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Poll: Second choices offer hints about possible — or impossible — voter shifts

This week, we asked in an online poll what federal political party you'd vote for if your first choice wasn't an option
20210903 Federal election signs RV
Candidate signs near the intersection of Victoria Road and Grange Street.

This week, we asked in an online poll what federal political party you'd vote for if your first choice wasn't an option.

This situation doesn't come up all that often in the real world (though it does occasionally: the Greens came a respectable second in Parry Sound-Muskoka in the last provincial election after the Liberals fired their candidate too late to name another one.)

In this case, we're looking at what other parties people who say they'd vote for a party might be open to voting for instead.

Here's what we found:

Now, the problem with this will be obvious up front: 34 per cent of Conservatives named the Conservatives as their second choice, 42 per cent of Greens named the Greens, and so forth.

The way I'm choosing to interpret this is that a varying number of supporters of any given party are committed partisans and would never consider voting for another party. (Very few Liberals seem to feel this way, interestingly.)

Here's another version of the graph, showing only people who chose a second choice that's different from their first choice:

A couple of things pop out:

  • PPC and Conservative voters are open to each others' parties
  • Liberal voters are open to the NDP and vice versa (though not to the same extent in that case)
  • The highest level of openness in the graph is Liberal voters open to voting NDP
  • All parties' voters, from right to left, have a surprising level of openness to the Greens
  • But the Greens themselves are mostly open to the NDP


Patrick Cain

About the Author: Patrick Cain

Patrick is an online writer and editor in Toronto, focused mostly on data, FOI, maps and visualizations. He has won some awards, been a beat reporter covering digital privacy and cannabis, and started an FOI case that ended in the Supreme Court
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