Don’t (Strategically) Throw Out Your Vote, Alberta

by Travis Gertz

I’m seeing several left-leaning Albertans considering a vote for the right-wing Progressive Conservative Party just to stop the insane but popular, ultra-right-wing Wild Rose Party from winning the upcoming Alberta provincial election.

There’s even a video made by some young folks (or PC supporters if you’re a conspiracy theorist) urging left-minded voters to use this strategy.

Even though I’m not technically an Albertan anymore, the consequences of this flawed logic scare the shit out of me. Alberta’s influence on the country is only getting stronger.

On the surface, the idea seems sound. Block the racist, homophobic, religious fundamentalist nut bags from getting any power by voting for the lesser of two evils. Too bad this is a complete fallacy. Here’s why:

Disclaimer: I am a graphic designer, not a political scientist. The actual political landscape is far more complicated and contains too many variables for me to make any kind of accurate prediction. But hear me out.

The PC and WR parties are very similar. Don’t believe me? Here’s a taste.

Let’s run though some basic numbers. This is what the 2008 Alberta election looked like:

2008 Popular Vote

2008 Seats
Source: Wikipedia

Notice that while Alberta is clearly a conservative province, 26.43% of the popular vote went to the Liberal party. Also notice that the Liberal party has nine seats, and the NDP party has two out of a total of 83.

I’m going to run a couple unscientific scenarios:

Liberal voters vote PC to block WR.

At this time, according to the CBC, polls are suggesting:

  • WR at 43%
  • PC at 36%
  • Liberals at 11%
  • NDP at 9%
  • 24% undecided

The poll article also suggests that this type of strategic voting would make it a virtual tie between the Tories and the Wild Rosers. But what does that really look like?

2012 PC Vote

2012 PC Seats

Presumably, we get a province split down the middle. Half crazy, and half ultra-crazy with the little power the left did have, completely obliterated.

Liberal voters vote with the strongest left-party in their riding.

Yes Wild Rose is in ‘power’, but look at that left opposition. I have no idea what the seats would look like, but I’d be willing to bet they could push out a few extra from the close ridings where PCs and Wild Rosers are now split. Even if the Liberals and NDPs kept the same seats, Conservative leadership would be divided.

In the following graphs, I’m taking the results from the 2008 election and simply splitting the PC numbers with Wild Rose numbers according to the latest polls. This is far from accurate, but still illustrates my point.

2012 Non-PC Vote

2012 Non-PC Seats

People who want to block the Wild Rose party by voting PC are forgetting that the government isn’t binary. It’s about proportional influence. A 50/50 PC/WR government isn’t “blocking” the Wild Rose government from any power, it just nulls all of the left’s.

Wild Rose is getting all up in Alberta whether you like it or not. Don’t destroy what little power we have by throwing your vote away on a false chance of hope.

Again. I’m a graphic designer, not a political scientist. These cute charts have very little to do with reality, and are more about illustrating my point that voting PC just to block Wild Rose is a mistake that will likely do more harm than good.

I would love to hear your opinion, especially if you think this line of thinking is off. We don’t have comments over here, so please Tweet me, Facebook me, write a response on your blog, write me a letter, whatever. I’d love to hear it.

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