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Election Forecasting
Ontario Provincial Election 2007
Voter Migration Matrix

developed by Prof. Werner Antweiler
Guess the probability with which a 2003 voter will vote for a particular party in 2007. The sum of each row in the table below must be equal to 1.000 precisely. Once you have completed your guess of the voter migration matrix, press the FORECAST button. The forecaster program will apply your voter migration matrix to the 2003 election results to find out which party will win in each riding. Leaving the matrix unchanged will display the 2003 election results. You can also display results riding by riding in descending order of the vote share to identify "safe" and "marginal" seats for individual parties.
Probability to migrate
from party in 2003 ...
... to party in 2007
Liberal PartyLIB
Progressive Conservative PartyPC
New Democratic PartyNDP
All Other PartiesOTR
Show results for individual constituencies:
Press to apply your voter migration matrix.
Press to set the voter migration matrix to the identity matrix.

During the 2007 election, voters in the province of Ontario cast their ballots in 107 constituencies rather than the 103 constituencies in 2003. Therefore, the 2003 results were transposed from 103 constituencies to 107 constituencies using the transposition table provided by Elections Ontario.
Elections in Ontario employ a "first-past-the-post" voting system. Thus the prediction of the election result in terms of the seats distribution in the provincial legislature is based on a prediction of the election result in each constituency. The use of a voter migration matrix reflects the notion that voters change their opinion about candidates and parties in a similar way across the entire province. That is, a party that gains or loses vote in one constituency tends to gain or lose votes in other constituencies. In the simplest form, this "swing" can be applied across all constituencies.
Naturally, applying this simple voter migration matrix to the election results from a previous election is a simplistic way of forecasting the outcome of a forthcoming election. It is simplistic in three ways. First, it does not reflect the change in population. Some children have reached voting age, some (mostly older) people have died, and other people have moved to Ontario or have moved away from Ontario. Second, it does not reflect the possibility that voters from the last election abstain in the forthcoming election, or abstainers in the last election choose to vote in the forthcoming election. Third, the voter migration matrix is applied identically across all constituencies, thus ignoring important local factors. A more sophisticated approach would take care of these three problems.

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