A Canadian election question

While watching the live results on th TV, the reporters kept declaring a certain candidate the winner even though only, say, 85% of the polls were reporting. Why do they do this? Clearly they can’t be declared the winner until all the results are in. Do they just report candidate X as the winner as a sort of “pre-emptive strike”, seeing as he’s in the lead?

They can report the winners early based on statistical inference.

For instance, if a candidate is leading by 2000 votes, but there are still 3000 left to count, it’s theoretically possible that the other candidate could still win. However, if the first candidate has been getting 60% of the vote, then it is vanishingly unlikely that the last 3000 votes will favor the underdog by 2/3’s.

Sometimes the media gets bitten on this if they aren’t very good at predictions, because they neglect to consider the non-homogenous nature of the population. For instance, late votes are often from rural districts, which may vote very differently from urban districts. If the network is up to snuff, they’ll know the voter breakdown in each district through advance polling, so they’ll be able to predict such situations.

In extreme cases, if the candidate has been leading in the polls by a huge margin, the network may call a winner after only a tiny percentage of votes are in. They’ll wait to see if the initial returns are tracking to the advance polls, and if they are they’ll declare the candidate the winner, even if only 1-2% of the votes have been counted.

Or they simply make really annoying pronouncements and flash numbers that move up and down on the screen like a crack addled marmot on a pogo stick.

Yes I’m still recovering from the CBC/CTV coverage.

Yeah, I was getting more at what Grey was saying :slight_smile:

I found Global really bad. As soon as the Maritimes were done, the anchor was genuinely declaring “A liberal minority government has been elected!” :rolleyes:

I know statistics but it drove me nuts.

I happen to get CBC in the US, and I enjoy watching your election coverage. One thing I’m curious about, why is it necessarily a Liberal minority government? Coudn’t the Conservatives, NDP, and BQ get together and form the government?

That’s like assuming the Greens, Libertarians and Patriot parties would get together in the US.

How does your spectrum work? My guess is it’s Liberals on the left, Conservatives on the right, and NDP in the middle. Where would the BQ be on this scale, or are they even on the scale?

Close. Its Conservatives on the right, Liberals in the middle and NDP on the left.

I’m not sure where the BQ are, but I think they tend to be in the middle.

Moving left to right


From a US perspective the Conservatives are your central Democrats/Republicans, though the Liberals aren’t too far away either. The NDP would be considered godless commies. :slight_smile:

The Bloc is a separatist party that runs only in Quebec. They would be NDP/Liberal on social policy but closer to the Conservatives when it comes to federal/provincial jurisdiction. I.e. they want the Federal government out of the picture so they may more easily sell Quebec separation. The Conservative want to reduce federal intrusion into provincial matters. Same idea, different goals.

Am I correct in assuming that the Conservatives could not form a minority government?
Or if we had this mix (in percents just to be easy):
Lib 40
Cons 35
BQ 17
Which scenario would be likelier:
a) The Liberals and Conservatives would form a govenment or
b) one or the other would align with BQ?

And why did PQ become BQ?

Theoretically the conservative could form a coallition government.

However, I don’t think that this would be likely. One reason is that the NDP is so far left compared to the Conservatives that there is no real common ground to form a coallition. As for the BQ, their platform is: Quebec First, Last, and Only. I think that they would prefer the opportunity to vote independant of any coalition, so that they can advance this agenda.

The BQ is the federal party and the PQ is the associated provincial party.

They didn’t the PQ is a provincial party, the BQ a federal one.