Sign in

We’re now more than halfway through the federal election campaign, and I think it’s fair to say that things aren’t going to plan for the Liberals. At the start of the campaign, polls were implying a 50:50 likelihood of them winning a majority government; if the election were held now, those odds would now be practically zero.

For a brief period last week, the Conservatives had taken a narrow lead in the central seat projection. That lead has since reverted back to the Liberals, but it is still well within the margin of error.

A few weeks ago I looked…


Under First Past the Post, a party can get a majority of seats in an assembly while getting well short of a majority of the popular vote. Canada’s last two majority governments, formed in 2011 by Stephen Harper and 2015 by Justin Trudeau, were won with vote shares fractionally below 40%, and this has been considered around the usual threshold in recent decades to winning majorities.

Going back through Canada’s history of majority governments, the one achieved with the smallest vote share occurred in 1997, when Jean Chrétien led the Liberals to his second majority government with just 38.5% of…


Justin Trudeau is not the first head of government in Canada to call a snap general election during the pandemic, not even bothering to deny that they’re only doing it because polls put them in majority territory. John Horgan (BC-NDP) and Blaine Higgs (NB-PC) both managed to convert minority governments into majority governments in their respective provinces off the back of a pandemic incumbency boost. Andrew Furey (NL-LIB) also managed to hold onto his majority lead in early polls, albeit barely, despite a wave of coronavirus interrupting the entire process.

Justin Trudeau is looking to follow in these three Premiers…


On Friday, Alex Salmond, the former Scottish National Party Leader and First Minister of Scotland, announced that he was launching a new pro-independence political party, to be called the Alba Party (“Alba” being the Gaelic word for Scotland). The announcement comes just weeks ahead of a general election to the Scottish Parliament, and days after a long-running row between Mr. Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, his successor as SNP Leader and First Minister, came to its climax.

If this new party is driven by the row between the two leaders, it’s not showing on the new party’s website. Rather, the party…


Election results as they stood at the end of election night

Canada’s 44th federal election is now over. With certain postal votes still to be counted, it’s clear that the Liberals’ attempt to convert its minority government into a majority has failed. He has, though, managed to hold onto his job as Prime Minister, with a House of Commons that looks much the same as the one he had dissolved just over five weeks ago.

But there are a number of questions still to be answered. What if Canada had used an alternative electoral system? How much did the People’s Party affect the results, despite them winning no seats? …


The big day is nearly here! Tomorrow, millions of Canadians will go to the polls to elect their new House of Commons, who will in turn decide who will form government for the next four years (assuming the person they choose as Prime Minister respects the length of that mandate, of course).

Poll closing times across Canada

As usual, there will be a series of rolling poll closures across the country, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the east to British Columbia in the west. …


Two years ago this month, following his defeat in the Conservative Party leadership election, former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier left his party to form the People’s Party of Canada. Before the election campaign started, the far-right party was polling only slightly above the vote share they achieved in the 2019 election. Over the campaign, though, support for the party started to grow, and while they do remain in the single digits in the current polling average, they have overtaken the Green Party in the majority of recent polls.

However, in a first past the post electoral system, this can become…


Given that it took 4½ days between the polls closing and Joe Biden reaching 270 electoral votes, you would think that this was a close election. But it wasn’t. It appears that Biden will win by the same electoral vote margin as Trump did four years ago, and in 2016, Trump reached 270 electoral votes in the early hours of the following morning, not four days hence as has happened this year.

I understand why one would not want to count postal votes before the polls close. But I see no reason not to get postal votes to a state…


With all of the discussion going on about polling, postal voting, legal battles, and various other things, it’s easy to lose track of one pretty straightforward question: what states do Joe Biden and Donald Trump need to win on Tuesday if they want to be President of the United States when we go to bed on January 20?

2016 Election Result: Donald Trump (GOP) 306, Hillary Clinton (DEM) 232. Impact of seven faithless electors removed.

To put this into context, let’s start by reminding ourselves what happened in 2016. When the faithless electors are put back to where they should have gone, Donald Trump finished with a relatively modest majority in the Electoral College. …


The 2016 election was the fifth time in American history that the candidate who received the most votes in the election didn’t win the Electoral College. This year, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, there is a range where Joe Biden can win the popular vote, while Donald Trump wins the election.

I wanted to explore whether there is a baked-in advantage that the Electoral College brings to one party or the other. I looked at the last half-century of presidential elections, and I’ve compared the nationwide popular vote with the result in the tipping point state. The tipping point…

Joe C

I am Joe. I am a techy at heart, a self-taught psephologist (political number cruncher), a pleasure cyclist, and someone who just calls things as he sees them.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store