"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The entrails

From last night's Labrador West by-election:

1. Everyone looks at the voter turnout rate. No one looks at the voter turnout change. The rate was 54% of eligible voters casting their ballots. But that's still 81% of the turnout that cast ballots in the last general election. By comparison, the same figure for Humber Valley was 83%, for Port au Port 78%, Ferryland 61%, and Kilbride, 51%.

Not coincidentally, if you rank the districts according to how well they retained voter turnout, they line up in the inverse order of margin of victory for the winning candidate: Humber Valley, less than 1%, Labrador West 11%, Port au Port 27%, Ferryland 56%, Kilbride 64%.

Moral of the story: if more than one party mounts an exciting campaign, more people will come out to vote. Conversely, if people feel they can predict the outcome, fewer of them will vote. Hardly rocket science.

2. Despite the reduced turnout in each of the recent by-elections, and despite the fact that the Tory turnout has been the most depressed of the major parties in each of the other four held this year, Baker polled more votes, numerically even, than Letto did in 2003, marking an increase of 524.

3. The NDP vote went kablooie, running totally counter to the conventional wisdom, which managed to develop between the day of the IOC strike vote and the by-election vote, that a strike at IOC would help the NDP. The Dipper vote was down by a numerically whopping 1522 votes, and in percentage terms, by an absolutely fatal 25%.

4. At the gory political feast held on the carcass of Randy Collins' career as an MHA, The Tories picked up 19%, the Labrador Party 4%, and the Liberal campaign 2%.

5. So much for debates. Popular wisdom (see above) had Oldford winning the debate hands down.


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