Ian Reid’s guide to strategic voting

Don’t vote Liberal.  Really don’t vote Green.

That’s it, but there are one or two caveats: If you live in Ontario, what are you thinking?  Get on board.  If you live in one of the handful of absolutely safe Liberal seats outside of urban Ontario, who cares?  Go to the bar.

There is some thinking behind this, spurred by a 4 AM consult with the IPAD to check out the latest Nanos overnights.

There they were, in my own personal note from Nic Nanos – Nanos is finally catching up with Ekos and Angus Reid – three new polls showing basically the same thing – NDP in solid second, the Tories down a bit in real minority territory, and the Liberals tanking.

I love overnights.  It’s like having Scream 4 running constantly in your head, non-stop fear and anticipation buzzing between the ears 24/7.

Here’s how a poll like Nanos works.  Over three nights he builds up a coherent national sample, as the fourth day is added, the first day is dropped and so on and so on.  The thing about them is that each sample day can be out of skew – it’s only the three-day sample that isn’t.

That’s where the angst comes in:  You get really bad days and really good days.  To get a trend one way or another you need a few of these in a row.  You go up and down with the overnights but you have to wait to grasp the real trends.

What the hell does this have to do with strategic voting?

Nanos and the way his numbers roll in is perfectly suited to the kind of election that works for strategic voting.  That would be the last election.

Nanos is slow to catch the wave, methodologically so.  It depends upon a certain stability in the electorate.   When that stability disappears so does your confidence in the numbers – is it just a bad day or has something happened?  Do we respond or ride it out?

You can be sure that sometime last week the Liberal pollsters had a few of those bad days, couldn’t make up their minds what they meant and advised the campaign “ride it out.”  Big mistake.

Strategic voting also depends upon a certain electoral stability that allows you to say “this riding works like this, therefore if I vote for X it’s likely I can stop the Tory from winning. “

That stability is out the window right now.  Today, the only place in Canada where you might find Liberals who fulfill your strategic voting needs is in Ontario and if the polls are predictive rather than static (I believe they are predictive) that may be gone by the end of the week as well.

The Ekos table I posted yesterday shows why this is the case – the combination of first and second choices show the NDP is the only party in the country with serious growth room going into the last week.  The surge may well be in its early, not late phase.

Based on that here’s my take on BC:  There is almost no reason to vote Liberal in BC.  Fry will win, Murray is likely.  Otherwise the choice to stop Harper or elect New Democrats is one and the same.

Top ridings to watch:  Newton-North Delta, Surrey North, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, Nanaimo Alberni, Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, Vancouver Island North.

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4 Responses to Ian Reid’s guide to strategic voting

  1. Anne says:

    I recommend that people vote Green as hard as they can in Saanich-Gulf Islands to elect Elizabeth May. A small poll (N<400) by the Green party suggests it could happen.

  2. RossK says:


    I’ve come around.

    And I’m with you on VanIsle, even in Esquimalt. However, I have to agree with Anne above (although not because of that one well wurlitzered in-house poll) about Saanich.


    VanIsle riding-by-riding details over at my place for anybody interested.

  3. Ian says:

    Ross, I tried to post on your very good posts but had computer issues.

  4. RossK says:

    More to come Ian.

    Hope all is well.


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