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Vancouver Election 2014 – Initial Reaction

I’m sure none of the parties are entirely happy with yesterday’s election results. Vision retains control of City Council, with Mayor Gregor Robertson and 6 councillors re-elected, but suffered big loses on Park Board and School Board. The NPA and Greens both gained seats, but neither had the breakthrough they were looking for at City Council. COPE, and all of the smaller parties, didn’t even come close to electing anyone.

Only 11 of the 27 candidates I voted for won, but I’m reasonably satisfied with the results. Vision still has a majority at City Council and can continue to push improvements to bike infrastructure and the urban realm. I hope that Adriane Carr will find a way to join Vision on the Greenest City plan instead of opposing it and everything else.

I plan on doing a deeper analysis of the election results once the spreadsheets are published to find out what happened (my big questions are listed at the bottom), but here is a quick look at the numbers.

Turnout

  • 25% more people voted this election than last time. That is huge!
  • In 2011 there were 144,823 votes cast. In 2014 there were 181,707 – 36,884 more.
  • Turnout will likely still be less than 50%, but take it with a grain of salt.
  • People who move away or die are rarely removed from the voters list, inflating the number of registered voters and skewing turnout percentages.

Vancouver mayor votes past 4 elections
Mayor

  • Gregor Robertson did well, winning with 83,500 votes (6,500 more than 2011).
  • The narrower victory was a result of COPE not a stronger NPA.
  • COPE’s mayoral candidate, Meena Wong, received nearly 16,800 votes.
  • The NPA gained 15,300 votes, but its vote share only increased by 1%.
  • Nearly 3,000 voters chose “None of the Above” for a mayor, twice as many as in 2011.

Vancouver_2014_city_council_votes
City Council

  • 6 Vision, 3 NPA, and 1 Green
  • Only change is Melissa De Genova replacing Tony Tang.
  • Adriane Carr did amazingly well, attracting 74,077 votes from across the spectrum.
  • Carr’s popularity didn’t extend to other Green council candidates, who weren’t close.
  • Randomized ballots are needed. Top 5 vote getters have ABCD names.
  • 3 elected NPA candidates outpaced their Vision rivals, but didn’t extend to full slate.

Vancouver_2014_park_board_votes
Park Board

  • 4 NPA, 2 Green, 1 Vision
  • Vision got wiped out.
  • Lots of contentious issues: whales in the aquarium, community centre independence, bike lanes in parks.
  • Most disappointed that Brent Granby missed a spot by 1392 votes.

Vancouver_2014_school_board_votes
School Board

  • 4 Vision, 4 NPA, and 1 Green
  • Closest race last night: Ken Clement misses last school board spot by 255 votes.
  • Incumbents Woo and Denike (expelled from NPA for homophobic views) are trounced.
  • After just missing spots in 2011, NPA elects Ballantyne and Robertson.
  • Not sure why newcomer Joy Alexander did so well, other than listed first alphabetically.

Note: All charts show candidates receiving more than 10,000 votes.
Asterisks (*) indicate incumbents.

Some questions I’d like to answer.

  • How important is being one of the first candidates alphabetically?
  • Where are the regional pockets of support (harder to tell with open voting)?
  • Why did Vision do so bad on Parks Board?
  • Which candidates had the same supporters? See 2011 council correlations.
  • Was vote splitting a problem?

Vancouver’s Ultimate 2011 Election Map


Building on the analysis I did for COPE, here is a map that summarizes at a very high level the voting results in Vancouver. I looked at the ‘winners’ – the candidates that placed in the top 10 for city council, top 7 for parks board, and top 9 for school board in each of the city’s 135 polling districts. There are a few slates that do well in concentrated regions of Vancouver.

Hopefully this clarifies my quote in the Vancouver Courier about ethnic voting in south-east Vancouver and the split between west-side enviros vs east-side social progressive voting blocks.

NPA Slate – In the 21 red areas, every single NPA candidate, all 21 of them, win a seat. The NPA’s strength is in Dunbar, Kerrisdale, Arubutus Ridge, and Shaugnessy.
Mostly NPA – In the 11 pink areas, at least 18 of the 21 NPA candidates win.
Vision/COPE Slate – In the 19 blue areas, all 26 Vision and COPE candidates win. The Vision/COPE slate excelled in Stratcona, Commercial Drive, and Mount Pleasant.
Chinese Slate – In the 19 yellow areas, the 7 candidates with Chinese last names win, regardless of what party they are running for. Chinese block voting was the biggest factor in the south-east part of the city – Renfrew-Collingwood, and Kensington.
Green/Vision/COPE – With the addition of Green candidates things get a bit messy. In the 26 light green areas, the Green Party elects at least 2 candidates, and Vision/COPE take most of the rest. The Green Party does best in Kitsilano, the West End, and Fairview.
Green/Vision/NPA – In the 3 dark green areas, the Green party still wins two spots, Vision does well, but COPE is shut out. This is similar to the purple areas below.
Vision/NPA Coalition – These are probably the most interesting parts of the city. There are 12 purple polls where all the Vision candidates win, but the remainder of the spots go mostly to the NPA (not COPE or even the Green Party). Most of downtown, including Coal Harbour and Yaletown, plus a few polls in the Sunset neighbourhood fall into this category.
Mostly Vision / Strong COPE – In the 11 orange areas, Vision elects most of its candidates and COPE elects at least 5 of its 7 candidates. These areas are scattered throughout east Vancouver.
Mostly Vision / Weak COPE – In the 14 light blue areas, Vision elects most of its candidates, but COPE struggles and elects less than 5 candidates.
Mixed – There are 2 gray areas that are a mixed bag that don’t fall into any of the above categories.

For reference, here’s the 2008 map created with similar criteria (tweaked slightly because the Greens ran as part of the Vision/COPE slate and the numbers of candidates from each party is different).

Vancouver Election Analysis Maps

Note: Check out the updated map here.

I thought I was done with Vancouver election analysis. But COPE asked me to do some extra work to help their membership understand what happened during the election, and since I like COPE I agreed. It meant less time for Skyrim and posting Vietnam pictures, but I got a mention in the Georgia Straight.

The analysis I presented for COPE probably isn’t that interesting to non-COPE members, but here’s a few reasons I think COPE did poorly.

  1. David Cadman didn’t run. He likely would have won his seat on council. Every COPE incumbent gained votes (between 1875 and 3736). The worst any incumbent from any party did was Stuart Mackinnon (Green Parks Board Councillor) – he lost 3654 votes. Cadman could have lost over 8,000 votes and still won a seat on council.
  2. Vote splitting with the Greens (and to a lesser degree NSV) hurt. You can see it on council, parks board, and school board (see charts below).
  3. There seems to be a split between social progressives in East Vancouver and enviros on west side of the city. Both supported Vision, but the enviros supported the Greens and the social progressives voted for COPE.
  4. COPE had only one Chinese candidate, and he was the only candidate that won.

City council vote distribution between 2008 and 2011
The NPA’s vote stays consistent, but the Vision/COPE vote splits between 15 progressive candidates. It hurt Vision as much as COPE, but Vision had more room to drop without losing seats. Raymond Louie lost nearly 3000 votes and was still the top candidate.

Continue reading Vancouver Election Analysis Maps