I recall an EKOS poll earlier in the election that suggested that 25% of Canadians consider strategic voting. Can we be certain that the results of the election will reflect the views of the electorate? Can people vote strategically/tactically? (Note that strategy is “an elaborate and systematic plan of action”, not just a single action. That’s a tactic.)
So, can a voter be elaborate and systematic in his/her voting? If, and only if, the voter has perfect knowledge, then they can act strategically. If they have imperfect knowledge, then their strategy may be flawed. Let’s use Elmwood-Transcona as an example:
VoteForEnvironment.ca projects that the NDP will win by 7000 votes over the Cons. Yet, they suggest that the Green voters vote NDP to prevent the Conservatives from winning! However, Democratic Space suggests that Green supporters in Elmwood-Transcona vote Green since this is a safe NDP seat. ABC says that Elmwood-Transcona is one of three battlegrounds in Manitoba, the others being St. Boniface and Winnipeg South. Interestingly, ABC doesn’t suggest strategic voting in Winnipeg South Center, while others do. So, which site is right? What influences the site decisions? Who contacted the site administrators to pass on “tips” on Elmwood-Transcona tactical voting? Were they involved in the NDP campaign? Surely not. Perish the thought.
In the polls, we have none to look at. The Free Press Insider’s survey suggests 53% support the NDP and 35% the Conservatives. Is this even accurate?
We know nothing about the possible results. “Strategic voters” in Elmwood-Transcona will go to the polls without actionable information.
Here’s my strategic thought. If you “support the environment” the best possible result would be a one vote NDP win with a massive, significant, powerful vote for the Greens. This would strongly signal that we care about the environment. This would force Maloway to work his butt off to win those Green voters over.
Take two possible scenarios, using the voteforthenvironment numbers. They say that Steen will get 9862 votes and the Lib 3666. Given that, which of the following scenarios is best for the environment:
NDP 19629 (all green and NDP vote strategicaly NDP)
OR, scenario two:
NDP 9863 (Con +1)
GREEN 9766 (NDP+Green – 9863)
Which, my friends, is better strategy for the environment? Why do we put up with a system that forces us to vote against our values? Why do we put up with a system that fails to reflect public opinion? Why do we play this strategic game in the dark? Do we ever know enough to vote strategically?