Political Science

Sometimes people think because I am a proud partisan for my party I want to trade talking points on politics. I don't. But I would like to have a discussion on the science, craft and art of practicing politics. This is my political science. Feel free to leave a cool comment.

Media launches attack on Politics

A friend who was, and still may be, completing his PhD thesis explained it quite simply. It was that, towns with newspapers which lost their Parliamentary correspondents also saw a decline in voter participation.

It made me wonder about the relationship between media exposure and voter turnout. It is more profitable to cover Parliament Hill for a national market than to cover city hall for a local paper. So, more airtime and ink gets devoted to national issues, and voter participation rates follow the coverage.

Without more study I can’t say if it is a causation or a correlation, but on the off-chance that the reporting of politics actually affects the practice and participation in politics, maybe the media (not  the amorphous concept, but the actual Canadian media industry, who could collectively fit in half a hockey arena) should stop writing headlines that are not only misleading but corrosive to a democratic discourse.

Take for example this recent headline:

Poilievre launches attack on Mayrand

Did a Minister actually violently assaulted a Parliamentary Officer? No, the headline writer was just being rhetorical, it’s meant to be illustrative.

Except, let’s try replacing the words:

Russia launches attack on Afghanistan

Man launches attack on neighbour

In both instances, you don’t need to read the story to know what has happened.

And with both headlines, if you were to read the story and find out nobody was attacked, it would be easy to distinguish the headline as being irresponsible.

The problem journalism has is that partisans relish the bad headlines of opponents. We only call out for self-interested corrections, which editors and journalists can dismiss as being motivated by partisanship. Therefor the normal means of gathering feedback and making corrections doesn’t happen in politics.

Non-partisans start tuning out the media and politics, complaining of negativity and hyperbole, but the headlines keep coming.

Meanwhile, sites like UpWorthy are among the most visited sites in the world, based on writing more positive headlines.

Imagine if Pepsi and Coke had to read headlines like, Cokes Plans to Destroy Pepsi, rather than Coke Unveils New Marketing Push for 2014. I think even Pepsi would complain, and Coke would be checking to see if they could sue.


Who is the Most Influential Journalist On Twitter?


Much of my non-political work recently has been devoted to working on the e-commerce site, Bill’s Political Shoppe. When developing the site and the marketing plan, I knew Twitter would play an important factor.

Last week Bill emailed me to ask if there was something wrong with Google Analytics because it showed over a 100 people were suddenly on the site and all from Twitter. A quick search of Twitter showed @SusanDelacourt had shared a link to Bill’s site.

Early this week, @kady re-tweeted one of Bill’s tweets, causing a spike, and prompting @arronwherry to send out an enthusiastic tweet of his own.

After the surge from the @SusanDelacourt tweet we added bandwidth to the server but it wasn’t enough so when two popular journalist shared the tweet it brought down the server again!

I thought it was @arronwherry‘s tweet that brought down the server but it was the combo of both.

Even better news for @arronwherry is that while @kady has more followers, his tweet resulted in more page visits, longer stays, and a lower bounce rate. In fact, 0.67% of his followers clicked his link, while only 0.21% clicked on the link @kady shared.

Overall 0.76% of @SusanDelacourt‘s followers clicked a link driving more new visits than the other two combined.

Using the followers to referrals ratio as a measure of influence is interesting but doesn’t tell the whole story.

I think the content of the tweet and certain keywords can be just as important a driver in clicks. I used a variation of @SusanDelacourt‘s tweet…

… in a recent email and it also received the most clicks.

While it is an informal study, I think we can draw a few conclusions.

  1. Bill’s site is awesome.
  2. The content of a tweet matters
  3. We needed more server space!

I am happy to report @BryanMulvihill has spent the day boosting the servers so we can handle any surge from Twitter. So go ahead and share Bill’s Political Shoppe and see if you have more influence then @arronwherry or @SusanDelacourt


Refer Tweet Visits % New Visits New Visits Bounce Rate Pages / Visit Avg. Visit Duration
@SusanDelacourt t.co/SusanDelacourt/status 213 88.26% 188 40.85% 3.78 115.56
@arronwherry t.co/arronwherry/status 86 89.53% 77 41.86% 3.28 96.02
@kady t.co/PoliticalShoppe/status 83 92.77% 77 61.45% 2.71 86.75
@PMLaurier t.co/PMLaurier/status 29 89.66% 26 65.52% 2.86 85.55

How Some Journalists Cover Up for Trudeau

First they report what they think is good news.

Wait what? Did Trudeau just promote is party’s marijuana policy to kids? Yup.

But wait! There were no kids there! And we have always been at war with Eurasia!

Fact: When elementary kids cheer for legal marijuana you are promoting drug use

Perceptions of a Front Runner

The nomination race in Brandon-Souris which saw MLA Larry Maguire acclaimed has attracted a bit of attention. A couple of local reporters referred to Chris Kennedy has the “perceived front-runner”. I prefer Pundit Guides description of Chris as “popular local Conservative” because I’d like to think Larry Maguire’s campaign left the best impression.

It has all been overhauled and updated, but I wanted to keep a gallery of nomination campaign online.





























Larry Email


Five Digital Political Blogs To Follow

Campaign and Elections has a new article on top political consulting blogs to bookmark. I thought we needed a Canadian list of blogs that cover the practice of politics in the digital age.  In the spirit of Follow Friday, here are five excellent must-read political blogs. Whether you are a lobbyist, staffer or campaigner, bookmark these sites.

Full Duplex


Full Duplex’s multi-author blog is updated almost daily and provides a mix of posts about navigating social media and the intersection of digital with public policy. A must read if you’re in government relations.

About the Authors

We help you communicate the meaningful elements of your story to connect with Canadians. We know precisely how online information and interaction affect the flow of national public opinion—and how to translate that understanding into intelligent action.

Grassroots Online


While not updated as frequently as Full Duplex, the quality analysis is worth the wait. If you need a weekly fix, the email newsletter is among my favorite emails to open. A must read if you’re planning a political campaign.

About Grassroots

Grassroots Online is a social media consultancy based in the Greater Toronto Area specializing in online advocacy, public affairs and activist engagement. We counsel clients on how to achieve their goals in the rapidly changing digital environment.

Mark Blevis


Mark’s Digital Makeovers are back! While there are a lot of other great posts, plenty of insights, I love the digital makeover series. A must read if you’re a political staffer.

About the Author

Mark Blevis’ speciality hinges on the use of digital in public affairs and politics. His company, FullDuplex.ca, provides clients with services focused on reputation management and crisis communication in the digital age..

Pundits Guide


You know nothing Jon Snow! And you probably know less about politics unless you are reading Pundits Guide. Detailed data breakdowns, tracking political financing, and often the first to report riding-level news! Pundits Guide is a must read for media and political nerds.

About the Author

Alice Funke graduated from Carleton University in Political Science, and formerly a business intelligence specialist with the federal government in Ottawa.

C.T. OverDrive


Political web designer Connor Turner’s blog provides thoughtful analysis on the world of political websites. A must read for web designers but if you are considering a run for municipal politics I would encourage you to read it twice!

About the Author

I am a Web Designer, Front-End Developer, Political Campaign Consultant, Start-up Junkie and an Online community organizer. I proudly run a swanky freelance web design studio called Armadillo Studios Inc


Build This List

Do you know a great Canadian political blog? Post in the comments or send me a tweet @MP_Host

The Political Benefits of Responsive Design

If you are running for office or planning your next campaign, you know you need a website, but you may not be sure if it is worth the extra expense to ensure it works well on all the different mobile devices.

Before adopting any technology or tactic for your campaign strategy you need to ask the person pitching/selling you the idea a few questions, especially if it is yourself.

Is there a political benefit to being mobile-friendly?

Easy, yes!  It doesn’t matter if it is on print, radio, tablet, or smartphone, you always need to look your best.

Voters aren’t superficial, they are busy, and they won’t spend time looking at ugly design. If they need to pinch and pull their way around your website, they will not complete a contact form.

Is it measurable?

The rise of mobile use in Canada is leading the world. Here are some figures Google recently released that Brent Bell shared via his excellent newsletter:

  • 56 percent of adults are using a smartphone, nearly double the 33 percent from a year earlier;
  • 35 percent said they’d give up TV before having to part with their smartphone;
  • 8 in 10 will not leave the house without their smartphone and two-thirds use in on a daily basis;
  • 75 percent said they had streamed video on their phone and nearly one in five said they did it daily;

From internal data I can tell you that organic visits to political websites on mobile devices has increased from 11% to 18%.responsive email campaigns drive traffic to political websites

But the numbers of visits on mobile devices rises considerably for referral visits, in particular from social media and email campaigns.

Even in rural ridings?

Yes! I recorded an email campaign where 20% of the opens where from iPads! in a rural riding. Add in 24% from iPhones and nearly half of the emails sent were opened on a smartphone or tablet.

A Responsive Solution

If you are sending emails to supporters, they need to be able to read and use the emails.

If they follow your call to action and land on a mobile-unfriendly website, they won’t complete the action you asked of them.

Worse, you increase friction the next time you call them to action!

Responsive design fits and scales to match whichever medium it is being viewed on.

Adopting a responsive design ensures you always look your best.

What do you think?