Newfoundland: A lopsided majority (but it could have been even worse!)

Tuesday’s provincial parliamentary election in Newfoundland and Labrador produced a lopsided majority. The main opposition party, the Liberal Party, was reduced to just three seats, while the NDP held its one seat. The incumbent Conservatives won 43 seats. They also did rather well in the votes: 69.6%, up from 58.7% in 2003. The Liberals won just 22%, down from 33.2% four years earlier. (47 of the 48 seats were at stake; the other race has been delayed due to the death of a candidate.)

Before the election result was in, I noted that the electoral system in the province is actually biased against the Conservative party. In most recent elections, it has won fewer seats, whether in opposition or in government, than the seat-vote equation would predict for the parties’ vote totals (and the size of parliament and total votes cast).

Believe it or not, even this result is no exception. The Conservatives “should have” won more than 98% of the seats–perhaps 100%, given that the Liberals’ expectation works out to less than half a seat. In the actual election, all the poor Conservatives could muster was 91.5% of the seats.

Some systemic factors just can’t be beaten down no matter how well you do!

I suspect the Conservatives are not complaining too much, however, about the “bias” against them. Nor the Liberals too pleased with their being “over-represented.”

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