electoral system. And this is a reason I could never ever ever support the Liberals. I was and still am so throughly disgusted by the way they practically begged NDP voters to switch to them, and I will not be surprised when they do it again this time around. Because of the Liberals and the Conservatives, we will never get electoral reform.

BlastFurnace said...

Noamzs, I do have to agree with you that both the Grits and Cons have nothing to gain by supporting PR; and on that basis I can understand why you couldn't support the Libs. The only way PR's ever going to happen is if the NDP made it an absolute and non-negotiable condition of a coalition or alliance government.

The Lib Dems, in the UK, have the same perennial problem: They are by far the most common sense party, and they consistently poll between 25 and 30% nationally; but they haven't gotten much more than 65 seats in recent years because their vote is spread out, the Cons have a rural base and Labour has strength in the cities (or used to until recently). If Britain had PR, that party would have the balance of power and could then use that to catapult to power.

Second choice voting is, as I said, not much of a choice at all. But the alternative -- four more years of you know who -- is far worse.

Wayne Smith said...

It's not true that Grits and Cons have nothing to gain from PR. Our current voting system is bad for all voters and all parties.

In the last election, half a million Conservative voters in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal elected nobody, while half a million Liberal voters in Alberta elected nobody.

Our voting system rewards regionally based parties like Bloc and Reform at the expense of broad-based national parties like NDP and Greens. It pits the east against the west. It is bad for all Canadians.

Most "orphan voters", those who vote for losing candidates and are "represented" by somebody they voted against, are Lib or Con voters.

By the way, Fair Vote Canada is holding a contest, with cash prizes, to guess the number of orphan voters in this election.