Saturday, April 30, 2011

The NDP's New Place in Canadian Politics

I've been documenting through EKOS second choice data the rise of the NDP in the Canadian political zeitgeist. I've been using multiplicative coreness in several posts, utilizing the social network analysis software UCInet {v.6.238}. In  these analyses a party is in the core if it is popular and has overlapping support of other parties. The latter demonstrates its appeal across ideological space.

The latest EKOS poll [pdf] released on 29 April has a second choice report {see below} and the following federal voting intent for committed voters:: 35.4% CPC ¤ 29.76% NDP ¤ 19.9% LPC ¤ 5.8% Green ¤ 6.8% BQ ¤ 1.9% other.

The pattern over time {see below} shows the rise of the NDP. Before the election, the Conservatives were in the catbird seat. Using a strict test of core versus periphery of mean ± the standard deviation of the coreness scores shows the Tories occupying the core because of their relative popularity and appeal as a second choice. {A more liberal test has the NDP, Liberals, and Conservatives in the core in all of the following EKOS surveys}.

           Bloc 16.6                        NDP 33.2 Liberal 49.7                      Conservatives 73.8
periphery< |------------------------- 34.8--------------------------| >core
               13.5                               mean                            56.1
                     Canadian Political Party Coreness, 10 March 2011, EKOS data
                                  mean= 34.8, standard deviation {σ} = 21.3

           Bloc 10.1                       NDP 46.5 Liberal 50.8                      Conservatives 68.1
periphery< |------------------------- 33.7--------------------------| >core
               10.7                               mean                            56.7
                     Canadian Political Party Coreness, 13 March 2011, EKOS data [pre-debates]
                                  mean= 33.7, standard deviation {σ} = 23.1

            Bloc 9.5                                 Liberal 45.2 NDP 51.9             Conservatives 68.8
periphery< |------------------------- 33.1---------------------------| >core
                 9.2                               mean                             57.7
                     Canadian Political Party Coreness, 21 April 2011, EKOS data
                                  mean= 33.1, standard deviation {σ} = 23.9

               Bloc 10.4                             Liberal 46.1 NDP 55.0            Conservatives 65.7
periphery< |------------------------- 33.5---------------------------| >core
                 10.2                              mean                             56.8
                     Canadian Political Party Coreness, 27 April 2011, EKOS data
                                  mean= 33.5, standard deviation {σ} = 23.3

            Bloc 10.0                                 Liberal 43.9 NDP 52.6             Conservatives 68.9
periphery< |------------------------- 33.4---------------------------| >core
                 9.9                               mean                             56.9
                     Canadian Political Party Coreness, 29 April 2011, EKOS data
                                  mean= 33.4, standard deviation {σ} = 23.5

The NDP leapfrogged the Liberals after the debates and are making their way towards the Conservatives, who have remained static.  What's the specific pattern of support driving the results? I decided to look at degree centrality for the latest EKOS 29 April data [pdf], which shows how a party is a second choice of those intending to vote for another party {InDegree} and how a party's supporters are considering others as a second choice{OutDegree}::

Degree centrality showing pattern of second choices. OutDegree shows second choice percentages for a party,
InDegree percentages show a party being chosen by other parties' supporters as a second choice. InDegree deviates from Second Choice overall in the top chart due to rounding errors.

The Conservatives still solidly own a large chunk of the Canadian political zeitgeist because of their relative support of 35.4%, but also because their supporters have a high degree of loyalty {with 76.3% not having a second choice}. About one-fifths of Canadians are Conservative supporters {OutDegree of 18.112%} who are considering other parties as a second choice. Note that the numbers show that the Conservatives relatively low InDegree {8.032%}, further evidence that the party has maxed out in its crossover appeal. The NDP is sharing support with other parties noted by the high InDegree and OutDegree, showing how the NDP has a great deal of crossover appeal. InDegree shows potential for conversions, so the NDP and Liberals have some maneuvering room over the rest of the weekend. Of course, turnout will be the key factor, as well as the ground game in many of the ridings.

Leadership & the NDP
Jack Layton has soared in the leadership category, according to the Nanos leadership index, statistically tied with Harper on "trust" and "vision", while being behind on "competence". I feel Stephen Harper's tenure as PM is giving him this advantage. The old paradigm that Layton is a popular leader of an unpopular party is being challenged. The NDP is now more popular than the Liberals, but how this will translate into seats remains to be seen. I'll be doing a post on Ontario vote splitting within the next day. My take thus far is that the fall in support of 
both the Liberals and the Conservatives in the GTA [see March 10 & April 29 EKOS polls].

Twitterversion:: [blog] Trajectory of #NDP mainstreaming in #cdnpoli. Party moving into core of political zeitgeist #elxn41 @stormbrew

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