Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Federal vs. Provincial Results in New Brunswick

Though it feels like an eternity has passed, it has actually been only a little more than two weeks since the New Brunswick provincial election.

I've compared provincial and federal results in the past, with various levels of correlation, so it is about time to take a look at how federal and provincial results compare in New Brunswick, and whether we can take anything from that for the next federal election.As you can see from this chart, the Liberal and Conservative/Progressive Conservative numbers have been relatively consistent. It is clearly the same people who are switching their votes between Team Red and Team Blue.

While it doesn't seem that there is a direct correlation between provincial and federal elections, they do seem to act as indicators.

We'll start with the Conservatives. For the period prior to 2004, I've combined the results of the Canadian Alliance/Reform with the Progressive Conservatives. I've also included the results of the Confederation of the Regions in the Progressive Conservative numbers at the provincial level.

Provincial and federal fortunes for the Conservatives seem to have a relatively similar narrative. We see Conservative success in the early 80s followed by trouble until the 1997 federal and 1999 provincial elections, when the Conservative vote increased. There was a drop in the 2003 and 2004 elections, but since then the Conservatives look to have made modest gains. If the trend continues, we can expect the Conservatives to increase their vote slightly from the 39.4% the party earned in 2008.

Liberals at the provincial and federal levels seem to mirror each other even more. After difficulties in the early 80s, the Liberals at both levels soared between the provincial elections of 1987 and 1995. They then swiftly tanked, and since then the provincial and federal parties have been running at almost the exact same level, though the federal version of the Liberal Party has been under-performing since 2006. If the trends continue, we can expect the Liberals to drop from their 32.5% they had in 2008.

Finally, the New Democrats. Their gains and losses do not seem to have mirrored each other very much, but they do seem to be drawing from the same pool of voters. The provincial NDP was remarkably consistent from 1982 to 2010, with only the disastrous 2006 election interrupting a generally straight line. The federal version of the party, however, had a bit more of a roller-coast ride, dropping from 16.2% in 1980 to only 4.9% in 1993. But since then the party has been doing very well, and has maintained about 21% support over the last three elections under Jack Layton. Since the provincial version of the NDP has also been relatively stable, we can probably expect the federal NDP to remain at about 1 in 5 support.