July 01, 2004

Tory vote breakdown

Tory vote by province, 2000 and 2004 Posted by Hello

This graph compares the combined Progressive Conservative/Canadian Alliance vote in the 2000 election with this week's CPC vote by province. Allowing for shifts in the right-wing vote for all the standard reasons, this snapshot nevertheless gives a rough idea of the resistance to the merger. In the Maritimes and Quebec, assuming that the small Reform/Alliance base stayed put, it appears that a third to a half of the old Tory vote defected to the other parties. As a result, the New Tories got fewer votes than the old ones, even without including the Alliance vote in the mix.

In Ontario and Western Canada, where the Alliance vote was larger than the PC vote, there were similar dropoffs, though only in Saskatchewan and BC did the vote drop below 2000 CA levels.

How much fallout will there be in the Conservative Party? The focus now is on Stephen Harper, who may step down as party leader. But I think the most nervious New Tories right now are John Hamm, Bernard Lord, Pat Binns and Danny Williams - the premiers of the four Atlantic provinces. They have to be wondering whether they can win another election now that they are affiliated with the Cultural Defeatists. Much will depend on the direction the federal party takes from here; will they genuinely embrace a moderate, national platform or will they return to their Western protest base? Four provincial governments hang on that decision. Williams' endorsement of Martin, ostensibly given for the natural gas pipeline revenue arrangement, may be a sign of some hedged bets.