Monday, May 9, 2011

A multimillion-vote sea change for federal parties

On election night, over 1.7 million fewer Canadians voted for the Liberals, Bloc Québécois, and Green Party than in 2008. Along with 890,000 new votes, the lost ballots were divided up between the Conservatives and New Democrats, who increased their vote count by more than 620,000 and nearly two million votes from the last election, respectively. But these gains and losses were not spread out evenly across the country. 

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe and Mail website, here. A condensed version of the article along with the infographic can also be found in today's print edition of The Globe and Mail.

The piece isn't a simple vote count, it is meant to also focus on the regional weight of votes gained or lost for each of the parties. For example, almost 60% of all NDP vote gains came in Quebec, despite the province's voters representing 25.8% of the national total.

To give you a base of comparison as you read the article and check out the graphic, here are the proportions each region of the country represented out of the 14.7 million Canadians who voted:

Ontario: 37.6%
Quebec: 25.8%
British Columbia: 12.7%
Alberta: 9.5%
Atlantic Canada 7.7%
Prairies 6.4%

You can immediately see that much of the change that took place happened in Ontario and Quebec. These regions were over-represented in vote gains and losses for all parties - except for the New Democrats in Ontario, demonstrating in part just how important the NDP's performance in Quebec was in propelling them to Official Opposition status.


  1. I assume the voter turnout was a bit higher in Quebec than elsewhere since Quebec is about 24% of the population but apparently 26% of voters.

  2. Oh you're funny DL!

    I think he meant that the vote in Quebec represents 25.8% of the total vote across the country...

  3. DL - There may be other factors at work - different provinces have different age profiles (fewer young people means a greater proportion of eligible voters) or nwe immigrant populations (non-citizens can't vote), but given that the Québec electorate was angry I suspect you're right about the higher turnout.

  4. Turnout in Quebec is generally a tad higher than the national average in most elections, I believe.


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