Cyberwanderer’s Blog

September 28, 2008

How Strategic Voting Could End Up Helping Harper

Much hype have been made about the strategic voting. People have used it before but never before through organized internet sites that dictate who you should vote for. Election Canada warned people that they might get duped. I did not see any problem back then until I gave it more thoughts. Strategic vote works before when people vote for a party that is more likely to unseat the government. This time around, the premise is you vote for who is likely to win in your riding based on polls. Polls changes up to the eve of election when people parked their vote with the party most likely to win.  But this time, if people just rely on a website to see what the last poll allegedly say, this might actually end up splitting the non-conservative vote more.  Since poll are so unreliable and changes from one day to the next, especially in this election, the data that you are basing it on is unreliable. Unless you have crystal ball, that’s a big flaw in the system.  Instead of people voting for Liberal which has closer margin to Conservative, they are only focused on their local candidate missing the big picture. So ridings where NDP is leading by few thousand vote get to keep their vote. In past election, people would naturally flock to Liberal helping the local Liberal candidate edge up against NDP gaining them one more seat closer to unseating Harper. A poll have also shown that Liberal supporter are more likely to vote strategically than NDP supporter. So that means Liberal would lose more vote and NDP gain more. But since NDP won’t have enough seats to overtake Harper, this effectively makes having a single party unseat the government much harder to achieve.

People should also be wary of who run the website they are relying on. An unreliable or malicious site might gave erroneous data at the eve of an election.

I am not totally against strategic voting but I just think people should not totally rely on a website or what other people tell them. They should seek out the situation in their local riding for themselves. It is important that they look at the bigger picture. Since our electoral system is not a proportional one, strategic voting works if we vote for the party most likely to unseat the current government. Spread the word, blog about it, ask people to think it over carefully before giving away their vote.

I end this post with a quote from David McGrane, a political studies professor at the University of Saskatchewan who had also said that this might be an indication that electoral reform is a must.  On the risk of strategic voting, he said:

Strategic voting is extremely difficult to do, because what you’re basically trying to do is predict the future. ”

(source: Edmonton Sun)



  1. Whooee! Good thinkin’ on the inaccuracy and fluidity of the polls. Even if we had reliable polls, the only time strategic voting would make any sense is in ridings where there is a dead heat between the front runners.


    Comment by JimBobby — September 28, 2008 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  2. Some people find the idea of strategic voting repugnant. If a party were to endorse strategic voting – something other than just a plea for everyone to vote for them – there could be a backlash from both the voters and from the party’s candidates.

    Myself, I would question the integrity of a party that endorsed such voting. I would wonder if that party really believed in itself.

    Comment by rabbit — September 28, 2008 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  3. […] Liberal Voters, Don’t Split The Vote! Filed under: General — cyberwanderer @ 1:34 pm Tags: canadian election 2008, green, liberal, ndp, stephane dion, strategic voting I would like to re-emphasize the points I made in my previous blog: How Strategic Voting Could End Up Helping Harper. […]

    Pingback by Liberal Voters, Don’t Split The Vote! « Cyberwanderer’s Blog — October 4, 2008 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

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