Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Numbers Don't Lie

So we've been talking and thinking about voting. You still think that voting is a waste of time? Well even if you do, I'm going to show you some figures. Now don't get upset, DeepThought isn't just going to drop a table in here and then say "Look you see!" No we're going to look at a few of the constituencies that COULD have beaten the PNM, and this way I'll show you how a higher voter turn out this time around would mean better odds at beating the PNM. So let's begin shall we?

In 2007 right after that General Election, Mr Peter Quentrall Thomas, a columnist for the Express, published the results and a "what if scenario." The "what if" concerned the idea that the COP didn't in fact split the vote, that using existing finite numbers of voters (those who ACTUALLY turned out) the UNC and the COP even combined would not have gotten into government. Here's what he said.
I had so much possitive feedback from the "what if" analyis of the election results that I did last week, that I realised in fairness to COP I needed to do some more "what ifs" to see where they would have won if there had been just a little more swing towards them. Last week we saw clearly that even if you totally merged the COP and UNC votes you couldn't beat the PNM. And the figures this week clearly show that for COP to win they need to get at least 20% of the PNM "Grass Roots" to vote for them. Note I emphasised "Grass Roots". There are 10 Grass Roots votes for every Middle Class vote. 
The COP and the UNC even combined in 2007 couldn't get into government. So what does that say? You need  MORE voters voting for the opposition than the incumbent (Peter says 20% and I agree). If we are to assume that the number of registered voters increased between 2007 and 2010 by even 1% then we can calculate the results. The total number of votes registered by the EBC in 2007 was 653,882. If that were increased by 1% would be, correct me if I'm wrong, 660,420. that's an increase of 6,538 voters! But I think it reasonable to, just for argument, say that we could increase by a small amount. Say 200 voters. That's almost an insignificant percentile.

Lets look at some seats now. I have put up Mr Quentrall-Thomases spreadsheets of the results here. Let's pull some seats where the COP/UNC were going to win combined and maybe a few safe seats for comparison.

PNM
COP/UNC COMBINED
WINNER
Diego Martin West
9,221
6,113
PNM
Pointe-a-Pierre
6,136
9,876
UNC/COP
Tunapuna
8,468
7,827
PNM
Barataria/San Juan
7,179
9,275
UNC/COP
St. Augustine
4,309
13,469
UNC/COP
San Fernando West
7,371
7,257
PNM

So we've INCREASED the voter turn out by 200 voting against the PNM. Let's look at those again.

PNM
COP/UNC COMBINED
WINNER
Diego Martin West
9,221
6,313
PNM
Pointe-a-Pierre
6,136
10,076
UNC/COP
Tunapuna
8,468
8,027
PNM
Barataria/San Juan
7,179
9,275
UNC/COP
St. Augustine
4,309
13,669
UNC/COP
San Fernando West
7,371
7,457
UNC/COP



You see? Only 200 votes and we win one more seat than we did in 2007! And what happens if we did increase the voter turn out by 1%?


PNM
COP/UNC COMBINED
WINNER
Diego Martin West
9,221
12,651
UNC/COP
Pointe-a-Pierre
6,136
16,414
UNC/COP
Tunapuna
8,468
14,365
UNC/COP
Barataria/San Juan
7,179
15,813
UNC/COP
St. Augustine
4,309
20,007
UNC/COP
San Fernando West
7,371
13,795
UNC/COP


This is why I maintain that voter turn out is key. Take the figures in the Mr Quentrall-Thomas' spreadsheet or go here and add them yourself, even increase the voter turn out.

NOW We're NOT taking into consideration a few things:
  1. That PNM voters will vote against party lines, al la 1986 or just stay away from voting.
  2. That the unity process fails and the COP run independent, whether you like it or not, the UNC will hold, maybe lose a few seats (Couva north maybe?) And we'll be in a lot of trouble then.
  3. That the unity process causes COP supporters NOT to turn out to vote at all or UNC voters to do the same. and
  4. If Trini's so silly as to swallow this Vision 20/20 or whatever campaign bullshit that the PNM decides to hawk during this election so that they vote for them regardless.

In the end the COP/UNC support needs to feel energised and having a solid issue run campaign. So far I have not seen one from either. The party's forces seem rudderless and completely routed at this stage. BUT as any student of Sun-Tzu knows, a weakened enemy may not be a vanquished enemy.

Oh, and by the way, if you look at the total amount of votes for BOTH the UNC and PNM (the main parties) notice their support base SHRUNK considerably during the last election! I think it will shrink even further.

Now go get you and your friends registered THIS WEEK.

Start doing!

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