Le vote ethnique


In the 20 ridings with the highest proportion of visible-minority voters — ridings where the vis-min population ranges between 52% and 90% — the Conservative vote was higher in 2008 than in 2006 in 19 of those ridings. The Liberals held 17 of those ridings after 2006 and lost only two this year. But with only one exception, the Liberal lead shrunk in every riding they managed to hang onto.

Expand the sample: Add ridings 21-40 by proportion of visible-minority voters. This takes us to Saint Léonard-St. Michel, where 35% of the voters belong to visible minorities. In this second tranche of 20 ridings, the Conservative share of the vote increased in 18. (One was the riding where Art Hanger retired after 15 years. The other was Justin Trudeau’s riding.) The Conservatives gained two of these ridings. Most of these ridings began and stayed Liberal; in all but one case, the Liberal lead decreased in ridings they did hang onto.

So in the top 40 ridings by proportion of visible-minority voters, the Conservative vote increased in 37. I got my information for this analysis here.

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Le vote ethnique

  1. Is there data to show where the votes went, or better yet, if the “ethnic” vote turnout was the same as in prior elections? I mean, Bush got Muslim votes in 2000 because … well, you know.

  2. Paul,

    Are these significantly different gains compared to the mainstream population? Who were these people voting for before? Are the changes in voting patterns all that different from mainstream voting patterns?

  3. A good riding to test this theory in would be London-Fanshawe, which according to Pundits Guide has 15.9% visible minorities (it has non-negligible Middle Eastern, Chinese, Latin American, Korean, Vietnamese, Eritrean and Ethopian communities, among others).

    Liberal vote as a %, last few elections:

    2000: 54.9% (Pat O’Brien)
    2004: 38.1% (Pat O’Brien)
    2006: 32.6% (Glen Pearson)
    2008: 18.9% (Jacquie Gauthier)

    The sheer number of people voting Liberal has gone from 15664 to 7774 since the Conservative merger. Eyeballing the numbers it looks like 2/3rds of those voters went NDP and 1/3rd went Conservative.

    It’d be really interesting to look at poll-by-poll data to see where, exactly, the Liberals are losing voters. But I suspect they’re losing a fair bit of the ‘visible-minority vote’.

  4. So in the top 40 ridings by proportion of visible-minority voters, the Conservative vote increased in 37.

    So what. I looked at the first block of ridings from your source and found that in the 7 ridings where visible minority voters made up less than 5%, 5 out of 7 showed increased Conservative support. When you take into account that one of the ones that didn’t show increased Conservative support was in Newfoundland we can really change that to 5 out of 6.

    This was a nation wide trend and no evidence has been provided to attribute it to increased support from visible minorities.

  5. Looking at the next five on that list, in the ones where visible minority voters made up between 5%-20% all five showed increased support for the Conservatives. So now we’re at 10 out of 11 ridings with a low visible minority percentage of voters that showed the same pattern.

  6. “This was a nation wide trend and no evidence has been provided to attribute it to increased support from visible minorities.”

    In other words, ethnic voters are voting along general pop lines and not, in a block, for Liberals.

  7. Vis mins, like other people, like to back winners. The Tories are seen as likely to be in government, and have shed much of the racist/anti-immigrant attitudes that marked the Reform party, so it is no wonder that vis mins are happy to now support the tories.

    In B.C. there has been lots of support for the NDP provincially, because the NDP were seen as viable in forming government.

  8. McClelland has me dead to rights. I’ve failed to prove that the Conservative victory was driven by ethnic minorities. I’ve also failed utterly to prove that Stephen Harper can squeeze maple syrup into diamonds, or that the single-fly rule is responsible for the murder rate in Papineau riding.

    Fortunately I didn’t set out to prove any of the things I’ve failed to prove, so I’m not hurting too badly. What I do believe I’ve demonstrated, or at least what the evidence strongly suggests, is that visible-minority voters didn’t resist a nationwide trend by clinging to Liberal candidates. i.e., that the Liberals cannot take immigrants and their offspring for granted. QED.

  9. It really doesn’t matter if the Tories increased their share of the ethnic vote if they can’t hold on to it, yes?

  10. Indeed. If they can’t hold onto it, then it won’t matter. If they can it will. Stop me if this gets too technical.

  11. Wells being his charming self as usual.

    The point I’m trying to make is that the numbers are not what people should look at but rather the reason why those numbers changed. If they changed for the wrong reason, the Tories won’t be able to maintain them. That’s what happened in Quebec. I don’t know if it happened here but it is quite reasonable to assume so given the incredible loyalty that the LPC has been able to maintain from that group since before I was born.

    Why would they suddenly drop the LPC and turn to a party that is further to the right? Because of Jason Kenney? Or is it that, like Quebecers, they were led to believe that Harper is a moderate politician who best represents their core values?

    And what happens when Harper does another slip of tongue and regurgitates some of his odious lectures on immigration from his time at the Citizen Coalition?

    It is really hard to appear to be something you are not 24 hours a day/365 days a year.

  12. Paul, any comment on how voter participation rates may or may not have played a role in any of these outcomes? Did you look at raw vote number comparisons between 2006 and 2008?

  13. In the US we would have all those exit polls which told us how people voted according to religion, gun ownership or shoe size.

    It does appear that up to a million former Liberal voters stayed home. Perhaps there were some interesting patterns there wrt ethnicity and other things, but I don’t suppose we will ever know.

  14. “It is really hard to appear to be something you are not 24 hours a day/365 days a year.”

    That’s probably why he hides so much.

  15. “That’s what happened in Quebec.”

    What happened in Quebec? Tory strongholds largely intact. The 2006 abberation is basically solid. What didn’t happen was the transformation from beachhead to blowout. As the original Quebec Harpermaniac, I’m still pretty happy that my opponents are cheering a non-blowout. I’m also pretty happy that the Tories are still the dominant federal party in Quebec.

  16. Andrew, I believe that someone on the Macleans staff referred to it as the “bubble” effect…

  17. Ok Chucker. Nothing happened in Quebec. Carry on.

  18. They won Mississauga-Erindale! I live in Mississauga-Erindale! This is quite an acheivement.

  19. It’d be nice to see the riding-by-riding breakdown of %voter turnout (yes…I’m that lazy)…

    Anyhow…the CPC has the benefit of being given a chance:

    1. no bugaboos came out during the election (always useful to clamp-down on free speech from your candidates)

    2. Liberal incumbents that lost were probably seen as doing nothing for the riding, so the attitude of “let’s give the other guy a chance”, and/or “let’s make it rough for the incumbent so that he/she reconsiders their apathy towards us”.

    3. CPC has shown a history of showering the ethnic vote with money here, and apologies there. So it at least gives an illusion that they care.

    My guesses, anyway.

    They either need fresh faces in these ridings (even those that were close with “star-candidates”), or need to make sure that their candidates soil themselves by pounding the pavement and going door-to-door, not taking their riding for granted.


  20. 1.2 million fewer voters in 2008 vs. 2006
    – 800K fewer Liberal voters.
    – 173K fewer Bloc voters
    – 165K fewer Tory voters
    – 73K fewer NDP voters.

  21. “So it at least gives an illusion that they care”

    We don’t care. We don’t care about anyone but Big Oil and George W. Bush.

  22. I was simply trying to point out that in the absence of data regarding the visible minority vote any theory is nothing more than a guess.

  23. Oh, by the way, something did happen in Quebec.

    Libs went from 13 wins + 14 2nd place finishes in 2006 to 13 + 31. Gain.

    Tories went from 10 + 40 to 10 + 24. Loss.

    Bloc went from 51+20 to 50+16. Loss.

    NDP went from 0+1 to 1+4. Gain.

  24. jette, so the Liberals are winning the game of Biggest Loser: Voter Support Edition?

    Too bad the prize is three more years in opposition.

  25. I’ll ignore the snark. Different things happened in different provinces.

    In Ontario, for example, turnout absolutely tanked from 66% to 59%. In terms of raw votes, the Tories gained just 35,255 votes from ’06 to ’08 – but the Grits lost 516,691. And obviously the Libs lost big there in terms of seats as well.

    In Quebec, voter turnout was only down slightly. The Tories lost 122,877 votes, the Liberals picked up 94,490 – though, obviously, that didn’t move seats.

    My point in all of this is that

  26. We don’t care. We don’t care about anyone but Big Oil and George W. Bush.

    Unless the CPC lets its candidates speak freely, then people can only go by the actions of the party as a marker of their sincerity.

    You guys are complaining that the CPC is still regarded with suspicion, not just by ethnics, but the entire Canadian population?


  27. …turnout is a factor that needs to be explored.

    (let’s pretend to not notice that I clicked “post” too soon.)

  28. What I retain from this post is the fact that Art Hanger retired – I guess I’d missed that.

    Remember when, as a Reform MP, he took off to Singapore to study the benefits of repeatedly whacking petty criminals on the ass with a bamboo cane?

    Man, those guys were nuts. Oh wait, they’re in government now.

  29. I still think that Paul’s principal point is correct. Namely, that there is a clear trend in favour of the Tories in ethnic seats and that these seats can no longer be taken for granted by Liberals.

    If Liberal blowhards wish to pretend that everything will return to “normal” once they have a “new” leader, that’s fine with me. I, for one, believe that the pro-Tory trend in ethnic seats will continue.

  30. It would be a mistake to draw conclusions from this election alone. The Liberal vote was done farther than usual because of Dion – it will likely go up again next time.

  31. It would be a mistake to assume these trend lines are one election old.

  32. It strikes me as a slow-motion normalisation of the Conservative appeal across ethnic lines; each year halves the hangover effects of anti-immigrant Reform policies. This can only be a good thing for Canadian democracy. Methinks a lot of the Liberal edge with immigrant communities wasn’t pro-Liberal at all, just anti-anti-ethnic. I don’t really buy the “recent immigrants are culturally conservative” line, though it might conceivably be true in a small way; safer to assume they’ll vote, like Newfoundlanders do, according to conscience unless their own particular issue is highlighted.

  33. To Jack’s point, the Liberals won a seat in Quebec due to recount today.

    This is really good for Canadian democracy, because, despite Marge Atwood’s pleas, a seat wrested from the separatist Bloc is good for Canada. Liberal or not.

  34. I am surprised nobody (except me) is talking about the other ethnic breakthrough among aboriginal voters for the Tories and NDP. Harper’s emphasis on investing in Canada’s north, coupled with the apology doesn’t necessarily mean he is sweeping to big victories among aboriginal voters, but he has probably reduced his negatives there – going from losing 80-20 to losing 60-40 still moves a lot of votes.


    There are 38 ridings with an aboriginal population of 8% or higher. In 2006, 9 were Liberal, 2 were Bloc, 7 were NDP and 20 were Conservative.

    Of those held by the Liberals, they only won re-election in 2 (Yukon and Labrador).

    Here are the Liberal-held ones:

    Nunavat (85% aboriginal)
    CPC: +6
    LPC: -11
    NDP: +10.5

    Churchill (65% aboriginal)
    CPC: +9
    LPC: -12
    NDP: +19

    Denesthe-Mississippi… (64% aboriginal)
    CPC: +5.5
    LPC: -11
    NDP: +2

    Labrador (the exception) (35% aboriginal)
    CPC: -32
    LPC: +20
    NDP: +9

    Kenora (33% aboriginal)
    CPC: +9
    LPC: -5
    NDP: -7

    Yukon (also stayed Liberal) (23% aboriginal)
    CPC: +9
    LPC: -5
    NDP: -15

    Algoma-Manitoulan (15% aboriginal)
    CPC: -6
    LPC: -6
    NDP: +10

    Thunder Bay-Superior North (10% aboriginal)
    CPC: +5
    LPC: -8
    NDP: +2

    Thunder Bay-Rainy River (10% aboriginal)
    CPC: -4
    LPC: -3
    NDP: +7

  35. For good measure here are the other ridings not held by the Conservatives that are with >15% aboriginal.

    Western Arctic
    CPC: +17.5
    LPC: -21.5
    NDP: -0.5

    Abitibi-James Bay
    CPC: +9.5
    LPC: -4
    NDP: +2
    BQ: -7

    Skeena-Bulkley Valley
    CPC: +3.5
    LPC: -7
    NDP: +1.5

    Winnipeg North
    CPC: +5
    LPC: -12
    NDP: +5

    Winnipeg Centre
    CPC: +2
    LPC: -9
    NDP: +0.5

  36. chuckercanuck says…

    “We don’t care. We don’t care about anyone but Big Oil and George W. Bush.”

    CC, stop telling people the “Hidden Agenda”…

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