A Lefty Website for Strategic Donation

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.


Thanks for doing this! Are the Liberal, etc. parties aware of this so they may promote it as well?

Greens’ polling inaccurate on Saanich – Gulf Islands. Liberals have best chance of winning.

Green polling errors explained on their site here: http://www.greenpartystrategy.com/articles/saanich-gulf-islands-poll

hi Sharon, we haven’t explicitly contacted any parties or candidates. We’re aware of at least a couple that have heard about our site. Thanks for you thanks, it’s appreciated.

Hi SK, the article you point to is interesting if it’s accurate. It’s not clear to me exactly which poll it’s commenting on, but apparently it’s not the poll that was conducted in fall of 2010 and showed May as the strongest non-Conservative candidate. We’ll look into it further.

Hi SK – I know this poll – it is from summer 2010. If you read the full report the OraclePoll results actually do show Elizabeth May in the lead. This is consistent with our SGI polling data over the past 6 months. All studies I know of show that SGI is clearly a two-way race between Elizabeth May and Gary Lunn.

DETAIL: The specific OraclePoll result you refer to as showing a Liberal lead is not really a valid test of Green support. That particular party support question was run before most residents knew the names of candidates in the riding, and did NOT mention that Elizabeth May or any other candidate were running; it simply asks about support for national political party.

This was a reasonable question for OraclePoll to ask back then because it allowed them to assess the baseline of support for parties prior to introducing the candidate name.

And this is the key point: when the OraclePoll questionnaire does ask about party preference in conjunction with actual candidate names, Elizabeth May is immediately thrust into the lead. OraclePoll reports a distribution of 29% Elizabeth May, 27% Gary Lunn, with the Liberals, NDP and Other running behind.

Moreover, the OraclePoll uses a relatively simple approach to
weighting (understandable due to a likely lack of budget). Oracle appears to have weighted for just 2 cells (Gulf Islands vs. Rest of riding). In comparison, the McAllister poll calculated precise weights for a full 36 cells within six SGI CSDs, accounting for gender, age and 4 divisions of geography in Saanich penisula and 2 divisions on the Gulf Islands. Oracle actually notes that they did NOT apply even their coarse weighting scheme in their report.

Bottom line: when you do look at the relevant question, OraclePoll shows Elizabeth in the lead or statistically tied. This is consistent with the polls we have run in the riding in the past 6 months. SGI is a two-way race between Elizabeth May and Gary Lunn.

SK: the article you’re referring to is from last summer — August, 2010. I think things have changed since then.

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