The Third Bow. James Bow. Federal Election Pool


As seems to be a biennial tradition here on this blog, it falls to me, with the call of the 2008 federal election, to organize a pool for the Canadian political blogosphere to guess the results. So I invite everyone again — Liberal or Tory, New Democrat or Green, Bloquiste or Undecided — to guess the outcome of the vote on October 14. Participants get to strut their prescient stuff, and play for the possibility of receiving fabulous (maybe) prizes.

We had a lot of fun with the election pools of 2004 and 2006, and part of the reason, I’m sure, is that it’s easy to play. Simply guess the results of the 2008 election to the best of your ability. Leave a comment below saying how many seats you think each party will receive, whether or not the Greens have a seat (and how many) and how many independents are elected. Also guess what you think will be the voter turnout by percent.

The twist is that this pool is designed to reward those who guess early. It’s no fun making your prediction on the day that the polls close. I want bold stuff, here. I want to reward the person who called the results of the election on the day it was called. So, as with the previous two election pools, this contest will be conducted in two phases, and everybody who participates will get two chances to predict the results.

Phase one begins today with the Governor General’s decision to dissolve parliament. Place your prediction in the comments section below, and please pick a name for yourself that allows me to easily identify you. Please post an e-mail address that I can reach you at in the proper field; I promise that no e-mails will be sold or otherwise misused by me. This makes it easier for me to tally the results, and to contact you to send you your prize should you win. Then, effective 12:01 a.m. on October 1st, or at the end of closing comments at the final leaders’ debate, whichever is later, phase two begins, where people will be allowed to assess the campaign so far and revise their prediction.

Some of you will decide to say “let it ride”, so that your first round prediction becomes your second round prediction. You will have my profound respect for your brazen choices. Some of you will come up with a new prediction. You will be scored on a combination of how your two predictions perform. Some of you will make your prediction for the first time in phase two, and that’s fine, but you will have to overcome a handicap which limits the advantage that late players have over those who courageously make their guesses early.

So, with all that in mind, please make your predictions below in the comments section of this post. List the parties you think will win seats in this election and how many seats they’ll win. The number should total 308. For the purposes of scoring this contest, independent candidates are considered to belong to an “Independents” party. For example, I will now list my prediction below:

Conservatives: 134
Liberals: 105
Bloc Quebecois: 45
New Democrats: 21
Greens: 2
Independents: 1

Voter Turnout: 60%

How the entries are scored:

I thought we were quite successful with the scoring method used in the 2006 election, so I’m recycling that method here. You will be scored as follows: each entrant will start with 500 points and will lose a point for every seat per party they are off based on the final results as they appear at noon, Eastern Daylight Time, on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 (the day after the election). Each entrant will also lose twenty-five points for each incorrect position of party placement. If you say that independent candidates will obtain seats and none do, that’s a twenty-five point penalty. If you say that the Green Party does NOT obtain seats and they do, that’s also a twenty-five point penalty.

And those who wait until phase two to make their predictions are still welcome to make their predictions. They will, however, have to overcome a 100 point penalty for failing to participate in round one. Those who participate in phase one but don’t participate in phase two will be deemed to have elected to “let it ride”, so their phase one guess also becomes their phase two guess. Participants from phase one can explicitly tell me to “let it ride”.

Finally, fifty bonus points will be awarded to the individual who comes the closest to predicting the turnout of the coming election, without going over. Please use whole numbers only in predicting. So, if a person predicts 58% and another predicts 59%, and the turnout is 58.7%, the person who predicted a 58% turnout gets the extra points. Ties get the 50 bonus points divided up.

The individual with the most points wins, with special honours awarded to the individual who comes the closest, among the two guesses, to guessing the final correct seat totals.

What Are You Playing For?

My resources are limited so, for now, the top five finishers plus the special honours award winner will receive a copy of my upcoming novel, The Young City, when it comes out this January. You will also have the honour of being able to boast to your friends and family how good a political psychic you are.

If anybody would like to donate more prizes to this little endeavour, to make it more interesting, please contact me at the e-mail link on the bottom of the column on the right.

P.S.: In case my comments start acting up, if your prediction doesn’t appear on this website within twelve hours, please e-mail me right away so I can look into the spam filter. My e-mail address is james dot bow at gmail dot com.

Other Contests for 2008

Don at the venerable blog Revolutionary Moderation is relaunching his Gaffe-o-Meter contest, allowing people to predict how many gaffes each party will make this coming election, and how serious these gaffes will be. The full rules are available at his blog site, and I encourage you all to participate. You can’t have too many contests to spice up an otherwise boring campaign, now, can you?


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