Opinion: Svend Robinson pulls slightly ahead in Burnaby North-Seymour: 338 Canada

Chris Campbell

Back in January of this year, I wrote a column saying that the Svend Robinson-Terry Beech race in Burnaby North-Seymour would be a “political slugfest for the ages.”

Well, that hasn’t really panned out as far as sparks flying between the two during the debates. Both candidates are articulate speakers, but things have been pretty tame.


But the race itself appears to have tightened up with a razor-thin margin between the two.

According to 338Canada, Burnaby North-Seymour is now listed as a “toss up” – with Robinson actually slightly pulling ahead at 29.8%, with Beech close behind at 29.3%.

Green candidate Amita Kuttner is a distant third, but still polling pretty strong at 17%.

You can read the full results for the riding here.

So, what is 338Canada?

According to its website, “the 338Canada project is a statistical model of electoral projections based on opinion polls, electoral history of Canadian provinces and demographic data. This web site is the creation of P.J. Fournier, astronomy and physics professor at Cégep de Saint-Laurent in Montréal.”

Fournier is a big advocate of polling aggregates instead of putting a lot of stock into one particular poll. He’s also a big believer in using demographic data to help determine outcomes.

Fournier’s site describes its methodology like this: “The 338Canada model uses a mostly proportional swing with regional adjustments. For instance, if a party goes from 30% to 33% in the poll aggregate, an increase of 10%, then its score goes up by 10% in every district - if said party is at 15% in district X, then its score goes up to 16.5% (an increase of 1.5 point).But mostly proportional does not mean exclusively proportional. The 338Canada model also uses demographic data: careful considerations is given to demographics of each district, such as median and average household income, age distribution, language most spoken at home, etc. This data is used to make statistical correlations of voting intention swings between regions and districts.”

So, take all of this with a grain of salt. You never know which candidate will be the most successful in getting their supporters out to vote.

But I think Oct. 21 will be really close in Burnaby North-Seymour.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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