Monday, June 6, 2011

Demographic round-up

If you live in a Conservative riding, you are probably richer than the average Canadian and an anglophone. If a New Democrat is your MP, you are probably a francophone in Quebec. And if your riding voted Liberal on May 2nd, there is a good chance that you are a visible minority and/or university educated.

These are the results of an analysis of the average demographic profile of ridings held by the three main federal parties.

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe and Mail website here. There is also a condensed version with the infographic in today's print edition of the newspaper.

This piece looks at the percentage of Canadians in each demographic group and region represented by each party. It closes the series of pieces I have done looking at the demographic profile of the ridings now represented by each party in the House of Commons.

One of the aspects I did not focus on in the piece is the disconnect between the number of votes each party earned and the percentage of Canadians they now represent.

Looking at the Conservative party, with 39.6% of the vote they now represent 56% of Canadians, 58% of immigrants, 66% of aboriginals, 54% of visible minorities, 54% of university graduates, 72% of anglophones, and 57% of Canadians whose first languages are neither English nor French. In part because of our electoral system and in part because of where the party won its seats, the Tories are over-represented by these groups compared to their vote share. They are under-represented among francophones. They only represent 15% of them.

The New Democrats, on the other hand, generally represent a proportion of the population similar to the proportion of votes earned. With 30.6% of the vote, the NDP now represents 32.5% of Canadians. They hit above their weight among francophones (75%) and university graduates (31%), but below their weight among anglophones (17%), allophones (27%), immigrants (26%), aboriginals (28%), and visible minorities (27%).

But the Liberals, Bloc Québécois, and Greens were greatly disadvantaged by our electoral system. With 18.9% of the vote, the Liberals only represent 9.9% of Canadians. The demographic group they most represent are visible minorities (18%). They least represent francophones (5%).

For the Bloc, despite garnering 6% national support they only represent 1.1% of the population, while the Greens represent 0.4% of the population though they had 3.9% of the vote. While that is an improvement for the Greens, who have never before elected an MP, it is a twist of fate for the Bloc Québécois, the party that has most benefited from our first-past-the-post system over the last two decades.


  1. It is Eric a fairly powerful argument for a change in electoral system ??

  2. Eric what's going on with the PQ ???

    Latest word is there is a caucus in the next few days where more members will leave ??

    Marois seems out of control ??

  3. the Electoral system works fine. The 308 winning candidates got over 50% of the total popular vote. The 1,279 losing candidates got less than 50% of the popular vote.

  4. Anonymous, how do you figure that? There were plenty of candidates who won with a vote percentage in the mid-30s. An average may well say that the average winning vote percentage was above 50%, but that is skewed by all the ridings in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba where the Conservative candidates racked up super-majorities in the 65%+ range.

    The electoral system we have was never designed for a 3+ party situation. It was intended to choose between only two parties. Thus is worked well in the 1800s when there were only two parties in Canada. It works rather less well when we have four and five parties contesting a seat.

    And for the record, I am not a Liberal. I decried this system when Jean Chretien was winning majorities with 40% of the vote too.

  5. The question that keeps arising is two fold.

    First what system would you change to?? Because there are several possible.

    Second what political party has the "guts" to actually try and change the system??


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