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Friday, 1 February 2013

DINKs for McGuinty - The Liberal Party Secrets of Success

The buzz in the political world right now is centred around Kathleen Wynne's recent win as Ontario Liberal Party leader, and the date of the next election — possible at any time because of the minority government in Ontario. But for Wynne to win, she's going to need to keep those groups that have come to find a home in the party under Dalton McGuinty, and expand on their base.

MCGUINTY 20111002
Together, indeed

Recently we looked at sources of increased NDP support and big Dipper drops. We're going to use the same method to look at who swung to the Liberals in 2011 and helped keep them in government.

Here is the un-pretty chart you've come to expect. Scroll down to skip.

Census categoryDifference in r (Rest of Ontario only)
Labour 15 and over: F - Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport0.39
Total Pop, field of study: Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies0.38
Total Pop, field of study: Social and behavioural sciences and law0.37
Total Pop, field of study: Humanities0.36
Average value of owned dwelling ($)0.35
Education 25 to 34: University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor's level or above0.33
Labour 15 and over: E - Occupations in social science, education, government service and religion0.33
Education 15 and over: University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor's level or above0.32
Total pop: Japanese0.31
Education 35 to 64: University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor's level or above0.31
Employed, 15 and over, transport: Public transit0.30
Labour 15 and over, ind cat.: Business services0.27
Legal status: Never legally married (single)0.27
Labour 15 and over, ind cat.: Finance and real estate0.25
Median income in 2005 - Couple households without children ($)0.25
Median after-tax income in 2005 - Couple households without children ($)0.25
Education 15 to 24: University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor's level or above0.25
Median earnings - Persons 15 years and over who worked full year, full time ($)0.25
Total Pop, field of study: Physical and life sciences and technologies0.24
Employed, 15 and over, transport: Walked or bicycled0.24
Median after-tax income in 2005 - Common-law-couple families ($)0.24
Median income in 2005 - Common-law-couple families ($)0.24
Number of rented dwellings0.24
Total pop, Location of study: Postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree0.24
Labour 15 and over: A - Management occupations0.24
Non-permanent residents0.24

What's going on here?

One thing that strikes us right away is that the swings toward the Ontario Liberal Party were quite large compared to those in favour of the NDP, for example, a maximum of a +0.21 change in r for Andrea Horwath's party, compared to the +0.39 change here.

In this list of the top 25 or so census categories going toward McGuinty during an election where the Liberals lost seats and support, a few groups stood out as peculiar. The most obvious is that of artists, followed by those who studied the arts. Could press releases like this one, and increasing awards under the Ontario Arts Council be responsible for an Artists for McGuinty movement?

Interesting that the next groups to follow are those in the humanities and social sciences, a group hard hit by recent cuts to public jobs. The OLP's 30% off Ontario Tuition drive probably seemed like a good deal for those about to receive diplomas that will have cost them more money than it will have earned them in the near future. That's also reflected further down with those in "E - Occupations in social science, education, government service and religion". Perhaps these groups sympathized with the plight of younger students, or feared a PC takeover of the civil service. Educators being included in this group, it's not hard to rule out the gains of the "Education premier."

A recurring theme is people in their thirties (aged 25-29 during the 2006 census, from which the data are derived) swinging toward the Liberals and away from the New Democrats. Remember we're measuring changes in support, and that it is not cohort data. On the one hand, the data provides more stability, but it makes interpretation more difficult over the years.

The university-educated, the employed, those in management, business services and finance and real estate seemed to distinctly prefer McGuinty's medicine to that of the PCs under Tim Hudak.

Other interesting categories: Average value of owned dwelling, i.e, the higher the value, the higher the change in correlation in favour of the Liberals. Was McGuinty the "Housing bubble premier" as well?

Public Transit. We saw McGuinty take a stand against Mayor Rob Ford's insistence on subway-building in Toronto. Maybe the Liberals gained some points with riders of the Rocket as defenders of the Metrolinx plan. Note as well, this belies the stereotype of transit riders as somehow downmarket.

DINKs for McGuinty. That's Dual Income, No Kids, in the 1980s lingo. High-income households with no children were big swingers towards the Liberals in 2011.

Renters and Non-Permanent Residents. We see here the echoes of the traditional Liberal Party coalition, that is to say, the immigrant and visible minority segment. We're not suggesting that temporary workers are voting for the Liberals (they can't do that), but rather that people in these neighbourhoods who become citizens tend to support the Liberals.

Japanese-Canadians. A puzzling anomaly we noticed while looking at drops in the NDP support. Note that due to our imperfect methodology here, we can't say for sure whether Japanese people themselves are rushing towards the OLP, or if people who live near them are. Perhaps (for instance) the Japanese are disproportionately represented in the finance industry? Or maybe the famed Japanese sensitivity to the environment causes them to become over-represented among transit users. We would appreciate any insight into this question.  

Ja mata atode.

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