Swing33.ca links to the donation pages of 33 candidates that could be key to the outcome of the upcoming election. The idea came from Mitch Anderson, who rents a desk beside the desk I rent, and who has an op-ed in the Tyee today explaining. I helped build it.
We’re not fans of the Harper administration, and we’d like to do something to boost the prospects of the leftist (and centrist) Canadian parties. There’s 308 ridings in Canada, but not all of them are likely to switch sides in 2011. Of those that are in play, not all are being seriously contested by a Conservative candidate. We had a look at the results of the last election and spreadsheeted out the ones where Conservatives came close to winning or close to losing. There are 33 ridings where there was less than a 5% difference between the Conservative and the top non-Conservative candidate. That’s our list. If you’re going to donate to a political campaign (and Mitch argues there’s good reason to), then you might want want to target it at campaigns that are likely to decide the number of Conservative seats in the next parliament. That goals feels important right now.
We did simple-ish math to pick out those ridings, and it’s not a perfect system. We’re using recent history as a guide and history doesn’t sit still. We’ve already spotted a couple of districts where local conditions have changed since 2008 such that the best contender probably isn’t the one Excel picked. Saanich — Gulf Islands is the most obvious to me. (Donate to the Greens there, not the Liberals like the site says.) A commenter at the Tyee has already called out Esquimalt — Juan de Fuca as another flub.
We’re considering aggregating that kind of localized knowledge, and/or bringing in contemporary polling data and providing an alternative curated list. Time is the limitation. In the meantime we didn’t want to make it any harder to understand what the site was about by adding exceptions to our algorithmic approach.
In sum: if you or someone you know can be convinced to pony up some cash to help facilitate a good outcome in this year’s election, Swing33 could provide some reasonable guidance for giving that donation the most impact. The Conservatives are far better fundraisers than any of their competition, so give it some thought. Links to the donation pages of 33 likely candidates are just two clicks away.