The early returns


Elections Canada reports on the turnout at last weekend’s advance polls.

According to the preliminary figures, 2,056,001 electors voted at the advance polls in this federal general election. This is a 34.5% increase from the 1,528,780 electors who voted in advance in the 40th general election in 2008. Over 676,000 Canadians voted on Friday and over 823,000 on Monday, representing the two (2) busiest days of advance voting ever.


The early returns

  1. If I recall correctly, advanced poll voting has set new records in each of the past two elections; but each of the past two elections have also ended up setting new record lows in overall voter turnout.

    High voter turnout in advanced polls in the past two elections has not been an indicator of increased voter turn-out overall – it has just been the people planning on voting anyway, voting early.

    • Maybe voters view it like pulling off a bandaid. Just get it done and over with, and as soon as possible.

    • You do not recall correctly. http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/story.html

      While good news for Canada (people are getting involved) bad news for the CPC, as it's well recognized that they did extremelywell at getting the vote out, while Dion did extremely poorly. Higher numbers of people voting likely mean that the increase is in the number of non-conservative voters, as I haven't seen any evidence that the CPC is more fired up this election than they were the last one.

      • It may also be an indication that people are simply more aware of the ease of advance voting. Older voters tended to believe that you needed a legitimate excuse to vote early, but there is now a more widespread understanding of the genaral availablity of early voting (most people are still not aware of the opportunity to cast a vote at the local returningoffice any time after the election writ has been issued).
        As well, most campaigns now strongly urge their supporters to get out and vote as soon as possible – ensuring they don't change their minds at the last minute. Certainly that has been a goal of the Conservative campaign in the last couple of elections. In the past, advance poll voters tended to lean more heavily Conservative than on election day. That may be something that is changing, but I wouldn't assume that a heavy advance poll turn-out meant an anti-Conservative vote, more likely the opposite.

        • I think you're in denial. Consider that the 2008 advance polling was lower. Unless the CPC GOTV campaign sucked in 2008, that blows away your theory that we're just seeing steady gains. No, what we saw in 2008 was a decrease that coincided quite well with the decrease in liberal vote. What we're seeing now is a massive increase. Where is that increase most likely to come from? Your suggesting it's from a CPC GOTV campaign that's been going on for a few elections but somehow reduced the vote last time, and this time made it boom.

          Not sure how you get to that conclusion without a serious dose of wishful thinking.

          • I'm saying all campaigns now focus on getting out their vote early. There may be a wave of voter interest now that wasn't present last time, but I don't think there is any objective evidence to support a conclusion that the increase in advance poll numbers this year will benefit any particular party. One possibility is that Tory supporters are spooked by the prospect of a Layton-led government and are voting to stop that possibility. Or it may simply be that people are getting used to the idea of advance voting and those who have their minds made up for any party are voting early rather than wait for line-ups on election day. It is too early to say why there has been an increase. In recent history, in my neck of the woods anyway, the advance polls have been more favourable to the Tories than the polls on election day. That's all I'm saying.

          • No, you specifically said that we should assume that a massive increase in the advance polls was indicating a corresponding increase in the CPC vote, based on nothing other than what the CPC have been doing, in your own words, "for the last couple of elections", in the face of voter decline in the advance polls back in 2008.

            Now you point out that all campaigns are now doing the same thing, but this just strengthens my point, if the other parties are now doing what the CPC has been doing for the last couple of elections, it stands to reason that the increase in advance polling is then specifically for the non-conservative vote.

            I'm not debating that in recent history, in your neck of the woods, they've been more favourable to the Tories. That makes sense with what you said about their previous campaigns.. they've been working for the past couple of elections to get more people to the advance polls, and it's worked. That in no way explains a 34% increase this time. Or do you really think the CPC has managed to get 34% more people to vote for them? That would either mean their popular support has nearly doubled, or that come election day, there won't be a single vote cast for them.

            I don't think either scenario holds any water. Denial seems to though..
            ..after all.. it's a river as well, right?

          • If you want an argument, talk to Emily. I'm just pointing out there are any number of reasons why advance polling may be higher, and it may not mean an increased voter turn-out on election day. I hope it does, since voter turn-out has been trending lower and lower, so this may be a hopeful sign that has changed. I just wouldn't assume , without more evidence, that all the increase comes from one source. We'll know for sure, of course, when the advance poll results are tallied. Before then feel free to speculate away. I'm sure your guess is as good as mine.

  2. Nepean Carleton had the highest turnout, which means Polievre is going to win. Not surprising since that is a blue riding.

  3. My 2 cents- the kids are voting and this explains the Dipper's rise.

  4. I suspect it has more to do with the advance polls falling on a long weekend. In my case, I'm a die-hard voter, but I took advantage of having family over to look after the kids, while the missus and I snuck out for quickie vote.

    I know, I know, I am ever the romantic!

  5. I think that what they have seen these figures are the Canadians have seen and heard enough stories about the attack and accused two of the three major parties and send the signal that change is coming to Canada. Do not forget that unless you have already voted on Monday, May 2, it is right and only you can send a clear message to Ottawa ..

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