Political Campaign & Geodemographic  Research

ndp_index edmonton—strathcona

Map of Edmonton—Strathcona Riding & NDP Partisan Index at the polling district level. This map shows the strength of a focal party {NDP} support in a district relative to the entire geographic unit {riding}, based on historical data.

Kenneth Kambara has been blogging about the intersection between politics and culture on the group blog, ThickCulture. He also had the opportunity to observe Canadian politics from 2009-2011 and covered the May General election [Election 41] on vox.rhizomicon. During this time, he created GIS maps of ridings and developed two new tools.


The Swingdex tool is an index based on the Cook PVI adapted for ridings [districts] in a parliamentary electoral system. Each party in a riding was scored based on how it did on average in the previous two federal elections in relation to the average of the party’s provincial results:

     Indexparty = [average (riding result)2006, 2008 — average (provincial result)2006, 2008]

This allowed the development of a Swingdex that could be used to classify ridings and identify patterns of voting behavior.

swingdex ontario

Swingdex 2011-Canadian Federal Election in Ontario

This methodology can be further refined by creating norms for regions within a province or state, allowing for a better measurement of how well or poorly a party is doing relative to regional norms and identify districts with similar characteristics by incorporating additional demographic and psychographic {lifestyle} data. The methodology was also used to analyze party strength at the polling district level, which is useful for microtargeting. Here’s a blog post examining the Alberta riding of Edmonton—Strathcona.

Multiplicative Coreness

The other tool developed is based on social network analysis and takes patterns of second choice data to model underlying partisan support in a multipartisan system. The algorithm for multiplicative coreness identified the rise of the fourth party in Canada, the New Democrats, and how the party moved from the fringe and closer to the “core” of the Canadian political zeitgeist. These posts on vox.rhizomicon document the development of the use of this tool.

Analyses of Second Choice Data in Canadian Federal Election 41, Multiplicative coreness scores for the four parties with seats in Parliament.



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