Fun with Numbers: Wasted Votes
1. At first glance, it does appear the Conservatives have been a lot less efficient with their vote. If we say every vote over a 1-vote margin of victory is wasted, and every vote in a losing riding is wasted, the Tories "wasted" 3.5 million votes last election, compared to 2.6 million for the Liberals and 2.1 million for the NDP.
Of course, they also had a lot more votes to waste. As a percentage of their total vote, the picture looks a lot different - 68% of the Conservative vote, 73% of the Liberal vote, and 82% of the NDP vote was wasted (although some smart asses would argue 100% of the NDP vote is wasted...).
2. That said, the Liberal vote was more efficient than the Tory vote in both 2006 and 2004 - 69% of the CPC vote was wasted in both elections, compared to 67% and 64% of the Liberal vote.
3. There is some truth to the "Alberta super majority" argument. The Conservatives are wasting 23,000 votes a riding there, on average. Comparatively, the worst Liberal province is Ontario, with about 11,000 votes per riding being wasted. But the Tories are actually winning seats in Alberta which is, ya know, kind of the point of elections. So even if 77% of their vote in Alberta is wasted, that's still better for them than in Quebec (83%) and, as much as I hate to say it, 100% of the Liberal vote is being wasted in Alberta.
Add it all up, and Alberta drags down the Conservative efficiency percentage by 1.7%, and it drags down the Liberal efficiency percentage 1.2% - hardly a stunning difference.
4. Now, those are quite a few numbers...full marks if you're still reading at this point. So here's the money shot in all this. If we close the gap between the two parties, and set up a 32-32 tie, the seat total winds up tied. Well, actually, the Tories are up 111 to 109 seats but the Liberals are within striking distance in a lot more seats so, in the end, it would all depend on where the votes shift, how the Bloc and NDP do, yada yada yada. But the take home message is that a tie probably is a tie because, all things considered, both parties are getting a similar bang for their vote.
Labels: fun with numbers