F19 - Workshop: Understanding Electoral Democracy, The 2019 Canadian Election in Perspective 3
Date: Jun 4 | Time: 01:30pm to 03:00pm | Location:
Joint Session / Séance conjointe : Canadian Politics
Sponsor / Commanditaire : Consortium on Electoral Democracy (C-Dem), a SSHRC-funded research network across Canada.
Chair/Président/Présidente : Daniel Rubenson (Ryerson University)
Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Jason Roy (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Regions, Cohorts and Generations
Is the Cost of Voting Higher for First-time Voters?: Semra Sevi (University of Montreal), André Blais (University of Montreal )
Abstract: We know a lot about general determinants of duty, interest and habit on turnout. But the cost of voting is understudied. Given that citizens base their decision to vote or not partly on how costly they perceive voting to be, we can expect that the perceived costs of voting will be particularly high among first time voters. We conducted a national survey with Elections Canada during the 2019 federal election to examine what first time voters perceive the costs of voting to be before the election and what they actually are after the election. In this paper, we will report the results for two expectations: the cost of voting is particularly high and the impact of cost considerations on the turnout decision is greater among first-time voters.
Generational replacement and its impact on democratic politics: Marc A. Bodet (U. Laval), Viviane Le Hay (Science Po Bordeaux), Catherine Ouellet (U. of Toronto), Vincent Tiberj (Science Po Bordeaux)
Abstract: The electorate in a representative democracy is always evolving. New cohorts of voters appear on the electoral market as they reach majority or as they gain citizenship. At the same time, others leave it as they get old. Still, most of political behaviour research ignore demographic dynamics or only consider this complex question through the lenses of voters’ individual characteristics. Making use of 10 Canadian Elections Studies (from 1988 to 2019) covering more than thirty years of electoral politics and tens of thousands of respondents, we take a closer look at where cohorts stand and how they have changed on three dimensions of political attitudes: left-right positioning, attitudes toward democratic citizenship, and trust in democratic institutions. Our expectations are twofold. We first expect to find strong cohort effects that trump in importance certain canonical explanatory variables in political behaviour research. We also expect to see and increasing generational gap as younger generations become more and more different from their predecessors compared to earlier years. Canada is an interesting case to study in a comparative perspective because there is in that country a constant inflow of new voters (born in Canada or elsewhere), there are major demographic transformations at play with an aging population and much more diverse younger cohorts, and there is a constant tension within federal institutions that makes politics especially salient. We plan to replicate our methodologies later in other polities.
Where the Loons Are: Voting Power in the Canadian Party System: Richard Johnston (University of British Columbia)
Abstract: This paper compares groups for their voting power in Canadian elections. The focus is on elections from 2004 to the present, years in which election patterns roughly stabilized (or tendencies were augmented) after the hiatus of 1993-2000. The question is whether certain groups and places are distinctively cohesive or distinctively mobile. Groups and places vary in cohesion but not so much mobility. Rather, electoral tides evoke broadly similar dynamics from all major groups. Some groups are more closely balanced than others between the major parties. The most important factor in a group’s voting power, however, is the balance of forces in the electoral districts where the group is distinctively concentrated. I use data from the Canadian Election Studies, 2004-15 (and 2019, I hope) and from integrated files of census and electoral district data and of reported commercial polls. To the extent that space permits, comparisons will be offered with pre-2000 patterns in the spirit of my 2017 book, The Canadian Party System: An Analytic History.
Canadians’ vote choice calculus and the causal order of underlying beliefs and values: Jean-François Daoust (University of Edinburgh)
Abstract: Canada’s heterogeneity across its regions makes it quite difficult to apply a single theoretical model and empirical modelisation to explain electoral outcomes. The case of Québec, where a substantial proportion of citizens support the idea that the province should be an independent country, is particularly important. However, scholars using a multistage (bloc-recursive) approach, i.e. the common strategy in Canada (Blais et al. 2002; Gidengil et al. 2012), must make strong assumptions about the causal order of the national question. Does support for Québec independence come before or after underlying beliefs such as left-right ideology and party identification (PID)? We don’t know. In this paper, I use the CES 2004-06-08-11 panel to determine the stability of support for Québec independence, left-right ideology and PID, and their respective causal order i.e. what moves what? The answer entails major theoretical but also methodological implications as it will affect how we should conceive the funnel of causality in Canadian politics. The causal order of the national question being clarified, I will be able to conduct the first federal longitudinal analyses on its impact over time. The conventional wisdom is that the weight of the national question in vote choice calculus is declining, leaving room for other factors to play a more crucial role. However, empirical evidence is very limited and nonexistent if we focus on research using individual-level data such as the CES. This study provides the first systematic test of this hypothesis and has major implications on our understanding of Canadian election.