Frances Bula header image 2

Live in a super-dense neighbourhood? You won’t get a Conservative MP any time soon

October 14th, 2015 · 26 Comments

I did a fun wonk and water-cooler story in today’s Globe, based on stats analyzed by Andy Yan at BTA Works, all about how our voting preferences correlate with density.

The numbers show a dramatic difference in the types of ridings that Conservatives win, compared to Liberals and New Democrats. Liberals win in some of the highest-density ridings in the country. The NDP are not too far behind, although they also do well in some low-density areas — northern, resource-based districts, for example.

But the Conservatives just can’t seem to win in anything more than a medium-density suburb.

This is something a lot of American political analysts looked at after the 2012 election there, the way voting correlates with density. A small selection of the writing on this topic here, here and here.

Those patterns raise a couple of questions. One, what does it mean for Canada when the governing party is essentially excluded from the country’s economic engines, i.e. its cities.

Second, what is really going on? Is it just that people of certain education levels, professions or political inclinations cluster in certain areas (and therefore vote a particular way)? Or is it that the conditions of urban, suburban or rural ridings actually have an impact on people’s political inclinations? As suburban ridings densify, will they be more likely to switch from Conservative to one of the other two parties?

Things to ponder.

Categories: Uncategorized