Left of Centre Strategic Voting in Canada - The Intrepid

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Left of Centre Strategic Voting in Canada

Strategic voting sites have proliferated over the course of this campaign cycle. Sites like Vote for Environment, Anyone but Harper.ca, and Azzaz.ca all want to see the Conservative Party defeated on October 14th. While conservatives in Canada no longer have to worry about voting strategically, strategy is an important consideration for the electorate who consider themselves left of centre. In the coming days, Canadians who lean to the left have to consider what is more important: support a party or get Harper out of office?

If the answer is anyone but Harper, then strategic voting takes precedent over preference. This is exactly what sites like Vote for Environment suggest. Vote for whatever left of centre party has the best chance of winning in a riding strongly contested by the Conservatives. If the Conservatives aren’t a factor, vote for whomever you want. For those who don’t follow polls, Vote for Environment makes deciding what party to vote for even easier. If you enter your postal code, the site tells you which party you need to vote for in your riding to block the Conservatives.

Some of the calculations these sites make seem a little off, but for the most part the reasoning is sound. Vote for Environment even provides a little table that shows a potential election outcome if all of the left of centre voters in Canada voted strategically.

In recent days, the Tories have slid several points in the polls and are now just hovering around 33-35%. This is slightly less than the 36% of the vote that gave them a minority government in 2006. As a result, it seems unlikely that the idea of a Harper majority will spook many left of centre voters into voting strategically.

Rather it looks likely that come Election Day, most left of centre voters will vote their preference. Even if the idea of another Harper minority government is distasteful. Canadian parties receive $1.75 per vote every year, so every vote a party can get is important for its future success.