The Fourth Biennial Bow. James Bow Canadian Election Pool

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The motion of non-confidence has passed, and the Government of Canada has fallen. New elections will likely take place on May 2nd.

Well, you know what that means?

Why, yes, it’s time for that biennial tradition: the Bow. James Bow Canadian election pool, where visitors are challenged to predict the final results at election day, and where favour is given to those who predict early and stick to their guns.

The rules are complicated, but your task is simple, and the arrangement seemed to work well in the past two elections. All you have to do is this: in the comments section below, write down what you think Canadians will wake up to on May 3rd, including how many seats each party will win, and what the final turnout will be. Here’s a sample prediction below:

Conservatives: 109
Liberals: 109
Bloc Quebecois: 50
New Democrats: 38
Greens: 0
Independents: 2

Turnout: 62%

Note that the total number of seats equals 308 (that’s the total number of seats up for grabs in this election), so be sure to check your math before you make your prediction. Also, please be sure to 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. Putting in your e-mail address makes it much easier for me to tally the results and to send you your prize if you win.

And that’s it, really. 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 three election pools, this contest will be conducted in two phases, and everybody who participates will get two chances to predict the results.

The first phase begins now, and you should all start posting your prediction in the comments section below. Then, effective 12:01 a.m. EDT on April 15, 2011, or at the end of the closing comments of the final leaders’ debate (whichever is later), phase two begins. Here, people will be asked to assess the campaign so far, and post their revised prediction in the comments section of the post that announces phase two of this contest.

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.


How the entries are scored:

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 the day after the election (likely May 3rd). 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, but they will 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 You Are Playing For:

The five individuals with the highest score, along with the special honours winner will be getting books! I’ll provide a copy of my latest young adult fantasy novel The Young City, and I’ll kick in an audio copy of my wife’s Plain Kate to boot. I would also like to invite anybody else who might have an interesting prize to give, to come forward and add their lot to the prize pack. My resources are limited, but the more prizes we have to offer, the more fun it will be.

Of course, if you finish in the top five, you will have the satisfaction of displaying your precognitive skills hither and yon, as you clearly have your finger on the pulse of Canada’s body politic. You should be writing for the National Post or something.

Most of all, have fun! I know I will. The contest opens now.


UPDATE: More Prizes!

  • Lindsay Stewart has kindly donated five download codes for his new album, Shaken. You can learn more about it here.
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