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Alberta Politics

the winners: great alberta election prediction pool.

Alberta-Election-Leaders-Debate-2012
The Party leaders.

On Monday, Albertans went to the polls in what was expected to be a historic turning point in our province’s electoral history. It turns out that history likely only remember this election as one that extended the Progressive Conservatives 41-year old reign.

More than 190 people entered the joint daveberta.ca and CalgaryGrit Great Alberta Election Prediction Pool, but like nearly all the pollsters and pundits, most entries were far away from the actual results on election night (I placed 177th and Dan Arnold placed 114th in the pool).

Each prediction received 87 points minus one point for each seat you are off per party, plus two points per correct bonus question (see the questions here).

The two overall winners Marie and Tom, who left comments on this blog, earned 87 points each and will be contacted via email (if I am unable to contact them, the next placing entrant will be contacted and offered the prize). Prussian Prince, who answered 9 of the 10 bonus questions correct, will also receive one of the prize packs generously donated by Robert Vollman. Looking at overall points earned, the top ten contestants in the pool are:

Marie (87 points)
Tom (87 points)
Alexis MacMillian (83 points)
Blake Robert (81 points)
Kyle Olsen (81 points)
Andrew F (75 points)
Ryan (73 points)
SaraEdmonton (73 points)
Gwen May (71 points)
Kristin Stolarz (71 points)

The day before the election, we released the means and averages of the pool, which at the time had more than 100 entries. The average of the seat count predictions had the Wildrose Party with 42 MLA’s, the PCs with 37 MLA’s, the NDP with 4 MLA’s, and the Liberals with 3 MLA’s. A majority of the entries predicted that cabinet minister Ted Morton would be defeated in Chestermere-Rockyview and that Premier Alison Redford would be re-elected in Calgary-Elbow.

Thank you to everyone who entered the pool. Any entrant who is curious how they placed can send me an email at david.cournoyer@gmail.com.

6 replies on “the winners: great alberta election prediction pool.”

I dunno, Blake may just have been trying to fix reality to improve his standing in the contest. Winning the Daveberta / CalgaryGrit contest is serious business.

Could you post the correct answers to the bonus questions, for those of us who don’t have time to crunch the numbers ourselves? Thx.

Yeah! Well that was fun. I got a few chuckles from people when I said I thought the PCs would get over 60 seats. Now I can tell all my friends that I am a political pundit 😉 thanks for the contest Dave!

In the interest of full disclosure, I was very actively involved in politics for about 10 years. However, I am no longer privy to any sort of “insider” information. Here is the rationale behind my 2012 Alberta Election prediction:

There is no question Danielle is very bright, articulate, media-savvy, and a quick learner. However, a part of my concern for her becoming the WR leader was that she had zero political instinct. Although she did bring in some pretty big CPC guns, political instinct is something you learn (and earn) through working on election campaigns. It’s not something you can learn by rote — regardless of how experienced your “experts” are.

I’ve always said that provincial and federal political activists are two entirely different kettle of fish and that you can’t take everything the CPC does and just directly apply it to Alberta and expect the same result.

As far back as 2010, I heard the WR’s key message of “We’re going to form government.” Given Danielle and the entire WR organization were brand new and having never been election-tested, I thought this made the WR come across as even more arrogant than the PC’s. I have always said their key message should’ve been, “We’re doing everything we can to earn the trust and respect of Albertans to become the official opposition.”

Since 2010, I have been saying, “it’s 1965, not 1971.” I’ve always said the WR should aim for 8 – 15 seats and that anything over that would be gravy.

Politics 101 – There is something called the “Theory of the Median Voter.” The reality is, in almost any election, you knock off the furthest right and furthest left parties, and the voting almost always comes down to the centrist votes.

The WR has been masquerading as a grassroots party – and it’s become very clear that many former WR members and the average voter doesn’t believe that for a minute. (One doesn’t need to look further than the fact that the WR leadership got rid of many strong activists on purpose to further their own agendas, their policy process for the past 2 years, and the nomination races.) The WR no longer has any moral ground on any of these issues. They really are no different than the PC’s – except for the fact they have a shinier leader.

When Ed Stelmach got elected as PC leader and then Premier, I noticed he kept bringing in his closest friends to work for the Premier’s office, the party, etc. I learned two things from watching Ed’s rise and fall:

The people who get you elected as leader are not necessarily the people who should run the Premier’s office, the party office, or your legislative staff. There are legislative and electoral cycles. For example, you have one type of chief of staff in a minority government situation, a different type for a majority government, and maybe even a different one as you ramp up for an election campaign. There is a reason why Prime Minister Stephen Harper has had a number of Chiefs of Staff….a leader needs to recognize that different skills are required for different phases of the legislative and electoral cycles and choose staff based on those factors. Choosing only to have your friends around can ultimately lead to your demise….I point to Ed Stelmach. A large majority of Ed’s people were telling him where his “problem” was…..but Ed didn’t listen because of loyalty. People in politics need to recognize the value of people who are realists — instead of only surrounding themselves with cheerleaders.

After all the rhetoric from the WR about the high calibre candidates, in reality, they delivered very few. Over 90% (if not higher) of their candidates were acclaimed. Many of the PC nomination races had numerous candidates. This confirmed to me that the WR hadn’t yet got the kind of support to win a majority government.

For the most part, I think the WR did run one of the most professional campaigns this province has seen, however, I do look to the party’s judgment on the following issues:

With respect to the “boob bus.” A WR staffer said that somebody raised the issue when they saw the proof but they thought people wouldn’t think anything of it because they’d be focused on the issues. This floored me. To me, it was another indication the WR wasn’t ready for prime time. (I would also suggest to you that this is an instance where political instinct can’t be learned!)

With respect to Huntsberger and Leech: Surely Danielle and the WR knew that these were exactly the type of candidates the other parties were hoping the WR would run. So, why did they not have a strategy to counter this stuff? Why would they even entertain having these people as candidates?

I actually agree with Danielle that the science of climate change isn’t settled….however, it made NO sense for her to publicly declare that 2 days before the election. Again, I have no idea how she didn’t think saying that wouldn’t cost her votes. (I go back to my point about political instinct….)

So, back to my 2012 Alberta Election Prediction….just instinct.

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