Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, November 2, 2015

Strategic voting (organizations) were a total waste of time

Update - Okay.  I changed the headline.  I didn't mean to hang all this shame on "strategic voting" as a whole.  This post is about "strategic voting" organizations that made a big show of things.  Myself, I voted strategically and I'm glad I did so.  This is meant to be an analysis of the "strategic voting" organizations.  So I changed the headline to better reflect that.

There was a lot of discussion about "strategic voting" leading up to the election.  And then nothing.  I guess that's what happens when the tight races lost due to vote splitting never appear due to one of the supposed vote splitters shitting the bed.

But still, I wondered.  And I was really bored last week so I decided to take a look.


There are hundreds of ways to go about this.  I decided to keep it simple.  I looked at the recommendations from the two major "strategic voting" organizations (i.e. the two that popped up when I googled "strategic voting Canada") StrategicVoting.ca and VoteTogether.ca.  Then I pulled the voting results from each riding from Wikipedia.  Then I made a few decisions on how to judge each riding:

Green = Right call in a close race and the recommended party wins
The "strategic voting" organization made the right call and encouraged voters to vote for the party that triumphed over the Conservatives, and the margin for victory was less than 5% of votes cast.  This is seemingly what the whole process was designed for.

Blue = Right call in a close race and the recommended party lost
As above, but the Conservatives won.  So...right idea but not enough.

Orange = Right call, not a close race and the recommended party wins
Just like "green", but the race wasn't close, with the winning party triumphing by a margin greater than 5% of votes cast over the Conservatives.  There's two ways to look at this one.  Either the campaign was so effective, the Conservatives got trounced.  Or the margin of victory was so large, the whole thing was a waste of time.

Pink = Right call, not a close race and the recommended party lost
Just like above, but the recommended party did not wind and lost by a whole pile of votes.  I feel more certain calling these a waste of time.

Now we get into the mistakes.

Yellow = Wrong call, but the Conservatives lost anyhow
So the "strategic voting" organization sent voters to the wrong party, but it didn't matter in the end.  Still...Not good.

Maroon = Wrong call and the Conservatives won
This almost needs further breakdown...maybe I'll take another look to see which races were tight.  Regardless, the "strategic voting" organization sent voters to the wrong party and the Conservatives ended up taking the win.  This is terrible.

I'll post the full results down below, but here is the summary.

Vote Together
Vote Together kept things tight, only making 29 recommendations.  That managed to make the right call (backing the party that either won or came in second to the Conservatives) 90% of the time.  Unfortunately, a full 7% of their calls were for the wrong party in a riding that the Conservatives ended up winning.  Ouch.  And 75% of the calls they made were in races that didn't end up being very competitive.

Strategic Voting
Strategic Voting made 141 recommendations in this election - that's over 40% of all ridings.  And it seems like their shotgun approach was not the right one.  They only managed to back the right party (the party that either won or came in second to the Conservatives) 84% of the time.  Still good for a solid B, right?  Hell no.  These jackasses had the opposite effect that they had intended 16% of the time!  Are you kidding me?  That's terrible.  And even when they did the make right call, 66% of the time it wasn't a close race!  Add those up, and 82% of the time they shouldn't have bothered.

Actual Close Ridings
Lucky for us, Wikipedia makes things easy and highlights the 10 closest races.
Note that in two of these races (Jonquiere and Hochelaga), the Conservatives did not factor in so "strategic voting" shouldn't have been a factor (Strategic Voting chimed in on Jonquiere anyhow - perhaps pushing the NDP over the Liberals as a result?).

I actually had to go back and look at this a few times, because it seemed pretty shocking.  Strategic Voting actually seemed to do okay here.  They made a recommendation in 7 of the 8 races they should have been involved in (and 1 recommendation in the two that they shouldn't).  However,  they did make the "wrong call" in one tight race, perhaps handing victory to the Conservatives.

Vote Together only managed to make a call in one of these races, and were nowhere to be found in 7 of the 8 tightest battles against the Conservatives.


You could really dive a lot deeper and make some more meaningful conclusions.  For me, the number of wrong calls made suggests that these organizations may have done as much harm as good.

A quick note to end on...there are undoubtedly some mistakes in here.  Feel free to let me know in the comments and I'll do my best to fix them up.  It was a lot of data and I'm sure I screwed up somewhere.

Full Data


  1. I am in Hochelaga.... is was a close race with the three main partys (NDP, Liberals and Bloc) at 30% each...

    The effect on strategic voting I saw is that the Liberal got so many more votes that what we could've expected. Hochelaga was with the Bloc for many years, but has been swept with Jack Layton's orange wave last election. This time, people didn't want the Conservatives in Ottawa, but I'm not sure they realised that it wasn't an issue in our district and they voted Liberal (my guess) to "strategically" vote against the Conservatives... ?

    1. Exactly. They didn't actually realize what was going on on the ground, so they made an unnecessary recommendation that might have changed the results. There was no threat from the Conservatives. This happened with 10-14% of all of their recommendations. That's too large an error, in my mind.