CPSA 2015 Annual Conference Programme

Canadian Political AScience Association

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June 2-4, 2015
University of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario


Local and Urban Politics / Politique locale et urbaine


Session: E4 - The 2014 Toronto Municipal Election (see/voir F4)


Date: Jun 2, 2015 | Time: 01:30pm to 03:00pm | Location: Vanier VNR/2075 | iCal iOS / Outlook


Joint Session / Séance conjointe: With the Political Behaviour/Socilogy Section / Avec la section Comportement politique/socilogie



Chair/Président: Richard Stren (University of Toronto)


Discussant/Commentateur: J. Scott Matthews (Memorial University)


Participants & Authors/Auteurs: (Click titles for Abstract and Paper.)arrow

Cameron Anderson (The University of Western Ontario), R. Michael McGregor (Bishop’s University), Aaron A. Moore (University of Winnipeg), Laura B. Stephenson (University of Western Ontario) : Economics and Elections in Multi-level Governance: The case of Toronto


Abstract: Economic conditions are known to influence electoral outcomes, in that incumbents are more likely to win when the economy is doing well (Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier 2007).  Past work has shown this to be true in elections at the national, state/provincial and local levels in Canada and around the world.  However, there are significant differences in the jurisdictional ability of governments at different levels to influence economic conditions. Consistent with the principles of fiscal federalism, fiscal, regulatory and program capabilities are vastly different at the various levels of government. In particular, local levels of government may be least able to influence economic conditions.  These differences suggest that economic considerations may be less at the forefront of voters' minds when casting ballots at the local level, leading to weaker influences.  Until now, this question has not been addressed. This paper builds upon the large economic voting literature by incorporating consideration of jurisdictional capacity to explore several questions.  First, do citizens differentiate between the impact of different governments on economic conditions?  What factors influence those perceptions?  Second, how do economic effects on vote choice in local elections compare to those in federal and provincial elections? Finally, does individual-level variation in perceptions of influence condition economic effects?  We consider these questions using individual-level data collected during the 2014 Toronto Municipal Election.

Paper / Communication



Sandra McEleney (University of Toronto), Zack Taylor (University of Toronto) : The advantages of incumbency and the determinants of municipal candidate vote share: The 2014 City of Toronto Election


Abstract: The literature on national and subnational elections suggests that candidate performance is largely determined by incumbency, campaign spending, and political party support (Krebs 1998). There have been few systematic studies of candidate performance at the municipal level, especially in Canada (see Kushner et al. 2001). This study examines the 2014 municipal election in the City of Toronto, in which 346 candidates registered to run in 44 wards. Toronto is significant case due its large size and social heterogeneity: with 2.8 million residents, half the population is foreign-born and half is visible minority. Unlike many American large cities, candidates do not run under a party label. We hypothesize that the most important predictors of candidate performance, measured as the percentage of popular vote received, are incumbency and campaign spending. We surveyed all registered candidates regarding gender, age, ethnic background, provincial party affiliation, and professional background. We then cross-referenced this with public campaign finance disclosure data, and whether the candidate had run for election before. Multiple regression models tested which factors were the strongest predictors of candidate performance, and whether candidates did better if they belonged to their neighbourhood's majority ethnic background.

Paper / Communication

Michael McGregor (Bishop's University), Aaron Moore (University of Winnipeg), Samantha Jackson (McMaster University), Karen Bird (McMaster University), Laura Stephenson (The University of Western Ontario) : Gender and Racial Affinity Effects and Incumbency: Examining Ward Races in the 2014 Toronto Municipal Election


Abstract: Municipal voting behaviour is a seldom-studied topic.  As a result, we know little of how such behaviour compares to provincial and federal voting.  Which issues are important for voters at the municipal level?  How are candidates evaluated?  What factors influence voters' preferences?  In contrast to provincial and federal elections, individuals, rather than parties, are contesting the Toronto election.  How do voters make their decisions in the absence of this cue? In this paper, we use data from the Toronto Election Study (TES), a large-scale, individual-level survey, to analyze the outcome of the 2014 Toronto mayoral election and address these research questions.  

Paper / Communication

Michael McGregor (Bishop's University), Aaron Moore (University of Winnipeg), Laura Stephenson (The University of Western Ontario) : Political attitudes and behaviour in a non-partisan environment: The case of the 2014 Toronto Municipal election






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