Nova Scotia’s next provincial election is October 8th and we’re pretty excited!
Calling elections can be tough in Canada, due to the nature of our electoral system. Unlike contests held elsewhere, the upcoming vote in Nova Scotia will actually be 51 mini-elections — one in each riding; and we’ll only find out which party won when the seat totals are added up.
Deep polling in every riding is doable, but expensive.
There are, however, other ways to use data to monitor, and anticipate, outcomes.
Consider, for instance, the case of the “bellwether riding” — roughly defined as a riding that usually elects an MLA from the winning party. Earlier this week, the Chronicle Herald identified Eastern Shore as a constituency to watch. But there are other districts to keep an eye on…
Take for, instance, the riding of Kings South. Stretching back to 1978, the fine people of Kings South elected an MLA from the party that won the most seats, in all but one general election.
Election Chart 1
But wait! There’s more! The constituency of “Lunenburg” has only missed being a bellwether riding once — going 5-for-6 since being created in 1993. If the results for “Lunenburg Centre” in 1978, 1981, 1984, and 1988 are also taken into account, four more correct bellwethers emerge in that special part of the world.
Of course, electoral boundaries move around, and descriptive riding names come and go. “Waverley-Fall River-Beaverbank” (from 2003) also grew partially from “Bedford-Fall River” and “Sackville-Beaver Bank” (each created in 1993). These moving pieces can complicate matters, but the example of Waverley-Fall River-Beaverbank is probably still instructive. Let’s see how voters made their choices there in recent elections:
Election Chart 2
We’ll have to wait until October 8th to see whether history repeats itself again.
In the meantime, Kings South, Lunenburg and Waverley-Fall River-Beaverbank are certainly ridings to watch. They’ll be on our radar over the course of the next week, and as the returns roll-in on election night.

25 Sep 2013