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Thursday, 7 February 2013

Hudak's Heroes - Cows, Coal and Government Cash

Don't change horses midstream, goes the saying. Something that could apply to the 2011 Ontario Election and this website as well. How's that, you ask? Well, we've recently tweaked our methodology just in time for the last episode of this mini-series on the greatest electoral shifts among the parties in 2011. Soon we'll be going back and adding in the adjustments, and changing our commentary accordingly.

Bombeando o campo

In any case, we're going to be looking at where Tim Hudak managed to get out the vote for his party in 2011, by comparing over time the correlations to a bunch of demographic indicators from the 2006 Census (the 2006 census being the latest reliable census in Canada, naturally).

Because the data for Northern Ontario ridings comes from the 2001 census, it is rather dated, and lacks a lot of the finer detail of the 2006 survey. So, once again, the following is for the Rest of Ontario only: 

Top shifts in support towards the Ontario PCs, 2011 - Demographic2011-2007
Difference in r (Rest of Ontario Only)
Correlation to vote, as % of electors
Labour 15 and over: I Occupations unique to primary industry0.17
Labour 15 and over, ind cat.: Agriculture and other resource-based industries0.16
Other dwellings - as a % of total occupied private dwellings (14)0.15
Government transfers - As a % of total income0.14
Education 15 and over: No certificate, diploma or degree0.14
Average number of persons in common-law-couple families (25)0.14
Single-detached houses - as a % of total occupied private dwellings0.13
Education 35 to 64: No certificate, diploma or degree0.13
Employed, 15 and over: Worked in a different census subdivision (municipality) within the census division (county) of residence0.13
Total Pop, field of study: Agriculture, natural resources and conservation0.12
Total Pop: No postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree0.12
Total pop, Location of study: No postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree0.12
Immigrant: 3rd generation or more (59)0.11
Education 35 to 64: Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma0.11
Education 15 and over: Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma0.11
Labour 15 and over: J Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities0.11
North American Indian single response (64)0.10
Total Pop, field of study: Personal, protective and transportation services0.10
Total Aboriginal identity population (63)0.10
Education 35 to 64: High school certificate or equivalent (79)0.09
Labour 15 and over: H Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations0.09

There is definitely a theme to this data, and that is "working in the fields" or the "coal mine", or what have you, with primary industry workers (miners, loggers, etc.) and farm workers shifting en masse to the PCs. Unsurprisingly, people having studied in "Agriculture and natural resources" are not far behind.

(Please don't interpret this as a smug city-dweller making fun of the farmer. I am a fan of food, and I am glad it grows. My computer also requires minerals and resources I would have a hard time collecting on my own. Thanks, guys.) 

Further along the production chain, we see that "processing and manufacturing" were new hotbeds of PC support, though this shift of +0.11 r is somewhat less strong than the trend towards the NDP among manufacturing workers: +0.17 r.

North American Indian / Aboriginals apparently shifted towards the PCs. It would be interesting to see how that would play out in Ontario now, after the Idle No More movement.

Education-wise, we see a mix of no diploma, and trades certificates represented here. Once again, however, the shift towards the NDP was greater among the "Total population: No postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree".

Thanks for the Cash, Now Cut My Taxes Please

Number four on the list is a curious phenomenon: The higher the amount of government benefits received, the higher the shift towards the PCs.

Is this the Ontario equivalent of Red State Socialism? (The US stands out among industrialized nations by, among other things, getting its political colors wrong) That is to say, those on American unemployment benefits, food stamps, medicaid, etc. apparently then turn around and vote for the very people who seek to cut and limit these programs.

There has been a lot of journalism on this subject lately in the States, but to the extent that may be happening here, it may be flying under the radar.

Kings Row Trailer Park
"Single detached house" (+0.13 r) was a new Tory hotspot, but "Other dwellings" figures prominently on the list as well (+0.15 r).
It's not hard to imagine that many of the low-education level voters shifting to the PCs don't quite understand the set of government mechanisms that give them their Ontario Works benefits. It's hard enough for me to understand these things, and I do have a "postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree".

Maybe the shift towards direct deposit in recent years, while more efficient for institutions, is having the effect of making the government connection to benefits less salient for low-income, low-education voters. Instead of seeing a logo or government address on checks, envelopes, and stubs, testifying to the fact that government is involved somehow in improving their condition, an amount of cash with an obscure bank description (OTB? Trillium Benefit?) is deposited unseen and unremarked, consigned to the mental space of routine events.  

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