The mandate calculator estimates the distribution of seats (output) based on the distribution of votes (input, given by the user).
Main assumptions of the model:
- The territorial structure of each party’s popularity will remain unchanged in 2018. If a party’s national popularity is doubled by the user, then this party will receive twice as much of the vote share in every SMDs. This could lead to the situation that in some Single Member Districts (SMDs), the sum of all parties popularity is not 100 percent, but a little more or a little less. To avoid this, the program slightly alters the numbers but does not change the proportions of each party’s camps. Thus, it does not change the result of the SMD either.
- The model contains a so-called regional correction. I calculated the regional popularity of each party on the pooled sample of Medián polling company (overall 12 monthly database were pooled from 2015 and 2016). Hungary has 7 EU-regions (NUTS 2) and one monthly database contains 1200 observations (respondents). I calculated the difference between the 2014 regional results and the average regional popularity of the parties in the pooled polling sample. For instance, Jobbik’s support base become more balanced: the gap between Budapest (where the party has been week) and North-East Hungary (stronghold of Jobbik) has narrowed since 2014. Based on these differences, I calculated a regional coefficient. The multiplicator is mostly between 1,1 and 0,9: if according to the survey data the party lost ground in a region, then the model will multiply it with a number smaller than one; if it gained support it will be multiplied with a number bigger than one. The regional changes were always under 11 percent: this tells us that the territorial continuity is strong. Each party is expected to have good results in 2018 in those districts where they already have a solid base.
Thus the basic formula of the model is as follows: estimated local popularity in 2018 = estimated national popularity in 2018 / national popularity in 2014 * local popularity in 2014 * regional coefficient. An example: Jobbik got 20,7 percent of the vote nationwide in 2014. Suppose it gains popularity with 10 percent (so it will be at 22,77 percent), then it’s local popularity in Veszprém 1st district will increase accordingly, by 10 percent: from 16,5 percent to 18,15 percent. This needs to multiplied by 1.01 (regional coefficient), thus the final local result will be 18,68 percent.
- From this stage on, the calculator simulates the mechanism of the electoral system. It calculates the results in all SMDs and the so-called surplus votes. Surplus votes come from two places: (1) from votes cast for a candidate in the SMDs, which did not result in a mandate; we call this compensation, because although these votes were cast in SMDs and failed to win a mandate, they are utilized by being redirected to the national lists. (2)Surplus votes shall also include the number of votes remaining after deducting the number of votes for the runner-up candidate plus one from the number of votes for the candidate who won the mandate. This is called victor compensation, since those votes, which were not necessary for the candidate to win, are redirected to, and aggregated on, the national list. (source). These calculations are to be seen in the ‘results of SMDs” and ‘detailed results’ menus.
- In the next step, the program aggregates the results of SMDs to the national level: under the menu ’results of the list votes’. Party list votes, or out-of-country votes are added to the surplus votes. On the basis of this sum, it distributes the list mandates (93 mandates, seats) with the D'Hondt method (see detailed results menu). (It works with the turnout numbers of 2014 but the numbers do not influence the outcome of the model: only the proportions and vote share matters.)
- In principle, the Hungarian electoral system permits minorities to be represented in the parliament. It is, however, very hard for them to receive a sufficient number of votes to achieve this . The model assumes that – like the 2014 national election – no minority representatives will receive this number.
- The user is required to give an estimate of the number of out-of-country votes (that is for double citizens living in the neighboring countries). Out-of-country votes, however, have a very limited influence on the results: they can change only one seat.
- The mandate calculator assumes that – similarly to the 2014 national election – four party lists will enter the parliament and receive the overwhelming majority of the votes (95-97%): Fidesz, leftist parties (probably the joint list of the Socialist Party and Ferenc Gyurcsány’s party, DK), Jobbik and perhaps the green, LMP party. It is also possible that instead of LMP, the newly founded Momentum movement, liberal-leftist Együtt (’Together’), green-left Párbeszéd (’Dialogue’), or frivolous Kétfarkú Kutyapárt (’Two-tailed Dog party’) will pass the five-percent threshold (or some combination/alliance of these). It is highly unlikely, however, that more than four lists enter the parliament: these small parties’ constituencies overlap each other. All of them are concentrated on Budapest and relatively privileged citizens. So LMP can be substituted with each small party in the model.
- The distribution of seats are shaped primarily by the results of the SMDs. Thus, in this moment, only Fidesz, leftist parties and Jobbik have a real chance to win SMDs. The model is realistic as long as these parties, especially Fidesz, dominated the estimated national popularities. Parties which fail to enter parliament do not influence the distribution of seats. The sum of the four lists which do pass the 5 percent parliamentary threshold, however, does not need to be 100 percent: the model works well with 95-98 percent. This way the users assumes there will be 2-5 percent total votes for parties outside the parliament.
- Mathematically, the best solution for the leftist parties is to launch a joint list. It is also possible, however, to launch separate lists and coordinate the individual candidates. According to this solution, leftist parties launch only one individual candidate in almost every SMD. In some SMDs, it is the candidate of the Socialist party, in others it is the candidate of the DK party, and they support each other while they do not run against each other in most districts. The problem is, that in order to launch a separate list, each party needs to have at least 27 individual candidates. Thus, in some places they do have to run against each other, which gives Fidesz a considerable advantage. Of course, math is not everything: the psychological and political effect of such a decision is unpredictable.
- Finally, leftist parties can launch a totally separate campaign: with separate lists and separate individual candidates. This is, however, suicide, as it would mean that Fidesz would comfortably win even the leftist districts. No mandate calculator is necessary to prove that.
- To sum up, the model is based on the assumption of a a joint list for the leftist parties.
- Of course, it goes without saying that the model could/cannot take into account everything. The individual candidates, for instance, are not yet known for most of the SMDs.