Can Whack the PM accurately predict Canada’s federal election results?

Whack the PM is the election polling game no leader wants to win.

So far our track record is 100%. Can we do it again in 2008? We need your help.

In 2004, Stephen Harper received the most number of whacks, giving him the dubious distinction of being the most despised leader. Whack the PM predicted that Harper would lose the election. And he did. (Click on the image to view it bigger.)

whack the pm final results screen from 2004

You can also read an analysis of the results: 2004 Whack the PM Summary. It shows the issues the leaders were getting whacked for. And the differences by region, right across Canada.

In the 2006 election, Paul Martin received the most number of whacks. We predicted that he would go down to defeat. And he did. Uncanny but true. Correct for both elections.

whack the pm final results screen from 2006

Will Whack the PM accurately predict election results for 2008?

We don’t know. As of today, September 17th, Stephen Harper is leading, which would mean he’ll lose the election. But that can’t be right can it? All of the official polls have Stephen Harper winning the election. So, we’ll just to have to wait and see.

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Whack the PM, an online polling game and strategic voting tool at, is helping Canadians address the election issues and decide who they should vote against.

Whack the PM puts the leaders of the five top parties in a simmering hot tub with tough questions about global warming, the economy, leadership, food safety, Afghanistan, minority governments and the kicker — “All politicians are liars. Why should I trust you?”

With each question, voters respond by whacking the candidate who has the most irritating answer on the head. Using this visceral and interactive process, voters determine which leader is most deserving of their distrust.

Whack the PM offers strategic voting advice on a riding-by-riding basis. It has been designed to select the candidate who has the best chance of defeating your detested leader in your riding. For example, if you want to defeat the Liberals, you may be advised to vote for the NDP, the Tories, or whichever candidate has the best chance to defeat them. It helps voters make the most effective and strategic use of their votes.

2004 and 2006 Media Buzz on Whack the PM:

“The most interesting “poll” to follow this seething country may, in fact, not even be a proper poll at all but a bit of a prank on the Web called Whack the PM. Run by a Toronto visual-arts group called the James Gang, the site has been tracking nothing but public anger — and has run uncannily close to the shifts in the more legitimate polls.” Roy MacGregor, The Globe and Mail

“, created by the clever and irreverent minds of Bill and Franke James of Toronto’s The James Gang, not only sweetens an otherwise humourless campaign, but also ties a fun game to a (highly informal) poll.” Jack Kapica, The Globe and Mail

“Arguably the most fun un-scientific election prognosticator is the Web site “Whack the PM!” run by the James Gang…” Tom Blackwell, The National Post

“Hot: Whack the PM. The Internet election game has been a big hit during this campaign, and not only in Canada. Recent statistics show that 33 U.S. Government employees have even played the game as well as 230 people in Britain and 11 in Switzerland. Says the game’s operator, Franke James: “I thought the Swiss were neutral.” Jane Taber, The Globe and Mail

2006 Articles:
Jane Taber: Whack the PM is HOT
National Post: Whack the PM is Front Page News
Jack Kapica: Whack-a-pol: Here’s an election poll nobody wants to win

Franke James’ Footprint Saves City Money

AUGUST 7, 2008
reduced image scan of National Post article by Vanessa FarquharsonFranke James left her green footprint in The National Post today.

Vanessa Farquharson, the Post’s Sense & Sustainability columnist wrote about Franke’s real life story of ripping up her interlocking driveway, battling City Hall, and winning the right to be the first pilot project for a green driveway in North York (as told in Franke’s visual essay, Paradise Unpaved).

“Franke James likes doing the hard things first, which is why, when it came to reducing her carbon footprint, she skipped right past the programmable thermostat and coffee thermos business and headed straight for the real green challenge — selling her SUV and replacing the driveway with a garden.

Well, technically speaking, the driveway still exists. But it’s been completely covered in grass and surrounded with trees, bushes and other lush foliage…” from Kicking a keen sense of green to the curb Aug.7/08, The National Post, Page AL12

Permeable Driveways Save the City Money

Farquharson quotes Franke in her article, “If more people did this, it would save the city money… When you look 25 years down the road at how many people will be living here, how many more hard surfaces will be built — there’ll be a lot more stormwater runoff and we’ll have to build more water filtration plants. But if we start using permeable materials for our driveways, that’ll at least be a start.”

In Paradise Unpaved, Franke compared the stormwater runoff from her former interlock driveway versus her new green driveway and garden. She found that about 75% of the total annual runoff was diverted from the sewers and now recharges the groundwater and nourishes plants and trees. But she is just one homeowner. Would more permeable surfaces save the city significant money?

Chicago’s Green Alleys Project

Chicago thinks so. Their Green Alleys project aims to replace 1,900 miles of alleyways (more than any other city in the world), with permeable alleys. The program is designed to help manage stormwater, reduce the urban heat island effect and incorporate recycled materials (such as tires) into the permeable pavers. It’s an urgent initiative for the city. Their alleys are lacking proper sewer connections which cause serious flooding issues for homes nearby. The city realized that permeable alleyways would be a more cost-effective solution than expensive sewer hookups. Read more about Chicago’s Green Alleys.

Ontario’s costs forecast at $400 to $500 million

A recent article Lake cleanup viable if city handles runoff highlights the importance of Toronto finding a solution to polluted stormwater runoff.

“The Don and Inner Harbour have some 50 points where combined storm water and sanitary sewers can overflow during heavy rains, discharging polluted runoff directly into the waterway. Underground storage tanks would catch runoff and later send it to upgraded sewage treatment plants — a project that carries a price tag of roughly $400 million to $500 million.”

It makes you wonder how much lower the price tag (and cleaner the lakes) would be if more driveways, alleys, sidewalks and eventually even roads, were converted to permeable materials.

But putting aside number-crunching and environmental benefits, some people just want to unpave their Paradise because it’s beautiful!

“[Franke’s] story made me want to buy a house just to turn the driveway into a garden.” Connor McCall

See the newspaper in pdf.

Featured illustrations and photograph from Franke’s visual essay, Paradise Unpaved.