Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Number of this Election: Four

- Ignoring intervening by-elections, the Tories only gained a net four seats outside the Greater Toronto Area. Inside the GTA, they gained 19 and now hold a majority.

- This is just the fourth time in Canadian history that a party wins a majority with such a small vote share. The others? 1867, 1874 and 1997.

- West of Guelph, the Liberals have only four seats, and in each case, the margin of victory was below 5%. In fact, outside of Newfoundland, no Liberal candidate reached 50%.

- The Liberals also only have four seats outside the Atlantic and metropolitan areas with over 1 million people: Kingston and the Islands, Guelph, Winnipeg North and Wascana. The former two are university towns, while the latter two had very personally popular Liberal candidates.

- Of the four ridings won by the Bloc, three were due to the presence of a strong (> 25%) non-NDP federalist candidate that divided the vote. Only in Bas-Richelieu--Nicolet--Bécancour did the Bloc win a two-way race.

- Outside Québec and the City of Toronto, the NDP won just four seats carried by the Liberals in 2008: St. John's South--Mount Pearl, Dartmouth--Cole Harbour, Newton--North Delta and Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca. In fact, relative to 2008, the NDP gained no net seats outside Québec, the City of Toronto and Greater Vancouver.

- With just under four per cent of the vote, the Greens not only carried a smaller share of the popular vote than in 2008, but they are also down compared to 2006 (Update: and 2004, a reader points out).

- This was Stephen Harper and Jack Layton's fourth election as party leaders.


ArnBrown said...

I find it interesting that the media has been referring to the "orange crush" and the "NDP wave".

I just don't see a wave outside Quebec. In fact, I think there was more of a Tory wave than an NDP wave albeit not as dramatic in volume of seats.

I have lost allot of respect for Quebec voters. Good grief they vote with their eyes closed. It is purely a case of "who is promising me more?" and hang the rest of thought.

Times are very tenuous for Jack Layton. Stephen Harper just has to keep the ship upright and Jack has to do a balancing act.


Bernard von Schulmann said...

The Greens are also down on 2004 as well.

RobfromCalgary said...

Funny you mention it. I have gained alot of respect for Quebec voters in this election. I can respect a disagreement of phylosophies, and they don't get much different than the NDP for me... Other than maybe that Marxist/Lennonist party.
But at least they voted as a part of Canada, for the most part. Voting for a seperatist party is something I have little to no respect for, on a federal level in a country. In fact, it's sickening.
So go Quebec! Be Canadian, feel free to disagree with me and my "redneck western ideologies", but certainly do it within the realm of this country. Otherwise... What's the point for any of us?
Lol I can't imagine an Alberta seperatist party with 28 seats. That'd be counterproductive.

Election Watcher said...

Arn: I don't see why one should lose respect for Québec voters. Electors naturally vote for the party that's promising them the most (as long as there's a minimum amount of ideological compatibility) - why do Albertans keep voting for the party that doesn't make them pay for pollution?

Bernard: Thanks!

Rob: I think Quebecers voted for the Bloc due to raw emotions in 1993. Imagine how Alberta would feel if the rest of Canada votes to move oil to federal jurisdiction, and no party chooses to defend Alberta. (Whether it's justified for Quebecers to feel that way after the failure of Meech is debatable, but that's how they felt.) Then after that, I think they would have quickly moved away from the Bloc if there had been a viable option. We saw the province gradually embrace the Liberals before the sponsorship scandal, even though in most of the province, Trudeau is as toxic a name as it is out west.

After sponsorship, Quebecers were essentially prisoners of the Bloc - Liberals tarnished the province's reputation, Conservatives are complete ideological opposites, and the NDP had no chance of getting more than one seat. When the latter changed, Quebecers happily left the Bloc. So I wouldn't take the 2004, 2006 and 2008 votes as a rejection of Canada - it was just a rejection of the two major parties. But for the same reason, I wouldn't take 2011 as an endorsement of Canada. Doing so, as the PM seems to, could be dangerous for national unity.

Robfromcalgary said...

Election watcher - Youre right. I agree with everything you've said. Although in my opinion a vote for the bloc is a vote for a seperatist party, and therefore should count as a vote to seperate. Politics aside. If there was a Quebec party that was openly federalist yet looking out for quebecs interests front and foremost i'd be annoyed but understanding of something like that existing in a democracy.
I'm loosing track of what I'm trying to say here. There have been a few molson exports involved, and they are rare out here in Alberta. I'm trying to bridge the gap between here and Ontario. Go canadian unity!!

Election Watcher said...

Rob: In past elections, Duceppe actually campaigned on, "I'm a separatist, but we're here to defend Québec's interests, so vote for us even if you're a federalist. We can't separate from Ottawa anyway." That's how the Bloc got almost 49% of the vote in 2004 - many federalists voted for it.

Only this time did Duceppe actually campaign on separatism at the end of the campaign, in an effort to keep the hard separatist vote. Unfortunately for him, his base remembered what he said in the past, and thought, "Well, if voting for the Bloc isn't a vote for separatism, then voting for NDP isn't necessarily a vote for federalism either."

Hmm Molson Ex. Definitely much better than Budweiser... :)

Robfromcalgary said...

It was an interesting election to say the least! Duceppe was left with little to no choice, in my opinion, but to hope he could re-stir the seperatist animosity in order to try and differentiate himself from NDP. I had the feeling at the debate that there were two main goals of smilin' Jack.
1. Make Iggy seem so close to Harper on ideals and platform to throw Harper hating libs away from him and
2. Make himself seem to have very similar beliefs and ideals to the bloc, thereby moving Quebec federalist bloc voters to an alternative.
It seems he succeeded in both. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I got from it, and if that was the intention, his campaign planner probably deserves a cookie, or award or somekind.
Or maybe I just read too far into alot of things. People out here are sure relieved Stephens in charge for the next 4 years. I'm not sure how to explain the mood out here, other than to say people seem more "Canadian" and less "Albertan". It's a nice thing to be a part of.
Am I the only one who likes to play the devils advocate though? A part of me was just interested to see what wouldve happened with a Harper minority and an eventual Layton led coalition. That may have been the straw that broke the proverbial camels back for the Alberta seperatist movement. Then again, if the NEP of the eighties didn't do it, I have to think it'd amount to alot of talk and little action.
Hey, I'm not sure I officially thanked you for the great site and blog. I've been following closely, and being the politics junkie I am, I'm probably hooked for a long time. I thrive on thoughtful discussion and debate. So far everyone seems to be playing nice in the sandbox! Thanks again!

Election Watcher said...

Thanks for your kind words! I'm glad that you're enjoying this site.

I think you're right about Layton's goals. I'm guessing, though, that Layton's surge came in large part from getting separatists (not just Bloc federalists, which were much less numerous than in 2004) to vote for him.

In Québec, the mood is pretty much the opposite, at least from what I can see on Radio-Canada and Facebook. Separatists are worried about what the demise of the Bloc means: will the next provincial election slip from the PQ in favour of some third party? Federalists are worried about Quebecers feeling alienated by policies concerning guns, prisons, jets and other issues formulated by a caucus containing just 3% of Quebecers.

I'm not so sure Layton would have become PM if the Tories got a minority. The Liberals know that it'd probably be the end for them if they propped up the NDP. Heck, the 4 Bloc MPs might have thought that it'd be very hard to argue that Québec and the rest of Canada are fundamentally incompatible with a social-democratic government in Ottawa.

It's kind of funny how politically, we're still sorting out the mess left by Trudeau's last term. If only he had not come back from retirement...