Voters enter the polling station at St. Luigi Catholic School during election day in Toronto on Monday, October 21, 2019. Elections Canada has released some preliminary numbers from Canada’s 43rd general election is that help tell the story of the vote, beyond the final results. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Voters enter the polling station at St. Luigi Catholic School during election day in Toronto on Monday, October 21, 2019. Elections Canada has released some preliminary numbers from Canada’s 43rd general election is that help tell the story of the vote, beyond the final results. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Many Canadians voted strategically to stop a party from winning: poll

Overall, 57 per cent said their vote was based on their political convictions

More than one-third of Canadians voted strategically in last week’s federal election to stop another party from winning, a new poll suggests.

Thirty-five per cent of respondents to the Leger poll said their decision about who to support took into account the chances that their vote would prevent another party’s candidate from being victorious.

And almost as many waited until the final week of the campaign to make their choice.

Thirteen per cent made a decision during the last week, six per cent during the final weekend before the Monday vote, and another 10 per cent literally didn’t decide until the last minute on voting day.

Those results suggest a good number of voters waited to see which way the wind was blowing before casting their ballots, motivated at least in part by a desire to prevent the outcome they least wanted.

The online survey of 1,503 adult Canadians was conducted Oct. 22-24 for The Canadian Press and weighted to reflect the makeup of Canada’s population; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Of all the parties, the Conservatives were the most likely to lock in their support early.

Fully 50 per cent of respondents who voted for the Tories said they made their choice before the campaign started. By contrast, just 30 per cent of Liberals, 22 per cent of New Democrats, 31 per cent of Bloc Quebecois supporters, 35 per cent of Greens and 31 per cent of supporters of the People’s Party of Canada said the same.

Overall, 57 per cent said their vote was based on their political convictions, without any thought to their candidates’ chances of winning.

The 35 per cent who did take strategic voting into account included 39 per cent of Conservative supporters, 43 per cent of Liberals, 28 per cent of New Democrats, 18 per cent of Bloc supporters, 16 per cent of Greens and 24 per cent of People’s Party supporters.

READ MORE: Trudeau says new cabinet to be sworn in on Nov. 20

But while strategic voting was a factor, the poll suggests it wasn’t the primary factor for most. Asked to identify the main reason why they chose to vote for a party, 37 per cent said they did so because the platform and values aligned with their own. Nine per cent said their primary motivation was to get rid of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, six per cent said it was to vote against another party and four per cent said they voted mainly for the best local candidate.

Trudeau spent the final week of the campaign warning progressive voters that they must vote Liberal to prevent Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives from forming government.

The poll suggests he had good reason to be worried that progressive voters might split their votes among the Liberals, NDP, Greens and Bloc Quebecois, allowing the Conservatives to come up the middle.

Fully 46 per cent of respondents who ultimately voted Liberal said they considered voting for the NDP during the campaign. Another 30 per cent said they considered voting Bloc and 29 per cent considered going Green.

By contrast, those who voted Conservative were much less likely to have considered other options. Just 18 per cent considered the NDP, 15 per cent considered the People’s Party, 13 per cent considered the Liberals, 13 per cent the Greens and 11 per cent the Bloc.

In the end, Trudeau’s Liberals won 157 seats, 13 short of a majority. The Conservatives, who spent the final week of the campaign warning against a Liberal-NDP coalition, wound up with 121.

The outcome, combined with the latest poll results, suggest “the messaging of the Liberals in the last legs of the campaign, sort of post-debate, played much better than the messaging from the Conservatives,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

Indeed, while the Liberals stemmed the bleeding of their support to the NDP and Greens, Bourque said the Conservatives seemed unable to grow their support from the outset of the campaign.

“The Conservatives simply just delivered their base on election day and not anything else.”

Among those who didn’t vote, 15 per cent said they were working, travelling or otherwise unavailable to cast ballots, 14 per cent said they weren’t eligible to vote, 13 said they don’t trust politicians and nine per cent said they weren’t interested. Another three per cent said they found all parties disappointing, three per cent said their vote wouldn’t have counted, two per cent said the polling station was too far away, another two per cent said they didn’t receive voter information cards and one per cent fessed up to laziness.

READ MORE: Democrats can learn from slim Liberal win to beat Trump: ex-Obama envoy Heyman

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

‘It was a great week for Jan Pullinger, MLA. She accompanied Andrew Petter, the new Minister of Health to Lake Cowichan. He credited her with saving the Youbou mill. Left to right, Jan, Petter and Sam Beldessi, president of the Cowichan Seniors. Pullinger and Petter were visiting the Seniors’ Centre.’ (Lake News, March 6, 1996)
Lake Flashback: A new library, Peewee sports, and a resignation

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Pedestrians have rights to use highways

A highway is not the exclusive domain of drivers.

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

A mobile home fire prompted a quick response from firefighters Saturday around 3:30 p.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mobile home up in flames at Duncan RV Park

One patient burned, EHS on scene

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read