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 aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

(Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared Thursday.
COVID-19 outbreak at LNG Canada Project site

14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time

The ban is only applicable to ICI cardboard and does not extend to residential cardboard. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
RDBN to reinstate ICI cardboard ban at Knockholt Landfill starting Dec. 6

Private bailing facility to take the cardboard starting next year

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Most Read