The question for the federal scene coming out of the historic NDP wave election in Alberta that saw them jump from four seats to 53, a solid majority, is whether anything close to this is reproducible on the federal scene. The major difference between the two is that federally only the Conservatives represent the right wing (shhh dear Liberal bashers) while in Alberta there is the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party.

One crude estimate is to see what would have happened if the PCs and the Wildrose had indeed joined into a single party. Assuming the votes work out the same way in this new scenario (a big if!), it is easy enough to compute how things would have turned out: the Alberta NDP would have one 26 out of 87 seats against a powerful Conservative majority. (email me if you want the spreadsheet)

This result is fairly stable if you relax the assumption. For instance, suppose the NDP gets a 10% boost (not 10 point) because of, say, people so disgusted by the amalgamation that they vote NDP. That only gives him 28 seats.

Of course, at the federal level, Alberta doesn't give 87 seats. Under the new redistricting (which makes this kind of math very hard this year), Alberta only generates 34 seats. If we assume the result is proportional, that means the NDP gets 10 seats federally. Not bad. Not great, either. In 2011 (when only 28 seats were up for play before the redistricting), the Conservatives swept 27 of 28 seats, with the NDP second in 23 of those 27.

Incidentally, the Liberals might appear to be the big losers here, but they aren't. They are a dead party in Alberta, capturing only 4% of the vote (most Liberal supporters undoubtedly ended up voting NDP so it doesn't necessarily mean people dislike them as much as 4% implies). But the key point here is that normally when the NDP does well it hurts the Liberals and helps the Conservatives. Here the NDP doing well reduces the number of Conservative seats but doesn't change the number of Liberal seats (they get zero either way), so it makes it easier for the Liberals federally.

There are about a million caveats to this very crude analysis. It only works under a tonne of assumptions that are almost impossible to remain true. Either way, there is hope for a modest but not enormous jump for the NDP federally.

One crude estimate is to see what would have happened if the PCs and the Wildrose had indeed joined into a single party. Assuming the votes work out the same way in this new scenario (a big if!), it is easy enough to compute how things would have turned out: the Alberta NDP would have one 26 out of 87 seats against a powerful Conservative majority. (email me if you want the spreadsheet)

This result is fairly stable if you relax the assumption. For instance, suppose the NDP gets a 10% boost (not 10 point) because of, say, people so disgusted by the amalgamation that they vote NDP. That only gives him 28 seats.

Of course, at the federal level, Alberta doesn't give 87 seats. Under the new redistricting (which makes this kind of math very hard this year), Alberta only generates 34 seats. If we assume the result is proportional, that means the NDP gets 10 seats federally. Not bad. Not great, either. In 2011 (when only 28 seats were up for play before the redistricting), the Conservatives swept 27 of 28 seats, with the NDP second in 23 of those 27.

Incidentally, the Liberals might appear to be the big losers here, but they aren't. They are a dead party in Alberta, capturing only 4% of the vote (most Liberal supporters undoubtedly ended up voting NDP so it doesn't necessarily mean people dislike them as much as 4% implies). But the key point here is that normally when the NDP does well it hurts the Liberals and helps the Conservatives. Here the NDP doing well reduces the number of Conservative seats but doesn't change the number of Liberal seats (they get zero either way), so it makes it easier for the Liberals federally.

There are about a million caveats to this very crude analysis. It only works under a tonne of assumptions that are almost impossible to remain true. Either way, there is hope for a modest but not enormous jump for the NDP federally.