Saturday, January 10, 2009

New poll - how do you decide your vote?

A comment from janfromthebruce reminded me of something I've wondered for a while. Different people use different criteria to decide their vote. I like to consider policy, but I know some people who decide by their local candidates (e.g. they'd vote for any party with a good local candidate).

There was a poll released in mid-December that claimed many people (51%) thought they voted directly for the Prime Minister. I don't think that many people were wrong, I think the question might have been interpreted to mean "vote for the local candidate of the party with the leader I'd like as PM."

But in the latest Nanos poll puts Ignatieff ahead of Layton. If some voters choose their local candidate based on leader (and I would argue Dion had this effect last October), then could some voters shift from NDP to Liberal?

Or could other factors such as a percieved shift of the Liberal leader to a more right wing stance affect voters deciding based on party policy?

How many of each? And so forth.

So I put a poll in the left-hand margin. Feel free to leave comments here.


  1. What leader?
    Next election I will be voting for a Coalition of Progressives.
    The Progressive Canadian Party. We will vote for the leader after the election.

  2. I voted -- do we get to see the results?

    I had a bit of a time choosing between voting by policy and calling myself partisan, since I belong to the party I do because of basic principles that don't change. I'm certainly not uncritical of the party, but there's no one else to vote for imho.

    About those sloppy claims in the media last fall: I certainly know people who vote by leader -- that seems kind of Disneythink to me, but this is North America after all. I also know people who are very focused on local candidates and would not support a party or leader if they didn't like the local candidate. I know policy wonks who could skip from one party to another if policies shifted.

    Our pundits are so lazy, and so in love with easy oversimplifications.

  3. skdadl - you should be able to see the results after you vote, I can see them. I'll be sure to post the final results and some analysis next week.

    Choosing by party leader isn't so much Disneythink to me. In our system, the PM has his thumb on cabinet (or else you're out), and the backbenchers (ref. Bill Casey). If you make use of a party 'brand' to help you get elected, then as a 'franchisee' you owe something back to the franchise. I'm not saying you should always toe the party line, in fact I agree with Bill Casey's vote. But the party isn't very strong if they don't vote together. And the PM has the most influence on that vote - ref. the current Conservatives.

    Taken another way, a lot of people voted for Bill Casey because they liked his as their representative; personally I think many also wanted to send a message to the Conservatives from an Atlantic Canadian riding re: the Atlantic Accord.

  4. Canadians have been voting for one man (party leader or lump it) for one very long time.
    This has got to change. Personally, I loath Harper and now the Liberals "Private Club", has removed the last renmants of democracy in that party with the annointment of Ignatieff (this one really ticks me off) and, the fact that Iggy's citizenship is in doubt makes me think Putin is running Liberal country.

  5. If we changed our system to one of proportional representation, then we might base our votes on different criteria.

    In BC, we'll be voting May 12th in a referendum on the Single Transferable Vote. STV places far more emphasis on quality of candidate. Were STV to be in place federally, then I would likely base my decision on the quality, my familiarity with, and the amount of trust I had in the candidates. However, given the lack of democracy inhering in the combination of our FPTP voting system and the power wielded by the PMO, am pretty much forced to use a selection process which is substantially different.

  6. I know nothing about STV, but I'll start googling.

    Could you offer some URLs to learn more about STV?

    I'm not in favor of proportional representation or any other change which would increase the probability or quantity of minority governments - UNTIL we find a way to make minority governments function better.

    The existing Conservative government is my first point of evidence. They're the most dysfunctional minority I can remember. Why would I want more of that? Why would Conservatives want a mirror image in the event of a Liberal minority?

    I'm not an expert, but getting rid of ALL confidence votes (or the provision to dissolve government on loss of one) might help. But I'm told it might hurt, e.g. how else would you get rid of a bad government?