Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Manitoba 2011 election results

Results map by riding
Manitobans went to the polls back on October 4, and returned an historic fourth straight NDP majority government. Never in the history of the province has the NDP been able to do that. Much like the 2007 election, the result saw very little change in terms of seat totals. The only net change was the NDP gaining one seat from the fledgling Liberals.

Polls going into the race showed a close race between the Tories and NDP. The final poll before the election, published by Angus Reid put the NDP at 46%, the Tories at 43% and the Liberals at 8%. This would have resulted in a decrease of 2% for the NDP and an increase of 5% for the Tories from the last election. This poll was extremely accurate, as the NDP did end up getting 46%, and the Tories did one better, getting 44%, while the Liberals got 8%.

Party Leader Popular vote % Seats
N.D.P. Greg Selinger 199066 46.2 37
Prog. Cons. Hugh McFadyen 188258 43.7 19
Liberal Jon Gerrard 32520 7.5 1
Green James Beddome 10886 2.5 0
Communist Darrell Rankin 179 0 0
Independents - 215 0 0

So, the Tories only lost by 2% in the popular vote. But the seat totals showed a different story. The NDP ended up winning 18 seats more than the Tories, or 37 out of 57. What happened? Well, as I mentioned numerous times in my Manitoba projections, Tory support is heavily concentrated in rural Manitoba. Meanwhile, turnout in strong NDP areas is very low. Those areas tend to be low income areas such as the north of Winnipeg, and northern Manitoba (which is also underpopulated to begin with). But still, with the Tories gaining in the popular vote, why didn't they gain any seats at the expense of the NDP? Well it appears, much of the Tory growth occurred in regions they were already strong in, resulting in no growth. They needed to change votes in battleground Winnipeg, but they were unable to do so.

Where I went wrong
With the Tories gaining, and the NDP falling in the polls (and in reality), it seemed obvious to me that the Tories would gain at least a few seats from the NDP. I did foresee a larger gain for the Tories in rural Manitoba, which happened, but what I didn't foresee was little change in Winnipeg. I thought that the Tories would gain a few of their old historical seats back. All in all, I got 5 seats wrong (91% accuracy), which isn't that bad, I'd say.

Dawson Trail
Dawson Trail was probably my biggest mistake of the night. Perhaps I would have been aided here if I had the transposition of the 2007 election results, because this is a brand new riding. I did however know going in that it was created from some of the more NDP friendly areas of the previous riding it was created from, La Verendrye. Perhaps I failed to realize that at least in this part of rural Manitoba (exurban Winnipeg, really), was not going to swing that heavily to the Tories. In total, I was off by an average of 10% from each party in my prediction (including off by 15% for the NDP).

Kirkfield Park
While I didn't pick the winner in Kirkfield Park, I did pick the outcome, and that was a statistical tie. I had both the NDP and the Tories getting 46% of the vote here, and both got 47%. Due to the seat's traditionally Tory leanings however, I felt most comfortable calling this for them. In the end however, it went NDP- by just 26 votes. In the end, I was only off by an average of 1% for each party.

Southdale I thought would behave much like Kirkfield Park. This traditionally Tory seat looked ripe for being taken back by the PC Party. Both seats were won by the NDP in 2007 by 11%, but from looking at the map, it appeared Southdale became a lot more conservative leaning after redistribution. The Tories did close the gap a little bit, but still lost the seat by 7 points when I thought they would win by 4. I was off by an average of 4% for each party here.

St. Norbert
If there was one seat that pundits thought would go Tory, but didn't, it was St. Norbert. The riding had been vacated by its incumbent, Marilyn Bryck, and redistribution made the riding more conservative. Also, the NDP had never held the seat prior to first winning it in 2003. The only advantage the NDP seemed to have was the fact they won this south Winnipeg seat in 2007 by 22%. The race was a close one all night on election night, flipping back and forth. In the end, the NDP won by 30 votes. I was off by 7% on average for each party.

Swan River
Finally is the rural riding of Swan River. I figured the large Tory swings in this part of the province would result in this riding going to the Tories. Prior to the 1980s, this seat had always voted Tory, but since then it has been an NDP strong hold. I figured it was time for the riding to back to its PC roots. I was wrong however, as the NDP won the seat by 15%, only a slightly smaller percentage than the 21% the NDP won by there last time. I was off by an average of 6% for each party. 

NDP popular vote % by riding
 The first three maps show the popular vote strength of the main three parties that contested in the Manitoba election.

The first map shows how well the NDP did in Manitoba's 57 ridings. As you can see, there's a clear polarity between the north and south in rural Manitoba. The sparsely populated north is dominated by the NDP, but the south is nearly a dead zone except for Dawson Trail and Bandon. In Winnipeg, where most of the seats are, the NDP did will in most seats, but especially in the working class north side of the city.

PC popular vote % by riding

The second map shows the Tory vote percentage by seat. In many ways it is just the inverse of the NDP map. Tory strength is concentrated in the rural south of the province, with their best ridings in the heavily German Mennonite communities of the Pembina Valley, where they broke 80% in two seats. In Winnipeg, the Tories only won a handful of suburban seats. The north side of the city is a waste zone for the party, where they often finished third, behind the Liberals.
Liberal vote % by riding

 The third map shows the Liberal support by riding. I apologize for mostly ignoring the Liberals in my commentary, but in effect, the party is on the brink of death in the province. The party won just one seat, that of its leader Jon Gerrard in River Heights. The Liberals are only "strong" in the central part of Winnipeg these days, the area where they used to win seats federally. They also did well in the northwest part of the city, where their other former seat was located. The only seat the federal Liberals hold in Manitoba is Winnipeg North, and much of the western part of that riding is easily visible on this map. That seat is represented by former MLA Kevin Lamoureux whose seat was abolished in redistribution. Much of that seat became Tyndall Park, where the Liberals finished in a strong 2nd place.  

Turnout % by riding
 Finally, the fourth map shows the turnout percentage by riding. Perhaps a better map to show how the NDP its votes would be to have a map showing actual vote numbers, but this is nearly as good. As you can see, the areas where the NDP did the best had a low voter turnout. Add to the fact that those northern ridings are already below the provincial average in population, and you have a recipe for a great electoral advantage for the NDP. That's not all to say that the strong Tory areas had a high turnout either, as you can see the central Manitoba region also had poor turnout. It seemed what motivitated people the most was close races, or the perception thereof. Just look at Kirkfield Park, Southdale, River East, Dauphin and St. Norbert for example. The riding with the highest turnout was River Heights, another closely watched riding featuring the Liberal leader and a strong Tory challenger.

I have been graciously emailed a map showing the raw vote totals by riding. It's not dissimilar from the turnout vote, but as I mentioned it highlights the structural advantage the NDP has in the province

Raw total vote by riding.

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