25 October 2014

Final predictions

Our final predictions have John Tory winning the 2014 mayoral election in Toronto with a plurality 46% of the votes, followed by Doug Ford (29%) and Olivia Chow (25%). We also predict turnout of at least 49% across the city, but there are differences in turnout among each candidate’s supporters (with Tory’s supporters being the most likely to vote by a significant margin - which is why our results are more in his favour than recent polls). We predict support for each candidate will come from different pockets of the city, as can be seen on the map below.

These predictions were generated by simulating the election ten times, each time sampling one million of our representative voters (whom we created) for their voting preferences and whether they intend to vote.

Each representative voter has demographic characteristics (e.g., age, sex, income) in accordance with local census data, and lives in a specific ‘neighbourhood’ (i.e., census tract). These attributes helped us assign them political beliefs – and therefore preferences for candidates – as well as political engagement scores that come from various studies of historical turnout (from the likes of Elections Canada). The latter allows us to estimate the likelihood of each specific agent actually casting a ballot.

We’ll shortly also release a ward-by-ward summary of our predictions.

In the end, we hope this proof-of-concept proves to be a more refined (and therefore useful in the long-term) than polling data. As the model becomes more sophisticated, we’ll be able to do scenario testing and study other aspects of campaigns.

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