By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
October 22, 2019 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party breathed a sigh of relief Monday night, having held onto enough seats in the House of Commons to claim a mandate in seeking to form a minority government, but facing the challenges that will come with relying on support from other parties to implement their agenda.
The Liberal path to minority victory ran through Ontario, where the incumbent party’s vote efficiency gave it the needed seats to stave off defeat. The electoral result conversely represents a bitter but symbolic victory for the Conservative Party of Canada under Andrew Scheer. The CPC increased its seat count with at least an extra twenty seats and – critically – won the popular vote but failed to topple the Liberals.
It was a similarly disappointing night for the NDP – whose campaign and leader came alive in the last few weeks but was ultimately dependent on a shifting and uncommitted left of centre base – which appeared to either switch to the Liberals at the last moment or stay home altogether.
One thing was true throughout this campaign; voters, especially those on the left of centre, were uncertain about what they wanted. Even last week, with fewer than seven days until the election, just half of voters said they were locked into their top choice in this election.
With so much room for movement, the political makeup of the country on October 22 was anything but settled heading into voting day. What was clear, however, was that the Conservative Party was likely to garner the support of close to one-in-three residents. The CPC’s base was solid, while the NDP and Liberals were less certain.
With this uncertainty in mind, consider the following scenarios that the Angus Reid Institute anticipated for the Liberal Party. While the party’s established base appeared to be 29 per cent, those who said that they were “somewhat likely” to switch before the election looked to potentially push the party to 34 per cent. The party ended the night hovering around the 33 per cent mark nationally.
Ultimately, the Liberal Party was supported by 33 per cent of Canadians, likely picking up last minute votes from New Democrats who made the choice to vote strategically, with their heads, rather than with their hearts despite increased personal momentum and favourability for leader Jagmeet Singh in the final weeks of the campaign. Just over one-third (35 per cent) supported the Conservatives.
Vote efficiency favoured Liberals
Much of the concern among Conservatives was about the efficiency of their vote. That is to say, the overwhelming strength of the party’s support in regions such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, relative to its ability to pull off needed wins in Ontario.
Those fears were realized, as the Conservative Party ended the night with more votes than the Liberals, but considerably fewer seats. Meanwhile, NDP and Green Party supporters may once again be calling for electoral reform, as their combined 22 per cent of the vote yielded just 28 seats overall, or eight per cent of Commons seats. By contrast, the Bloc Quebecois won eight per cent of the popular vote, but took more than 30 seats, or nine per cent of the seats in Parliament:
Link to full analysis here: www.angusreid.org