Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Québec 2014: CAQ Vote Efficiency Up From 2012

The complete preliminary results are in:
LIB - 70 (41.5%)
PQ - 30 (25.4%)
CAQ - 22 (23.1%)
QS - 3 (7.6%)
With a uniform swing from last election, the seat distribution would have been LIB 76, PQ 35, CAQ 12, QS 2. Thus, from a projection modeling standpoint, the big news of this election is that the CAQ vote got much more efficient, allowing it to win 10 extra seats.

Consider the following:
- The CAQ gained 8 of the 9 ridings where it lost by less than 8% to the PQ in 2012 and that the Liberals did not win this time. The only exception was Rousseau, where outgoing Finance Minister Marceau held on. The only other CAQ gain was Masson, next door to Legault's riding. Therefore, it's as if the CAQ gained 8% on the PQ, even though the actual swing was only 2.6% (from a 4.9% gap to a 2.3% gap).
- The 5 CAQ losses to the Liberals were exactly the 5 ridings that it won by less than 8% over the Liberals in 2012. (The only other CAQ loss was Saint-Jérôme, where star CAQ incumbent Jacques Duchesnau, who did not run, was replaced by PQ star Pierre-Karl Péladeau.) Therefore, it's as it the CAQ fell by 8% relative to the Liberals, even though the actual swing was 14.3% (from a 4.1% gap to a 18.4% gap).
Taken together, the increased efficiency of the CAQ vote was worth a whopping 6% to the party! That is, if swing were uniform, the CAQ would have had to get about 4% more, equally from the Liberals and the PQ, to achieve its seat count of 22.

The increased efficiency of the CAQ vote is evidence that people do vote strategically when they can. It was hard to do in 2012 because both the CAQ and the electoral map were new. This time, however, potential CAQ voters had some guidance as to whether it was worth voting for Legault's party. This might have made the CAQ lose votes where it is uncompetitive, and gain votes where it is the main alternative to the PQ.

Of course, one could also attribute the increased CAQ vote efficiency to the CAQ leading a more focused campaign based on data from 2012. However, the PQ also had a very focused campaign, which did not prevent them from doing poorly where it focused.

How about the Liberal/PQ vote efficiency? It basically did not change compared to 2012. The PQ to Liberal swing was 16.9%, and there were 16 ridings that the PQ won by less than 16.9% over the Liberals in 2012 and that the CAQ did not carry this time. Of those, the Liberals won 14, the only exceptions being Bonaventure and Taschereau, which were both close. The only other Liberal gain from the PQ was Roberval, the riding of Premier-elect Couillard. Thus, the basic uniform swing model would have, as is often the case, done a fantastic job predicting seat changes between the two main parties.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Québec 2014: Last Polls, Four Scenarios, Prediction (just for fun), and Around the Web

Five firms have released polls conducted in the last week of the campaign (UPDATE: Changed the 3/31 Forum poll to the 4/3 Forum poll, released on 4/6):

Ipsos: 3/28-4/1, sample size 1012
EKOS: 3/27-4/3, sample size 1422
Léger: 4/2-3, sample size 1220
Forum: 4/3, sample size 1536
Angus Reid: 4/2-4, sample size 1410

Their numbers:

Ipsos:   LIB 37,    PQ 28,    CAQ 19,    QS 13 (committed: 40-28-18-12)
EKOS: LIB 40.0, PQ 26.3, CAQ 21.0, QS 9.6 (likely: 39.8-27.0-21.1-9.4)
Léger:  LIB 38.1, PQ 29.0, CAQ 23.4, QS 8.0
Forum: LIB 44,    PQ 24,    CAQ 23,    QS 6
Angus: LIB 39,    PQ 27,    CAQ 25,    QS 7 (likely voters only)

The big question is: will there be a "ballot box bonus," as there was in the three previous elections? If so, who gets it? In 2007, the ADQ (predecessor of the CAQ), third according to polls, finished second and almost formed the government. In 2008, the PQ unexpectedly won over 50 seats and almost prevented the Liberals from winning a majority. In 2012, the Liberals were four seats short of retaining power and ensured that the PQ was well short of the majority threshold, even though the last polls appeared to suggest a slim PQ majority.

I should note that in both 2007 and 2008, the "bonuses" noted above were relative to the last CROP and Léger polls, while Angus Reid actually turned out quite accurate. In 2012, Angus Reid did not publish a pre-election poll, while all four firms in the field underestimated Liberal support.

So, let's look at what each of these scenarios would imply. In all cases, I'm assuming 7% support for QS, whose result was at the lower end of the last polls in the last 3 elections. I did not build a seat projection model, so I will use the one provided by Too Close to Call, which was the best model in 2012.

1. Angus Reid is right again: LIB 39, PQ 27, CAQ 25
LIB - 70
PQ - 40
CAQ - 13
QS - 2
The CAQ saves most, but not all, of its seats. The Liberals win a moderate majority, while the PQ has its second worst showing in the last 7 elections.

2. Liberal ballot box bonus (2012 scenario, exemplified by Forum poll): LIB 44, PQ 24, CAQ 23
LIB - 87
PQ - 27
CAQ - 9
QS - 2
Best Liberal since 1989 and worst PQ result since 1985 - would be a terrible shock for the PQ.

3. PQ rebound (2008 scenario): LIB 36, PQ 32, CAQ 23
LIB - 57
PQ - 57
CAQ - 9
QS - 2
We'd be up very very late (even on the West Coast)! The efficiency of the PQ vote allows it to challenge for government status, even while the Liberals clearly win the popular vote.

4. CAQ momentum continues (2007 scenario): LIB 36, CAQ 29, PQ 26
LIB - 62
PQ - 33
CAQ - 28
QS - 2
Another scenario where we'd be up late, both to see if the Liberals win a majority, and to see who forms the official opposition. What would it mean for the PQ if it ends up as the third party for four years?

So there's an outside chance of a PQ minority, and an outside chance of a CAQ official opposition with a Liberal government. However, it is by far most likely that the Liberals will form Québec's next government, while the PQ as the official opposition. A majority appears more likely than a minority, but the latter would not be surprising.

Just for fun, here's my totally unsystematic prediction (not projection):
LIB - 67
PQ - 36 (same as 2007)
CAQ - 19 (same as 2012)
QS - 3

Here are some projections from the usual suspects around the web (UPDATE: Too Close to Call's projection is now available. UPDATE 2: Blunt Objects (Kyle) projection added, and ThreeHundredEight projection updated.):
Blunt Objects (Teddy): LIB 72 (38.2%), PQ 35 (28.0%), CAQ 14 (23.0%), QS 4 (9.2%)
Blunt Objects (Kyle): LIB 69.5 (39.8%), PQ 47.5 (29.4%), CAQ 6 (21.0%), QS 2 (7.7%)
ThreeHundredEight:     LIB 69 (40.1%), PQ 45 (26.9%), CAQ 9 (22.8%), QS 2 (7.9%)
Too Close to Call:        LIB 72 (40.2%), PQ 40 (27.4%), CAQ 11 (23.3%), QS 2 (7.4%)

Happy election watching!