German election live

Live commentary on today’s German election, plus Canadian final results and crucial US votes in Congress. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live Commentary

3:11pm If Germany just used FPTP seats without the list top-ups, what would the result have been? Wikipedia has the CDU/CSU winning 143 of the 299 FPTP seats, the SPD 121, the Greens 16, AfD 16 and three very important seats for the Left. The FDP won zero FPTP seats.

2:50pm Seat count now official. This is easily the worst vote share since WW 2 for the CDU/CSU. In 2017, right-wing parties won the overall vote by 56.2-38.6, so the margin falling to just 0.5% to the right at this election is still a massive improvement for the left.

2:35pm From these parliamentary numbers, it takes 368 seats to get a majority. Combining the SPD, Greens, Left and SSW gives them 364 seats, tantalizingly close to that majority. It is likely there will be weeks and possibly months of wrangling before we get our next German government. With no other parties prepared to work with the AfD, a right-left coalition will be needed. A plausible combination is SPD, Greens and FDP, or even another grand coalition between SPD and CDU/CSU, this time with SPD as the senior partner.

2:24pm I can’t see anything yet on official sites, but the Europe Elects twitter account has the parliamentary seat result. There will be a total of 735 seats, up 26 from 709 in 2017 and far exceeding the minimum of 598. The SPD won 206 seats, the CDU/CSU 196, the Greens 118, the FDP 92, the AfD 83, the Left 39 and an ethnic environmentalist party (SSW) one seat (ethnic parties are exempt from the 5% threshold).

2pm The Left party won three of the 299 FPTP seats, just enough to qualify for proportional allocation of seats, after coming just below the 5% national threshold with 4.9%. Their closest seat win was in Leipzig, where they beat the Greens by 22.8% to 18.4% with a split field.

1:08pm With all 299 seats in, it’s 25.7% SPD (up 5.2% since the 2017 election), 24.1% CDU/CSU (down 8.9%), 14.8% Greens (up 5.8%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.7%), 10.3% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.9% Left (down 4.3%). The overall right-wing parties win by a narrow 45.9-45.4 margin over the left-wing parties.

10:15am 279 of 299 seats in, and it’s 25.8% SPD (up 5.3%), 24.4% CDU/CSU (down 9.0%), 14.2% Greens (up 5.5%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.8%), 10.5% AfD (down 2.2%) and 4.6% Left (down 4.2%). So the overall right is beating the overall left by 46.4-44.6, contrary to pre-election polls. A Red-Red-Green (SPD, Left, Green) coalition is out.

9am 248 of 299 seats in, and it’s 25.7% SPD (up 5.2%), 24.7% CDU/CSU (down 8.8%), 14.0% Greens (up 5.5%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.7%), 10.7% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.6% Left (down 4.2%). Vote shifts are matched against the results from the same seats in 2017.

8:47am The Left party has dropped to 4.9% (below the 5% threshold) in an updated projection, but is set to win three FPTP seats, enough to get a proportional allocation of seats.

8:15am With 201 of 299 seats in, current vote shares are 25.2% CDU/CSU (down 8.8% using seat matched data from 2017), 25.7% SPD (up 5.1%), 13.8% Greens (up 5.4%), 11.4% FDP (up 0.8%), 10.5% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.4% Left (down 4.1%).

7:57am With 184 of 299 seats in, the SPD is up 5.0% and the Greens up 5.4%, but the Left is down 4.1%, putting them on pace now for a final 5.1%. The FW party has faded back to 3.1%, so won’t enter parliament.

6:58am After 65 of 299 FPTP seats, it’s a 5.0% gain for the SPD and a 4.3% gain for the Greens but a 3.7% loss for the Left. Subtracting 3.7% from the Left’s 9.2% in 2017 gives them 5.5%. Another party has 4.5% of the party list vote. It takes 5% of the list vote or 3 of 299 FPTP seats to enter parliament.

6:40am 30 of the 299 FPTP seats have now reported their final results. It’s important to look at the swing from 2017. In second vote share, the SPD is up 3.8%, the Greens up 4.2% and the Left down 3.4%. The Left won 9.2% in 2017, so this would be enough, but they’re likely to fall further when results from areas where they were strong in 2017 come through.

6:10am Monday Contrary to pre-election polls, projections from exit polls and partial results show the overall vote for right-wing parties leading the left vote by 47.5-45.0. Furthermore, the Left party is at the 5% threshold. If they fall below that threshold, they need to win at least three of 299 FPTP seats to get a proportional allocation of seats. I believe they’re currently losing two of their existing five FPTP seats.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The German election is today, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. I believe it will take until Monday afternoon AEST to have final results. To qualify for a proportional allocation of seats, parties must either win at least 5% of the vote, or three of the 299 first past the post seats. Owing to overhang and levelling seats, the total size of parliament is to be determined, but all qualifying parties will be allocated a proportional share of seats.

The Guardian’s poll aggregate gives the centre-left SPD 25.3%, the conservative CDU/CSU 22.4%, the Greens 15.7%, the pro-business FDP 11.4%, the far-right AfD 10.8% and the far-left Left 6.2%. That’s an overall left lead of 47.2-44.6, a tightening from 47.7-44.0 last week. Individual late polls have the overall left ahead by between 0.5 and 4 points.

Official results will be available at this link. There are two points that may cause confusion. These results will give the “first” and “second” votes. The first vote is the local member vote, and it is the second vote that is far more important in determining the seats each party is entitled to; the 5% threshold applies to the second vote. The CDU and CSU will be listed separately, even though they are effectively the same party, like the Liberals and Nationals in Australia. The CSU runs only in Bavaria, the CDU everywhere else.

Upcoming US crucial votes in Congress

Democrats hold the US House of Representatives by a 220-212 margin with three vacancies. In the Senate, it’s a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris having the casting vote. However, to pass the Senate, most legislation requires 60 votes to shut down a filibuster. Special legislation can be passed with a simple majority using “reconciliation”. This can only be used for legislation related to the budget, not for eg, voting rights reforms.

In the next week, there are likely to be votes in the House on a bipartisan infrastructure bill (BIB) and a Democratic infrastructure bill (DIB). The BIB earlier passed the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority. The DIB has not passed either chamber yet, and can only get through using reconciliation. Left-wing and centrist Democrats have had disagreements over these bills.

The US budget for the current year expires on Friday AEST, and appropriation bills must be passed by then to prevent a shutdown. The debt limit must be raised by sometime in October to prevent an economic disaster.

Democrats have put the debt limit increase in a bill to fund the government, but it has no chance of passing the Senate with Republicans opposed. Democrats are likely to decouple the debt limit increase from the government funding, which Republicans say they will not oppose. But the debt limit still needs to be raised, likely using reconciliation. Republicans are opposing the debt limit increase as Democrats are likely to be blamed if it goes wrong, as they control the presidency, House and Senate.

Final Canadian results

At the September 20 Canadian election, the Liberals won 159 of the 338 seats (up two since 2019), the Conservatives 119 (down two), the Quebec Bloc 33 (up one), the NDP 25 (up one) and the Greens two (down one). Vote shares were 33.7% Conservative (down 0.7%), 32.6% Liberal (down 0.5%), 17.8% NDP (up 1.8%), 7.7% Bloc (up 0.1%), 5.0% People’s Party (up 3.3%) and 2.3% Greens (down 4.2%).

Despite losing the popular vote by 1.1%, the Liberals won 40 more seats than the Conservatives. A key reason was the most populous province of Ontario, where the Liberals won 78 of the 121 seats to 37 Conservatives on a 4.4% popular vote lead. The Liberals utterly dominated Canada’s big cities: to see this zoom in on Toronto in Ontario or Montreal in Quebec on the CBC’s results map.

Canadian election live; German election minus five days

Live commentary on today’s Canadian election. German polls remain relatively stable. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live Commentary

11:25am Wednesday: Pleased to report that I survived the Melbourne Earthquake! In Canada, 15 seats remain in doubt, 10 with Liberal leads. I believe postal votes in many seats were verified today, and will be counted tomorrow.

2:32pm Liberals plus NDP is currently 184 seats, Libs plus Bloc is 189 seats. Both combinations easily exceed the 170 required for a majority. Very much a status quo result.

2:15pm In 2019, the Tories won the popular vote by 34.3-33.1 over the Liberals, but lost the seat count by 157-121. Current popular votes are 34.1-31.9 to the Tories, yet the Liberals lead on seats by 156-122, with 30 Bloc and 28 NDP.

1:08pm The Conservatives are now 0.1% ahead of the Liberals in vote shares.

1:07pm Despite the clear seat win for the Liberals, the Conservatives now only trail them by 0.1%, and are very likely to end up with more votes. So once again vote wastage in safe seats hurts the Conservatives.

12:48pm 150 Liberals, 119 Conservatives, 28 Bloc, 27 NDP, three Greens. The Conservatives actually have a 48-39 edge over the Liberals on those called “Elected”, owing to too much vote concentration in safe seats.

12:41pm Seat changes have swung to Liberals down eight, Conservatives up five, Bloc down three and NDP up six. Liberals led Conservatives by 157-121 seats in 2019.

12:32pm Seat changes are now NDP up five, Liberals and Bloc down one and Tories down three.

12:28pm CBC News is CALLING a Liberal government. That means they project Liberals will win the most seats, majority still in question.

12:25pm 131 Liberals, 71 Tories, 27 Bloc, 18 NDP. Liberals up four, Tories down six, NDP up four, Bloc down two.

12:17pm Liberals lead Conservatives by 122-56 with 24 Bloc and 18 NDP. Liberals making nine net gains, Conservatives nine net losses.

12:05pm Liberals leading Tories by 83-42, with 14 NDP, 14 Bloc and one Green. Liberals up six, Tories down five, Bloc down three, NDP up two.

12:01pm Liberal gains down to three, Tory losses at two, NDP up three and Bloc down four. The final polls have just closed Canada: British Columbia.

11:57am Liberals won 157 seats at the 2019 election. They’re currently showing as making a net eight seat gain. They could win a majority (170+ seats).

11:54am 55 Libs, 25 Tories, 6 Bloc, 6 NDP, 1 Green. Liberals making six net gains, Tories four losses

11:43am Liberals lead by 39-15 with 4 Bloc, 1 NDP and 1 Green.

11:35am Liberals lead by 31-11 with one Bloc.

11:16am Liberals leading by 26-8 with no seats for anybody else. There’ll be a deluge of results when the large majority of polls close at 11:30am.

11:03am Liberals leading by 24-9 with one Bloc. The Conservatives are making five gains, the Liberals four losses, and the NDP and Greens one loss each.

10:40am Liberals leading by 24-8 with one seat for the Quebec Bloc. The NDP seats have disappeared. Gains and losses are Conservatives up four, Liberals down three, Bloc up one, NDP and Greens both down one.

10:17am Liberals lead by 23-7 with 2 NDP. Gains and losses are Liberals down three, Conservatives up three, NDP up one and Greens down one.

10:03am Liberals now leading by 16-4 with one NDP; that’s two Conservative gains.

9:55am Liberals now leading by 12-2 with one NDP, as Conservative gains reduced to one. Atlantic Canada (where these early results are from) is a stronghold for the Liberals.

9:47am Tuesday Results are in from 10 of the 338 seats, and the Liberals lead the Conservatives by 6-3 with one NDP. If those results hold up, it’s three GAINS for the Conservatives. Canadian media list seats as “leading” and “elected”, with seats listed as “elected” when called for a party.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Justin Trudeau called the Canadian election two years early, and the results will come in today. Canada uses first past the post to elect its 338 members of parliament.

The final CBC Poll Tracker has Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals on 31.5%, followed by the Conservatives on 31.0%, the left-wing NDP 19.1%, the right-wing populist People’s Party (PPC) 7.0%, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 6.8% and the Greens 3.5%. Final polls range from Liberals by six (EKOS) to Conservatives by four (Forum).

Although the Liberals and Conservatives are nearly tied on vote shares, the Tracker gives the Liberals a large seat lead of 155-119 over the Conservatives, with 32 NDP and 31 Bloc. The Liberals are given a 17% chance to win a majority (170+ seats) and a 57% chance to win the most seats but not a majority.

The Liberals had an eight-point lead when the election was called, but lost ground quickly in the first two weeks to trail the Conservatives on vote share. But the rise of the PPC appears to have wrecked the Conservatives’ hopes.

Most of Canada uses staggered poll opening and closing times, in which polls in the trailing time zone open and close an hour earlier than those in the leading time zone. The exceptions are polls for seats in Atlantic Canada. Here are the Canadian poll closing times today AEST:

By 9:30am, polls in the four small provinces of Atlantic Canada (32 of the 338 seats) are closed. Newfoundland (seven seats) closes 30 minutes earlier. At 11:30am, the large majority of polls close. At 12pm, all polls are closed in Canada, with British Columbia (42 seats) closing.

Owing to COVID, there has been a surge in the number of postal vote applications, with over 1 million requests. Postal votes will not start being counted until tomorrow, delaying the results in close seats. According to an Ipsos poll, NDP and Liberal voters were more likely than Conservatives to say they would vote by mail.

German polls relatively stable five days before election

The German election will occur this Sunday, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. If my 2017 article for The Conversation on the German election is accurate at this election, final results will not be available until Monday afternoon AEST.

The Guardian’s German poll aggregate has the centre-left SPD on 25.6%, followed by the conservative CDU/CSU on 21.8%, the Greens 15.8%, the far-right AfD 11.1%, the pro-business FDP 11.1% and the far-left Left 6.3%. The overall vote for left parties leads the overall right vote by 47.7-44.0. I wrote last week that, for the likely formation of a left government, the Left party needs to exceed 5% or win at least three of the 299 FPTP seats.

California recall live; Canadian and German elections minus six to 11 days

Democrat Newsom set to defeat Recall – live commentary today. Conservatives fall back in Canada, and polls stable in Germany. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live commentary

12pm Thursday: With all election day votes counted, No to Recall leads by 63.9-36.1. Late mail and provisional votes will be counted over the next four weeks. When everything is counted, Newsom is likely to exceed his 61.9-38.1 margin in 2018, but fall a little short of Biden’s 29-point California margin in 2020.

4pm As the election day vote comes in, Newsom’s lead is dropping slightly. But No to Recall still leads by 65.7-34.3 with an estimated 66% in. Remember that counting will continue for about four weeks after today.

1:50pm CNN finally CALLS it for No to Recall. In 2018, Newsom won the governor’s race against a Republican by 62-38. Can he exceed that margin? Polls did not have him far enough ahead.

1:42pm No to Recall leading by a massive 67.5-32.5 with nearly 8 million votes in. Margin likely to decrease a bit as election day votes come in, but 17% of election day votes are already in.

1:25pm Dave Wasserman has CALLED it for Newsom and is off to bed (it’s 11:25pm on the US East Coast).

1:17pm No winning by almost 70-30 after over 5 million counted.

1:13pm No to Recall winning by 64-36 with over 2.2 million votes in already.

1:07pm No immediate call, but the exit poll has a wide margin for No. The first results from San Diego have No leading by 60.6-39.4 from over 800,000 votes.

12:52pm Wednesday Polls close in eight minutes. There is an exit poll. If that exit poll shows No to Recall winning by about the same0 margin as in pre-election polls, the recall is likely to be called as soon as polls close.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The final FiveThirtyEight aggregate for today’s California recall election shows Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom leading Recall by 15.8%, out from 10.1% last week and just 1.2% three weeks ago.

Newsom has been able to make this election a contest between him, and the likely winner of the replacement vote, radio shock jock Republican Larry Elder. With no prominent Democrats contesting the replacement vote, Newsom’s lead over Recall has rapidly increased in a Democratic stronghold.

Early mail votes will be released soon after polls close at 1pm AEST. Given the polling, it is likely that the election will be called for Newsom once we see these votes. Election day vote counting will go until the evening AEST. California keeps counting late mail and provisional votes for four weeks after election day.

The FiveThirtyEight aggregate of Joe Biden’s ratings has him at 49.2% disapprove, 45.9% approve (net -3.3); his net approval is up half a point since last week. Biden last week announced vaccine mandates to combat COVID. In a Morning Consult poll, voters supported requiring all employers with over 100 employees to mandate vaccination or weekly tests by a 58-36 margin.

People’s Party rise hurts Conservatives in Canada

The Canadian election is next Tuesday September 21 AEST. Canada uses first past the post to elect its 338 members of parliament.

In the CBC Poll Tracker, the Liberals have regained the lead with 31.9%, followed by the Conservatives on 31.3%, the NDP 19.4%, the Quebec Bloc 6.6%, the populist right People’s Party (PPC) 6.4%, and the Greens 3.3%. Last week, the Conservatives had 33.5% and the PPC 4.8%.

Under FPTP, small parties on the left and right spoil their better aligned major party’s chances. The Tracker has the Liberals seat lead over the Conservatives out to 151-122 from 140-133 last week, with 35 NDP and 29 Bloc.

Most of Canada uses staggered poll opening and closing times, in which polls in the trailing time zone open and close an hour earlier than those in the leading time zone. The exceptions are polls for seats in Atlantic Canada. Here are the Canadian poll closing times next Tuesday AEST:

By 9:30am, polls in the four small provinces of Atlantic Canada (32 of the 338 seats) are closed. Newfoundland (seven seats) closes 30 minutes earlier. At 11:30am, the large majority of polls close. At 12pm, all polls are closed in Canada, with British Columbia (42 seats) closing.

Polls relatively stable in Germany

The Politico poll aggregate for the September 26 German election has the centre-left SPD leading with 25%, followed by the conservative CDU/CSU on 21%, the Greens 16%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 6%. The overall vote for left parties leads the overall right by 47-44 (48-44 last week).

I described the German electoral system in my previous article. Parties that either win at least 5% of the party vote or three of the 299 FPTP seats receive a proportional allocation of seats. The Left party is close to the 5% threshold in current polls, but won five FPTP seats in 2017. If they hold three of these seats, they will qualify for proportionality. It is unlikely that the SPD and the Greens will win enough seats on their own for a left majority, so this is crucial.

Conservative government ousted in Norway

At Monday’s Norwegian election, Labour won 48 of the 169 seats (down one since 2017), the Conservatives 36 (down nine), the agrarian Centre 28 (up nine), the right-wing Progress 21 (down six), the Socialist Left 13 (up two) and the Red eight (up seven). The Conservative PM conceded, and it is likely Labour will govern with support from the Centre and Socialists (89 seats for that combination exceeding the 85 needed for a majority).

California recall, Canadian and German elections minus one to three weeks

Democrat Gavin Newsom now likely to beat recall in California, Liberals slump in Canada after Trudeau’s early election call and Social Democrats surge to the top in Germany.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Polls close in the California recall election next Wednesday September 15 at 1pm AEST. There is a Yes/No question on whether the governor is recalled, followed by a long list of replacement candidates. If the recall succeeds, the candidate with the most votes is elected.

In my last article two weeks ago, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom led Recall by just 1.2% in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, but he has surged since then, and now leads by 10.1%. California is a Democratic stronghold that voted for Joe Biden by 29% in November 2020. Motivating Democrats is likely to be enough for Newsom.

To qualify for a Recall election, 12% of the total votes cast for governor at the last election must sign a petition. Only one governor has been recalled since recalls were introduced in 1911: in 2003, Democrat Gray Davis was replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Davis lost the Recall vote by 55.4-44.6, and Schwarzenegger had 48.6% of the replacement vote, well ahead of 31.5% for a Democrat.

Since the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden’s ratings have continued to slide in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate. He’s now at 49.0% disapprove, 45.3% approve for a net approval of -3.7%. Biden’s net approval was +6 before the fall of Kabul on August 15.

There are other factors dragging Biden down, like COVID, inflation and illegal immigration. But the clear downward trend since Kabul’s fall indicates Afghanistan is a big factor. US COVID is likely to improve soon, but Biden’s perceived incompetence over Afghanistan could reflect badly on him when Americans consider other problems.

Trudeau’s Liberals slump in Canada

Justin Trudeau called the Canadian election for September 20, two years early. Canada uses First Past the Post to elect its 338 parliamentary members.

The CBC Poll Tracker has the Conservatives leading with 33.5%, followed by Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals on 31.2%, the left-wing NDP 20.3%, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 5.9%, the right-wing populist People’s Party 4.8% and the Greens 3.4%. The Liberals were eight points ahead before the election was called, and their position deteriorated rapidly in the first two weeks of the campaign, but it has stabilized in the last week.

Despite the Conservatives’ narrow vote lead, the Liberals still have a narrow seat lead of 140-133, with 37 NDP and 27 Bloc, owing to Conservative wastage in safe seats. The tracker gives the Conservatives just a 4% chance of winning an outright majority.

In a recent Angus Reid poll, NDP leader Singh had a +14 net favourable rating, the Bloc’s Blanchet -1, the Conservatives’ O’Toole -17 and Trudeau -25. In Abacus, it was Singh +19, Blanchet +10, Trudeau -5 and O’Toole -8.

Social Democrats (SPD) surge in Germany

The German election is on September 26. Germany has 299 single-member seats elected by FPTP, and at least 299 list seats that are used to top-up FPTP seats to ensure overall proportionality of all qualifying parties. Voters cast one vote for their FPTP seat, and another for their preferred party. Parties can qualify by either exceeding 5% of the national “party” vote, or winning three FPTP seats.

List seats are awarded by states, and this results in frequent “overhangs” when a party wins more seats by FPTP than entitled from its party vote, which are compensated by “leveling” seats for other parties. There are usually more than the minimum 598 seats in German parliaments, with the 2017 election having 709 seats owing to the conservative CDU/CSU’s dominance of FPTP seats on a 32.9% vote share.

In the Politico poll aggregate, the SPD now leads with 25%, with the CDU/CSU at 21%, the Greens 17%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 6%. The SPD has surged to the top at the expense of the CDU/CSU, and the combined left now leads the combined right by 48-44 (47-45 to the right two weeks ago). The Left is close to the 5% threshold, but could survive even if they fall below as they won five FPTP seats in 2017 – three are needed.

Angela Merkel, who has been German chancellor since 2005, is retiring at this election. In a recent poll, just 20% were satisfied with the new CDU/CSU chancellor candidate, Armin Laschet, compared with between 57% and 71% for Merkel in the four elections she contested.

Canadian and German elections minus four to five weeks

Justin Trudeau calls an early Canadian election and German polls tighten. Also: Biden’s ratings slump after the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

On August 15, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau called the election for September 20, more than two years early. Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals won the most seats, but not a majority, at the 2019 election, and good polling encouraged Trudeau to seek a majority.

Canada has 338 seats elected by first past the post. At the October 2019 election, the Liberals won 157 seats, the Conservatives 121, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 32, the left-wing NDP 24 and the Greens three. Vote shares were 34.3% Conservative, 33.1% Liberal, 16.0% NDP, 7.6% Bloc and 6.6% Greens. The Conservatives wasted votes in safe seats, while the Bloc benefited from only running in Quebec.

The CBC Poll Tracker currently gives the Liberals 34.0%, the Conservatives 30.3%, the NDP 19.8%, the Bloc 6.3% and the Greens 4.6%. Seat estimates are 160 Liberals (ten short of a majority), 111 Conservatives, 38 NDP and 28 Bloc. The Liberal lead over the Conservatives has dropped from eight points to four in the week since the election was called.

At the 2015 election, the Liberals promised to change the electoral system from FPTP, but welched on that promise after winning a majority. There was a bad sign for the Liberals when the Conservatives won the Nova Scotia provincial election last Tuesday. The Liberals were well ahead, but faded late.

Social Democrats gain at CDU/CSU’s expense for German election

The German election will be on September 26. Parties need to clear 5% to qualify for the proportional allocation of seats. The Politico poll aggregate currently gives the conservative CDU/CSU 24%, the centre-left SPD 20%, the Greens 18%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 7%. In the last few month, the SPD has gained 4-5 points from the CDU/CSU, and the combined right’s lead over the combined left has narrowed to 47-45 from 51-42.

German polls do not appear to ask for leader approval ratings, only for preferred chancellor. The SPD’s Scholz is leading both the Greens’ Baerbock and the CDU/CSU’s Laschet by double digit margins, probably explaining the shift in voting intention polls. Angela Merkel, who has been chancellor since 2005, is retiring at this election.

Biden’s ratings slump after Afghanistan withdrawal

A week since the fall of Kabul, Joe Biden’s ratings with all polls in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate are 49.4% approve, 46.2% disapprove (net +3.2%). Biden’s net approval was +10 in late July and +6 before Kabul. Recent polls have been near net zero, so the aggregate may fall further.

Biden’s drop can also be attributed to US COVID, inflation and illegal immigration. But Afghanistan has been damaging. In a CBS/YouGov poll, 74% thought the removal of US troops had gone badly, although 63% still approved of their removal. Biden’s handling of withdrawal crashed from 60-40 approve in July to 53-47 disapprove.

The Afghanistan withdrawal has been compared to the 1975 US withdrawal from Saigon at Vietnam. New York Times analyst Nate Cohn said former president Gerald Ford’s ratings increased in the months after Saigon.

In Vietnam, over 58,000 US soldiers were killed in action, while 2,500 were killed in Afghanistan. There had been no US combat deaths since February 2020. The far greater US casualties in Vietnam meant the public was far more likely to be willing to accept the costs of sudden withdrawal.

Another problem for Biden with Afghanistan is that the chaos and perceived humiliation for the US erodes the public’s faith in his competence. As an anti-establishment candidate, Donald Trump’s supporters did not care about the scorn of the establishment, but Biden’s competence was a big selling point at the election.

Californian Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom faces a recall election on September 14. Voters will be asked whether they want to keep or recall Newsom, and who to replace him with. If Newsom loses the recall vote, the replacement candidate is elected by FPTP.

With no primary to select one Democratic and Republican candidate, there are many from both parties, so the winner could have a low vote share. The FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate has Newsom beating Recall by 1.2%. If Newsom loses, Republican Elder, with 19%, has a ten-point lead over his nearest rival.

Canadian election results live!

Live commentary on results from the Canadian election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Wednesday 10:16am Back to Brexit, and the government lost a crucial vote on Tuesday that means it is unable to guillotine the Brexit bill through the Commons by Thursday.  The second reading of the Brexit bill passed by 329 votes to 299, with 19 Labour and most independents voting with the Conservatives.  However, the guillotine motion failed by 322 to 308, along similar splits as Saturday’s Letwin amendment.   In both cases, opposition from the ten DUP MPs was critical in swinging these two votes against the government.

A long delay to Brexit is now very likely.  Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will agree to an election once such a delay is in place.  Polls currently give the Conservatives a large lead.

Wednesday 9:56am The final seat result was as below.  The final popular votes were 34.4% Conservatives, 33.1% Liberals, 15.9% NDP, 7.7% Quebec Bloc and 6.5% Greens.  Turnout was 66.0% of eligible voters (down 2.8%).

6:23pm The Liberals lead in the last two undecided seats, and are likely to win 157 of the 338 seats, losing just one net seat in Ontario.  The Conservatives have 121, the Quebec Bloc 32, the NDP 24, the Greens three and one independent.

5:57pm So Canada is likely headed for a Liberal government supported by the more left-wing NDP.

5:55pm Antony Green has an overall summary of vote and seat changes since the 2015 election.  Currently Liberals and NDP have 180 seats combined, easily exceeding the requirement for a majority (170 seats) (post modified).

4:50pm Assuming current figures are near final, here’s how they compare with the CBC Poll Tracker (in brackets)

Libs 156 seats, 33.0% (137, 32.0%)

Con 122, 34.5% (124, 31.6%)

Quebec Bloc 32, 7.9% (39, 7.0%)

NDP 24, 15.9% (35, 18.4%)

Green 3, 6.4% (1, 7.5%)

So the Conservatives exceeded their polling in popular vote terms, beating the Liberals by 1.5% instead of losing by 0.4%.  But they lost the seat count by 34 instead of 13.  Far too many votes wasted in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while the Liberals won Ontario easily.  And probably some tactical voting.

3:28pm It greatly helps to be regionally concentrated if you’re a minor party in a single-member system.  The Quebec Bloc currently have 32 seats on 8.1%, the Greens just three seats on 6.3%.  The Bloc won 33.0% in Quebec, the only province they contested.

3:14pm Not much change in the results.  156 Liberal leads, 121 Conservative, 32 Quebec Bloc, 25 NDP, three Greens, one independent.  Conservatives lead Liberals by 1.3% on popular votes; could also be some tactical voting by left-wing supporters.  If these results hold, Liberals plus NDP will have a majority (170+ seats).  I hope the NDP will push the Liberals to electoral reform.

2:25pm I’m going for a walk on a (rare) sunny day in Melbourne.  See you in 30 minutes.

2:24pm The Conservatives currently have a 0.6% lead over the Liberals in popular votes despite trailing by 35 in seats leading.  It’s possible that there are big vote sinks for the Liberals in the cities still to be counted, or that the Conservative vote was too inefficiently distributed (see Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan).

2:14pm Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, voted for a right-wing government at the June 2018 provincial election, but the Liberals are currently leading in 77 of the 121 seats from that province.  Another example of state elections not correlating strongly with federal results.

2:00pm Maxime Bernier broke away from the Conservatives to form the far-right People’s Party during the last term.  CBC says he’s lost his seat.

1:53pm 152 Liberals, 118 Conservatives, 35 Quebec Bloc, 24 NDP, three Greens seat leads.  Called elected are 82 Liberals, 75 Conservatives, 18 Bloc, three NDP, one Green

1:31pm A big problem for the Conservatives is massive vote wastage in Alberta.  They currently have 72% of the vote there, but there are only 34 seats in that province.

1:22pm 140 Liberals, 107 Conservatives, 30 Bloc, 20 NDP, one Green seat leads.  22 losses for the Liberals, enough to cost them their majority.

1:11pm CBC News calls a Liberal government, probably a minority but we’ll see!

1:09pm 122 Liberals, 95 Conservatives, 21 Bloc, ten NDP, two Greens.  Liberals shown losing 16 seats, enough to cost them their majority (had 184 of 338 in 2015)

1:00pm 93 Liberals, 69 Conservatives, 18 Bloc, nine NDP, one Green

12:53pm 71 Liberals, 44 Conservatives, 12 Bloc, eight NDP, one Green leads

12:51pm 58 Liberals, 40 Conservatives, 12 Quebec Bloc, eight NDP, one Green seat leads.

12:46pm 48 Liberals, 29 Conservatives, eight Quebec Bloc, six NDP and one Green seat leads.

12:03pm Will have lunch now, so I’m back in time for the 12:30pm deluge!

12:02pm In Atlantic Canada, the CBC Poll Tracker had voting intentions of 37.1% Liberals, 26.8% Conservatives, 20.0% NDP and 12.1% Greens.  Results so far are 41.3% Liberals, 29.7% Conservatives, 16.7% NDP and 10.1% Greens.

11:57am One seat in Quebec closed at 10:30am, and that puts the Quebec Bloc on the board (very termporarily).  Seat leads are 26 Liberals, five Conservatives, one NDP and one Green.  Called seats are 17 Liberals, three Conservatives, one NDP

11:45am Greens are on the tally board, leading in one seat.  25 Liberals, six Conservatives, one NDP, one Green.  In 2015, all Atlantic Canada seats went Liberal.

11:35am 24 Liberals, seven Conservative, one NDP leads.  Ten Liberals, two Conservatives, one NDP called elected.

11:27am Antony Green tweets that these provinces are showing a 12% swing from Liberal to Conservative, but the Liberal vote was huge in 2015, and it may not carry to the rest of the country.

11:22am 24 Liberals, six Conservatives, one NDP seat lead, including eight Liberals called elected

11:09am 22 Liberals, six Conservatives, one NDP seat lead, including five Liberals called as elected.

11:03am Now 16 Liberals, nine Conservative and one NDP seat lead.  Polls in most of Canada do not close until 12:30pm, with British Columbia (42 of 338 seats) closing at 1pm.

10:50am Welcome to a live blog of the Canadian election results by Adrian Beaumont.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has up-to-date figures.  Polls closed at 10:30am AEDT in four eastern provinces (32 of 338 seats), and the Liberals have leads in 12 seats, to two for the Conservatives, and one NDP.  These eastern provinces are pro-Liberal compared to Canada overall.

In the latest on Brexit, Commons Speaker John Bercow did not allow the government to bring back its meaningful vote motion after it had been amended on Saturday.  The government will now attempt to ram the Brexit legislation through the Commons by Thursday, but even if it succeeds, and the legislation is not unacceptably amended, the House of Lords is a big problem.

The Lords is far more pro-Remain than the Commons, and does not like to be rushed.  As the Letwin amendment states that approval of the deal is delayed until all legislation passes parliament, it is likely that the government will need to accept at least a short Brexit extension.

Brexit, Canada preview and elsewhere

The Letwin amendment delays approval of a deal Brexit, as Boris Johnson sends three letters to the EU. Also: minority government likely in Monday’s Canadian election. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

On October 17, Boris Johnson agreed a Brexit deal with the European Union. On October 19, the Letwin amendment passed the Commons by 322 votes to 306. All current Conservatives voted against this amendment, as did six Labour MPs. But the ten Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs voted in favour, as did many of the expelled Conservatives.

The Letwin amendment withholds approval for the deal until legislation to enact Brexit has passed parliament. If not for the amendment, the deal would likely have passed, as some who voted for the amendment indicated they would support the deal itself; they only voted for Letwin to ensure a no-deal Brexit on October 31 did not occur.

As approval of the deal was delayed, Johnson was required to request a Brexit extension. He sent three letters: an unsigned copy of the letter required by the Benn Act, an explanatory letter from the UK’s EU ambassador and a signed letter from Johnson explaining why he does not want an extension. I do not know what the EU, lawyers and courts will make of these contradictory letters.

No current Conservative MP has spoken against the deal. Unlike Theresa May’s deal, which applied a backstop to the whole UK, Johnson’s deal only applies to Northern Ireland, with the rest of the UK free to change trading arrangements. As commentator Stephen Bush wrote, this freedom appealed to hard Leavers far more than May’s deal.

Johnson reverted to the EU’s original offer, which May had rejected owing to her need for the DUP to form a government. Johnson wants an election, so he doesn’t care about the DUP causing trouble, and was happy to shaft them.

Whether legislation passes parliament, is rejected or unacceptably amended, an election is likely coming soon, as Jeremy Corbyn says he will support an election once a long extension is granted. If the deal is enacted, a transition period until December 2020 will mean no economic consequences until then. Polls suggest a favourable reaction to the Brexit deal has further boosted the Conservatives.

Labour’s best chance to win the next election is to attack the Brexit deal as a sell-out to the right. But one explanation for Labour’s surge before the June 2017 election was that inflation-adjusted wages were down 0.5% in the year to May 2017; they are up 2.0% in the year to August 2019.

Minority government likely in Monday’s Canadian election

The Canadian election will be held Monday, with polls closing Tuesday Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT). Canada uses first-past-the-post. According to the CBC Poll Tracker, voting intentions are 31.7% Liberals (centre-left), 31.4% Conservatives, 18.2% NDP (left-wing), 8.2% Greens and 7.0% Quebec Bloc (left-wing, separatist). Seat expectations are 139 of 338 Liberals, 121 Conservatives, 40 Bloc, 35 NDP and two Greens.

If, as is likely, no party wins a majority (170 seats), the party with the most seats could form a minority government. If the Conservatives won the most seats, they could be ousted by an agreement between the Liberals and other left-wing parties. However, this did not occur after either the 2006 or 2008 elections. Perhaps reform of the electoral system could be a bargain for support.

Canada uses staggered polling times, so that most polls close at the same time. However, the four eastern provinces’ polls close by 10:30am Tuesday AEDT, but they account for just 32 of the 338 seats. Most polls close at 12:30pm AEDT, with polls in British Columbia (42 seats) closing at 1pm. We should have a rough idea of the result by 1:30pm. Canadian media list seats as either “leading” (a candidate leads in the vote count) or “elected” (called for a candidate).

Election updates: Portugal and Argentina

  • With the four overseas Portuguese seats declared for the October 6 election, the Socialists won 108 of 230 seats (up 22) and the conservatives 84 (down 23). All other parties’ seats are as in my previous Portugal
  • There will be an October 27 Argentine presidential election. A candidate needs at least 45% to win without a runoff. In 2015, conservative Mauricio Macri won, ending 12 years of left-wing presidencies. Polls give left-wing candidate Alberto Fernández over 50% and about a 20-point lead over Macri.

Brexit, Israeli election results and upcoming elections

Latest Brexit developments, stalemate in Israel and previews of elections in Austria, Portugal, Poland and Canada. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Boris Johnson said he wants a deal with the European Union, but has also said that if there is not a deal, he will ignore parliament’s legislation, and break free of the EU like “the Incredible Hulk”. Courts in Northern Ireland and England upheld parliament’s prorogation, but a Scottish court rejected it. The Supreme Court is expected to rule by next week. Polls in the last week gave the Conservatives nine-point or better leads, except for ComRes (just a one-point Conservative lead).

The key question is whether Johnson is serious about coming to a feasible deal with the EU, or is he pretending so he can blame the EU and parliament once talks collapse? A feasible deal would be attacked by Nigel Farage and hard Leave Conservative MPs, and be unlikely to pass parliament, which three times easily rejected Theresa May’s deal.

The remainder of this article will be a recap of the Israeli election, then previews of elections in Austria (September 29), Portugal (October 6), Poland (October 13) and Canada (October 21). Except for Canada, all these countries use proportional representation.

Neither side wins Israeli election 

The 120 Knesset members were elected by proportional representation with a 3.25% threshold. At the September 17 election, right-wing PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud won 31 seats, one behind the left-leaning Blue & White. With potential allies, Netanyahu had 55 seats, to 56 for the opposition.

Yisrael Beiteinu (YB), with nine seats, is the kingmaker. Netanyahu failed to form a government after the April 2019 election because YB advocated introducing conscription for the ultra-Orthodox, which religious parties opposed. YB’s leader, Avigdor Lieberman, said prior to the election that he would only join a Likud and Blue & White government. Neither the left nor the right can claim victory in this election.

Austria (September 29) 

Austria uses proportional representation with a 4% threshold. At the October 2017 election, the conservative ÖVP and far-right FPÖ formed government, having won a clear majority of seats. In May, this government collapsed after the FPÖ leader was accused of collusion with a Russian oligarch, and new elections were scheduled.

Polls have the ÖVP leading with 35.5%, followed by the centre-left SPÖ at 21.6%, the FPÖ at 19.8%, the Greens at 10.9% and the liberal NEOS at 8.5%. The ÖVP would prefer to govern with NEOS, but it is unlikely that these parties will have enough seats. The alternatives are another ÖVP/FPÖ government, or a grand coalition, which had governed prior to the 2017 election.

Portugal (October 6)

Portugal uses proportional representation at the regional level; bigger parties win a greater share of seats than their national votes imply. After the October 2015 election, the Socialists formed a minority government supported by the Left Bloc, Communists and Greens.

There has been a trend towards right-wing and far-right parties internationally, but Portugal is the exception. The Socialists have 39.6% in the polls, the combined vote for conservative parties is just 24.5% and other left-wing parties have a combined 24.1%. The only question, given the bonus for big parties, is whether the Socialists win a majority in their own right.

Poland (October 13)

Poland uses proportional representation in multi-member constituencies with a 5% national threshold for single parties and 8% for coalitions. At the October 2015 election, the Law and Justice (PiS) party won a majority on just 37.6%, as the centre-left coalition fell below the 8% threshold and was wiped out. While socially conservative and anti-immigrant, PiS is economically left-wing.

Polls for this election give PiS 45% of the vote, followed by a coalition of right and left-wing parties on 27% and a centre-left coalition on 13%. It is likely that PiS will win another majority, but the centre-left should return to parliament.

Canada (October 21)

Canada uses first-past-the-post. At the May 2011 election, the Conservatives won a majority on just 39.6% as left-wing parties split virtually all the remaining vote. Prior to the October 2015 election, which the centre-left Liberals won with a majority, current PM Justin Trudeau promised to reform the electoral system, but disappointingly he wimped out.

I will use CBC analyst Éric Grenier’s Poll Tracker. This currently gives the Conservatives 34.4%, the Liberals 34.1%, the left-wing NDP 13.8%, the Greens 9.5% and the Quebec Bloc 4.4%. Although the two major parties are tied in vote share, the Liberals are expected to win 167 of the 338 seats, the Conservatives 139, NDP 16, Quebec Bloc 12 and Greens four.