Governing with consent - Macleans.ca

Governing with consent

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Last week, Mark Donald heralded a “tide of ennui.” This week, Andrew Coyne writes, somewhat less satirically, of our “deeply, deeply cynical political culture.”

On those notes, some math. Namely, the mandates of each government in our history, expressed not as a percentage of seats won or votes cast, but as the percentage of possible votes. In other words, what percentage of eligible voters actually chose to support the government that governs them.

First, the ten strongest mandates in Canadian history.

1. Borden, 1917 42.8%
2. Diefenbaker, 1958 42.6%
3. Laurier, 1900 40.2%
4. Mulroney, 1984 37.7%
5. Laurier, 1904 37.6%
6. Macdonald, 1882 37.5%
7. Mackenzie, 1874 37.4%
8. St. Laurent, 1949 37.0%
9. Macdonald, 1878 36.8%
10. Bennett, 1930 36.7%

And now, the ten weakest.

1. Harper, 2008 22.2%
2. Martin, 2004 22.4%
3. Harper, 2006 23.5%
4. Chretien, 1997 25.8%
5. Chretien, 2000 26.2%
6. Clark, 1979 27.2%
7. King, 1921 27.6%
8. Laurier, 1896 28.4%
9. Diefenbaker, 1957 28.9%
10. Chretien, 1993 29.3%

Twenty of our 40 governments received between 29.5% and 36.6%. Without reprinting the entire list, the trend line should be fairly obvious.

(Note: All of the above with printed the standard caveat about my math skills. Email any and all corrections. Voter turnout numbers are here. A handy guide to election results is here. Calculation used: Popular Vote , divided by 100, multiplied by Voter Turnout)