Tag Archives: suzanne anton

Vancouver Election Analysis – Candidate Correlation


This will be my last election analysis post. I promise.

The Vancouver election results are particularly interesting to analyze because each voter had multiple choices to make – 1 vote for mayor, 10 council, 7 parks board, and 8 school trustees. We now know who won and how many votes each candidate got in total, but it’s not immediately obvious why. In the past week, many pundits have been musing about …

  1. Why Gregor Robertson got 14,000 more votes than anyone else in Vision?
  2. Why didn’t Vision’s success help COPE?
  3. How did Adriane Carr win a seat?

It’s impossible to know who supported Adriane Carr or how many Vision voters didn’t vote COPE, because every ballot is secret. However, if we look at the vote percentages from the 135 polling districts, we can do a correlation analysis to try and answer some of the questions above. The high correlation between the candidates indicates that their votes were consistent across Vancouver (the same good polls and bad polls). This should be a good proxy for determining if candidates attracted support from the same voters.

Here are the scatter plots comparing Gregor Robertson’s vote totals to Raymond Louie, Ellen Woodsworth, Adriane Carr, and Elizabeth Ball.

The corresponding correlation factors are: 0.94, 0.93, 0.71, and -0.95.

Even though Woodsworth had a high correlation with the Vision vote totals, she consistently trailed the Vision candidates across the city. Why? Possibly because voters who voted for Vision and Gregor Robertson split their votes between more candidates than the NPA. Of the top 30 candidates (those getting more than 5000 vote each) 19 had a strong positive correlation with Gregor, 10 had a strong correlation with Anton (the NPA candidates), and 1 was completely random (Kelly Alm – winner of the donkey vote)
Continue reading Vancouver Election Analysis – Candidate Correlation

Deep Dive into the Vancouver Election Results


I did a quick analysis of the Vancouver election results last night, but this morning I did a deeper dive into the data (Skyrim can wait).

I went through the 135 polling districts and tried to find interesting patterns and changes from 2008 to 2011. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Mayor Gregor Robertson’s best polls were in Commercial Drive, Mount Pleasant, and Fairview Slops – where he beat Anton by over 500 votes in 13 polls. In poll 33 (heart of Commercial Drive), he topped Anton by a whopping 822 votes!
  • Suzanne Anton’s best polls were in Shaughnessy, Kerrisdale, and south-east Vancouver, but the most she was able to beat Gregor by was 386 votes in poll 89.
  • Vision’s new super-star candidate is Andrea Reimer. Last election she had the most votes in only one poll. This time, she overcame the donkey vote to finish first in 28 polls (tied with Raymond Louie).
  • The West-End put Adriane Carr on Council. She had the most votes in 5 polls (1, 2, 5, 6, 8).
  • Despite being one of least popular Vision councillors (at least in terms of votes), Geoff Meggs had the most votes in poll 35 (Olympic Village). Geoff Meggs has taken a keen interest on the Olympic Village, blogging about it frequently, which apparently residents appreciate.
  • What’s going on in West Point Grey (polls 129 and 130)? Last election they voted strongly NPA. This time they voted for Robertson and the top city council candidates were Geoff Meggs (who was barely a factor here in 2008) and maverick NPA candidate Bill McCreery, and Adriane Carr had some of her best results outside of the West End.
  • The biggest swings to Robertson were in polls 37, 132, 104, 32, and 130 – Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant, and Point Grey – where he picked up an extra 202-342 votes.
  • Robertson lost the most support in polls 88, 83, 59, 61, 82, and 89 – heavily Chinese neighbourhoods in south-east and east Vancouver – where Anton gained 223-291 votes.

Continue reading Deep Dive into the Vancouver Election Results

Vancouver Election Results – Reaction and Analysis

I’m tired and it’s been a long day. I spent 12 hours scrutineering at Renfrew Community Centre, ensuring that Vision got its supporters to the polls. I hope it isn’t a reflection of my hard work, but Suzanne Anton received 50 more votes than Gregor in my poll – which had me freaked out on my bike ride home because I was worried it was going to be a trend across the city. It didn’t help that when I got home the initial results had Anton in the lead.

But now that the results are all in, I’m extremely happy. Gregor beat Anton by a sizable margin, every Vision candidate won, and city council is dominated by environmentally friendly councillors. Now we can focus on 3 more years of bike lanes, food carts, and green initiatives.

My random thoughts on…
City Councillors
The end result is pretty close to my endorsed slate, which I didn’t actually vote for. I debated for a long time what do to with my 10th council vote (between Affleck, Garossino, and Carr) and ended up voting for Carr. I’m happy that she won, but would have been happier with Ellen Woodsworth, who finished in 11th. The biggest disappointment for me is RJ Aquino. RJ’s response to not being elected “At least now I know I’ll have time to play Skyrim”. I wanted to see what he could do on council.

Shifts in Support

2005 2008 2011

Continue reading Vancouver Election Results – Reaction and Analysis

Vote Vision Vancouver – Reason #2: Separated Bike Lanes

Dunsmuir Bike Lane Opening Day
Reason #2: Separated Bike Lanes
From a numbers perspective, Vancouver’s separated bike lanes have been a huge success, and continue to be even as the weather cools. However, that hasn’t stopped some hotheads from turning bike lanes into a political issue.

Vision Vancouver deserves full credit for having the courage and conviction to create not one, not two, but three separated bike lanes in downtown Vancouver. They’ve also doubled the cycling budget, added traffic calming to residential neighbourhoods (especially along bike routes), and tendered an RFP for a bike share program.

It’s difficult to pin down the NPA’s position on bike lanes. Suzanne Anton originally voted in favour of the bike lanes, but later rescinded her support. The NPA takes offence at being labelled as anti-cyclist, but have suggested a moratorium on downtown bike lanes, ripping out bike lanes, removing bike lanes during the winter, and licensing cyclists. I’m not sure how to classify their plans as anything but anti-cyclist. They need to read this post: Debunked: Arguments Against Cycling.

The future of Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure will be one of the largest outcomes of this election. If the NPA wins, we could lose the separated bike lanes in the downtown. If Vision wins, we will likely see more bike lanes, a bike-share program, and a continued shift away from automobiles.

Poll Shows Mayor Gregor Robertson With Huge Lead

The latest polling numbers released in the Vancouver election are good news for Mayor Gregor Robertson. Thankfully, Suzanne Anton’s anti-bike lane agenda seems to be floundering.

What interests me is the analysis of the numbers done by Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail – Poll shows Gregor Robertson in lead but predicts divided council

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson starts the 2011 municipal campaign with a comfortable lead, but could end up heading a divided council that could stall the agenda of his Vision Vancouver party, a new poll suggests.

What a flawed conclusion. The raw numbers from the polling are as follows:

Mayor
Gregor Robertson 68%
Suzanne Anton 32%
Parties
Vision 37%
NPA 29%
Green 19%
COPE 11%

I’m guessing the conclusion that this would result in a “divided council” was made by taking the party support and assuming that it would correlate with the number of councillors elected from each party. But that’s not how the voting system works.

Each voter gets 10 votes for city councillors, to distribute as they see fit, but only the NPA is running a full slate of 10 candidates. COPE and Vision are running a co-operative slate of 7 and 3 candidates respectively, and the Green party only has a single candidate for Council.

Only the last sentence of the G&M article addresses this:
“since Vision and COPE are supporting each other and their supporters are likely to vote for each others’ council candidates, the two parties had combined support of 48 per cent in the recent poll.”

This is key. That and which other 9 candidates the 19% of respondents backing the Greens will vote for.

Because the pollster doesn’t ask about 2nd choice preferences, it’s difficult to judge what combinations of candidates voters will choose. But there is one indicator – the vote for mayor, which Gregor Robertson leads 68% to 32%.

Conveniently, if you add up Vision + COPE + Green party support, you get 67%. So, it’s highly likely that supporters of those parties will vote for candidates from the other parties. The only problem is there are 11 candidates and only 10 spots. That will likely allow 1 or 2 NPA candidates to squeeze in, but is unlikely to lead to a “divided council”. I wonder if Frances Bula was just trying to add some drama to the election.

NPA Promises Streetcar Network

Olympic Line at Granville Island
The NPA might have hired the same communications team as Rob Ford, but it appears they’ll be using a slightly different strategy in this fall’s election. In Toronto, Rob Ford was elected on a promise to end the ‘war on cars’ by tearing up bike lanes and street car lines. While the NPA is opposed to bike lanes, it is now promising to fast track street car lines.

I’m encouraged by the idea. I’d rather see the NPA compete on ideas like this, than on the negative attacks that have been their hallmark for the past year. I’m a huge fan of Vancouver’s planned streetcar project, but I have a few concerns with the NPA’s proposal.

One, it doesn’t make integration with TransLink a priority. The original press release didn’t even mention TransLink, but Anton has since clarified that she would try to integrate the streetcar with the existing public transit system. Considering how many transfer points would exist between a streetcar system and the SkyTrain, smooth integration should be a main priority.

Two, it doesn’t mention any links to a new UBC Line along Broadway (TransLink’s next priority in Vancouver). One of the most intriguing designs presented for the UBC Line was Combo 1 (my personal favourite) – involving a SkyTrain extension from VCC-Clark to Arbutus, and a street car line from Main Street-Science World to UBC. If the NPA is so enthusiastic on a streetcar network, why not use the opportunity to address the biggest transit need in Vancouver – a rapid transit route along Broadway.

Lastly, the NPA plans on funding the streetcar network with a public-private-partnership (P3). I like the idea of Vancouver sidestepping TransLink to get transit investments faster, but P3s are bad news. Public transit should be something Vancouver’s municipal government has a say in, but the regional nature of TransLink and its weird governance structure makes that very hard today. However, if a streetcar network is important it should be funded and controlled by the city or Translink. P3s are just convenient way to balance the books, and as Stephen Rees has pointed out many times there are many negative consequences.

How Councillor Suzanne Anton Lost My Vote

I used to have a lot of respect for Councillor Suzanne Anton. She is the lone representative of the once mighty NPA and she gets a lot of pressure from anti-environmentalists to oppose bike lanes. Until recently, she resisted those voices and supported cycling infrastructure (she is after all a dedicated cyclist).

In August, after the Dunsmuir vote, I sent Councillor Anton an email thanking her for supporting cycling and letting her know I’d vote for her in the next election. The beauty of Vancouver’s electoral system is I get 10 votes, and I like to mix it up. I received this response:

So thx for your support and yes I will continue to be a strong supporter of cycling.

On Tuesday night she voted in favour of the Hornby bike lane, ensuring the vote was unanimous. Everyone knew that the Hornby lane would be approved, but no one was sure if Councillor Anton would vote in favour. I was pleasantly surprised, and told a few people on Wednesday how important it was to vote for her in the next election because cycling shouldn’t be a partisan issue and stressed how important it is to have strong voices within the NPA who support cycling.

However, this morning she sent out a press release attempting to rescind her support for the project.

Personally, I feel betrayed and disappointed that she has bowed to pressure and rescinded her support from a project she likely agrees with. She has constantly refused to attack the bike lane, instead attacking “the process”. I’ve noticed a few other people recently say: “I support bike lanes in general, just not this bike lane because of the process”. I call bullshit. Who cares about the process? Honestly. There are only two reasons to oppose “the process”:

  1. you oppose the bike lane, because you don’t cycle and you’re worried it might make driving more inconvenient. Yet, you don’t want to be a curmudgeon or offend cyclists. So you pretend to support bike lanes “in general”. How very NIMBY.
  2. you secretly support the bike lane, but you’re trying to score cheap political points and appeal to people who oppose the bike lane. Classic political maneuver when you’re in opposition and the governing party does something you like. It is opposition for the sake of opposition, and it makes politicians look like cynical liars.

I think Councillor Anton falls into the 2nd group, and it saddens me. Let this be my official press release rescinding my support of her.