06 November 2012

Cost Per Vote: General Election Years #nlpoli

Last winter we took a look at the idea of cost per vote.  Basically, you compare the amount of money a campaign spent with the number of votes it got.

It’s a way of measuring the efficiency of a political campaign.  The lower the number, the more efficient the campaign is.

Here’s a chart showing the cost per vote for the three major parties in Newfoundland and Labrador in the four general election years 1996, 1999, 2003, and 2007.  The calculations added the annual contributions for each party and the specific contributions for each general election during the year of the general election and divided the sum by the number of votes cast for each party.

The chart doesn’t include 2011 since Elections NL hasn’t released the annual contribution figures for that year yet.

cpv line

This has nothing to do with seat counts or, as you can see, which party won or lost an election. The New Democrats were the most efficient party in 2003 and 2007.  The party that formed the government was the second place party for efficiency.

And if you look at 1996 and 1999, the Liberals were the most inefficient of the three parties and in each case won handily.

donations line

Here’s how the donations per party stack up, given in thousands of dollars.  Given the large amounts we are talking at for the Liberals and Conservatives – the Liberals peaked out at $1.6 million – the NDP money looks puny.  But it was consistent.

And by the same token, their vote totals were consistent:  12,706 in 1996, 21,192 three years later and then a little under 19, 50 in each of the next two elections.