Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wellington's fringe candidates

According to today's Free Press, both incumbent NDP MLA Conrad Santos and turfed nomination challenger Joe Chan are running as independents in the constituency of Wellington against Angie Ramos, who won the nomination race to stand as the NDP's candidate.

The Free Press quotes the Liberal candidate, Rhonda Gordon Powers, as saying "it gives me a lot of hope." A pal of mine seemed to confirm this by wondering out loud about Wellington.

Should the NDP be worried?

Last election, the NDP candidate received 74%. The Liberals came second, with 15%, while the Tories pulled up third, with 10%.
Conclusion: not exactly a horse race. However, the NDP's opponents are arguing that the election is a lot closer this time, right? Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and take a look at the numbers.

First, let's assume the worst-case scenario for the NDP: it drops province-wide from 49.5% in 2003 to 40% this year, while the Tories surge to 43% from 36%, with the Liberals sopping up about 15 points of the remainder (up from 13). Let's also assume that these shifts in support are consistent across every seat in the province.

Projecting these results to Wellington using the groovy Excel vote-shifting calculator I invented, we find the NDP at 65%, the Liberals at 20%, and the Conservatives at 13%.
Conclusion: still not even close, though we haven't yet considered the impact of the vote splitting.

Let's assume that Chan and Santos take votes only from the NDP and that they both do stunningly well for independent candidates. Let's say Santos gets 15% and Chan gets 10%.

Final results in a worst-case scenario: NDP 40%, Liberal 20%, Santos 15%, PC 13%, Chan 10%.
Conclusion: nothing to worry about for the NDP. The only question remaining is over just how bad the drubbing will be for the NDP's opponents.

More predictions coming soon - for all 57 constituencies!

Photo: Wellington, New Zealand, where rumours of Conrad Santos cycling have NOT been confirmed.

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