Provincial Politics

Swing Voters in Ontario Elections

Outcomes of the September 6 byelections in Ontario focus a great deal of attention on the "swing voter," that is, the voter with loose partisan ties who can potentially be swayed from one party to another. This is the prize all three parties pursue, especially in Kitchener-Waterloo where there is nothing to suggest one candidate has a comfortable and wide lead. It's anybody's game, hence the race to sway the swing voter.

On this theme, I raise four questions, and locate answers based on a preliminary analysis of some data in our collection.

Hayek and School Closures

In a recent post, Loren provides an excellent analysis of the silly decision making process that is being used to decide school closures in Hamilton.  Among many cool tidbits, he writes:

“What is troubling, however, is the uniform obsession with closures. There are a range of creative and cost-effective ways we might reconfigure and reimagine existing facilities: partial decommisions, mixed uses, or a range of potential public-private partnerships. Most boards take none of these seriously.”

Quebec Leaders’ Debates: Game Changer?

Let’s turn our attention to the Quebec election. My comment is about Sunday's debate and its possible effects on the electorate. Here is the summary: The effect is probably marginal, and it is at the margins where one is likely to see most effects. The big “winner,” should there be a need to declare one, is the one leader least likely to emerge as the premier of that province in the Sept. 4 election.

Supply Teaching and the Prisoner's Dilemma

Each year, I begin my Introduction to Canadian politics course at Laurier by describing the prisoner’s dilemma.

In this model, two men, Bob and Jack are arrested for drug trafficking.  They are put into separate rooms and are told the following:

“If you testify against your partner, and he stays silent, you go free and your partner gets 10 years.

If your partner talks and you stay silent, then you get 10 years and he goes free.

If you both talk, you both get 8 years.