Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Riding Close-Up:: Whitby—Oshawa

Jim Flaherty, MP Whitby—Oshawa Finance Minister

Spanky McFarland

Sean Hannity, Fox News

Lou Costello

Old school Lucky Charms leprechaun

Wee-Man {Jason Acuña}, Jackass

Rosie O'Donnell

Over on the Far and Wide blog last month, there was a post titled "Jim Flaherty Look-Alike Contest" that you can vote on. Above are the choices, plus I added two that crossed my mind:: Sean Hannity and Jason "Wee-Man" Acuña, from Jackass who is dressed up like an Oompa Loompa. I'm partial to Lou Costello or Wee-Man. Anyway, head over to Far and Wide to vote.

The Conservative MP for Whitby—Oshawa and Finance Minister might not have much to worry about, given he won by a large margin in 2008 {51% to 25.7% for the Liberals}. The riding is fairly new as it was formed in 2003 and went Liberal in 2004, before Flaherty took over in 2006 and won re-election in 2008. The challengers this time around are, alphabetically::

1.Trevor BardensLiberal

2.Rebecca HarrisonGreen

3.Trish McAuliffeNew Democrats

This article highlights the differences between the parties on nuclear energy, with the NDP and Greens being skeptical of the technology. Flaherty is in favour of nuclear citing the well-paying jobs that the industry brings to the area and the safety record at the two Durham-region plants at Pickering and Darlington. It's hard to say if this is a big issue in the riding, despite last month there being an incident at Pickering, albeit one with allegedly "negligible"amounts of radiation. Nevertheless, residents near Pickering {in the Durham riding} said they should have been notified. In light of the Fukushima situation after the tsunami in Japan, increased scrutiny and concerns about safety are likely to arise, regarding Durham area nuclear plants. The problem with industrial disasters like Fukushima or Deepwater Horizon is planning and readiness for a low-probability event. The low probability aspect can cause procedures and regulation to be laxed.

If Conservatives numbers start slipping in Ontario, this riding might be in play, but I have it as a +12Conservative {and -5Liberal and -5NDP} on my raw calculations for riding partisanship. This means that the riding voted Conservative on average for 2006 and 2008 at 12 percentage points above the Ontario average for Conservatives in 2006 and 2008. The riding voted NDP and Liberal at 5% below the 2006 and 2008 Ontario average for each party. The calculations are the same ones I used to develop the Swingdex for Ontario.
Partisan Index = (party riding average [2006, 2008]) — (party provincial average [2006, 2008]) 
Other Ontario ridings that were +12C or close to it are Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound {+12C, -8NDP}, Barrie {+11C, -5L}, Elgin—Middlesex—London {+11C, +0NDP}, Perth—Wellington {+11C, -1NDP}.

I decided to create maps based on the Oshawa-Whitby polling districts to see where the support was geographically. I first looked at voter turnout in 2008::

2008 Whitby—Oshawa Turnout Equations by party

The Conservatives do well in high turnout polling districts, while the NDP does not. There is no effect for the Liberals and Greens. The turnout in the riding in 2008 was 61% and here's a map of turnout by poling district::

Next, I created maps based on polling district partisanship. The calculations I've been using for polling districts are normed to the riding itself.
Partisan Index = (party polling district result [2008]) — (party riding average [2006, 2008]) 
I created 3 maps on the basis of Conservatives, Liberals, and the NDP, respectively::

I didn't standardize the metrics on the maps, so note the ranges. A positive index number is the degree to which the district "outperformed" for a party in 2008, given the average of the overall riding results for the party in 2006 and 2008. These maps show hotspots for each party. I've been to Whitby about a dozen times in the past few years. I wouldn't say I'm that familiar with the riding, but I know the broad brushstrokes. Conservative support is particularly strong in the north end of the riding, but support is spread throughout. The Liberal support is focused between Taunton and Dundas, while the NDP support is strong along the Oshawa border. I'm sure Chris Buckley in the neighbouring Oshawa riding wishes the boundary was one block from Simcoe.

Cyberpresse has great maps on its site for the 2008 election, which show which party "won" each polling district:: election maps, click to open in new window.
Use pull down menu to select riding

Twitterversion:: [blog+maps] #elxn41 #RidingCloseUp: Whitby— Oshawa, held by Jim Flaherty.Link2 @FarAndWide's Flaherty look-alike contest @Prof_K

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