Voter Abstinence

Trek Magazine
Cover of Fall 2008 Trek Magazine

UBC Trek Magazine, Fall 2008

I came across a copy of the UBC Trek Magazine and found a great little piece on something called Voter Abstinence.  It basically means what it says.  Voters have a tendency to not come out and vote during elections.  This abstinence is well illustrated by the low voter turnouts everywhere across this country.

UBC economist, Werner Antweiller, has just completed a study that examined three previous federal elections and the three most recent provincial elections to see if there was voter abstinence or voter migration, where a voter changes votes from one party to another from election to election.

“The swing vote doesn’t alone decide elections,” says Antweiler. “It comes down to giving the people who normally vote for a party a reason why they should come out again and vote for that party. What carries much more weight is non-voters turning into voters, and voters turning into non-voters.”

That’s a very interesting finding from this study.  If we look at how Obama has electrified to the US electorate, then we can see that voters want somebody or something positive to vote for.  Otherwise, they stay away from the ballot box.

Not sure how recent events in Ottawa will affect Canadian voter turnout now.  It seems events have further solidified partisan views across the country.  Since voters tend not to migrate, it looks like the other possible consequence of attempted coalition government and current proroguation is a further alienation of Canadian voters.  I think the disgust metre must be pretty high in the general public.

One thing is becoming increasingly clear, though.  Stephane Dion will have to step down in order to have a real alternative to Harper in the near future.  Also, it will be interesting how much damage Stephen Harper will suffer from his heated comments about “treason” and venomous attacks on the separatist/sovereignist camps.  The Liberals and NDP have likely further distanced themselves from most Western Canadians except for Vancouver proper and the Conservatives have thrown an ugly egg in the face of the Quebecois.

It will be interesting when Parliament meets again in January.  I think the Liberals will have colder feet about the coalition idea and the Conservatives will likely stay in power for a little longer.  Until the Liberals pick a new, more capable leader, then the status quo will likely reign.

One thought on “Voter Abstinence

  1. “For the Conservatives, the most damage in the past week seems to have come from the province of Quebec, where a plurality believe Mr. Harper should resign as leader of the party and a majority blame the Conservatives more than anyone else for the parliamentary crisis.” Dumb Harper was foolish enough to attack the coalition government blame on Quebcers and he is now continuing to pay the price for it. He Harper cannot win without the support of Quebec, east.. nor can the Liberals

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