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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

What are immigrants anyway? Conservative Progress on City Dwellers

PC - it's a brand of food at the grocery store, a type of computer, a rather dated pop culture epithet, and also a political party in Ontario. The Progressive Conservative party, under its relatively new leader, Tim Hudak, didn't manage to seal the deal for a majority government in 2011.

Rather like his transatlantic counterpart Michael Howard in 2005, the PCs failed to capitalize on fatigue with a would-be third term government, and were outshone by a third-party upstart, in that case Charles Kennedy's Lib Dems (though we all know how that turned out). 

Second day of the OES begins with remarks from  Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition

Here is a rather extensive comparison of the 2011 Progressive Conservative platform against the NDP and the Ontario Liberals, although it all reads much like the instruction manual for a microwave.

How to Lose Toronto

One bump in the road encountered by the Hudak team was its controversial criticism of tax credit programs for hiring immigrants. Having been seen, rightly or wrongly, to boldly go after one of the sacred cows of globalization, the shifts in support between the 2011 and 2007 elections certainly reflect that:

DemographicDifference in r (Rest of Ontario Only)
Average value of owned dwelling ($)-0.18
Total Pop, field of study: Humanities-0.16
Total pop: Japanese-0.15
Employed, 15 and over, transport: Public transit-0.15
Total Pop, field of study: Social and behavioural sciences and law-0.14
Apartments in buildings with five or more storeys - as a % of total occupied private dwellings-0.14
Total Pop, field of study: Visual and performing arts, and communications technologies-0.14
Education 15 and over: University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor's level or above-0.14
Education 35 to 64: University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor's level or above-0.14
Median monthly payments for rented dwellings ($)-0.13
Labour 15 and over, ind cat.: Business services-0.12
Labour 15 and over: F Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport-0.12
Total Pop, field of study: Physical and life sciences and technologies-0.12
Total pop, Location of study: Postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree-0.12
Education 25 to 34: University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor's level or above-0.11
Total pop, Location of study: Outside Canada-0.11
Labour 15 and over, ind cat.: Finance and real estate-0.11
% in low income after tax - All persons-0.11
Number of rented dwellings-0.11
Lived in a different country 1 year ago-0.11
Other household types-0.11
Legal status: Never legally married (single)-0.11
Lived within the same province or territory 1 year ago, but changed addresses within the same census subdivision (municipality)-0.11
Labour 15 and over: E Occupations in social science, education, government service and religion-0.11
Lived in a different country 5 years ago-0.11
% in low income after tax - Persons less than 18 years of age-0.11

We've already seen the other two thirds of the pie, so we can say with some authority how Mr. Hudak's support slipped away.

It's interesting to note, though, that the shifts here aren't quite as big as those we saw between the Liberals and the NDP. Those who weren't predisposed to be on the Tory ship anyway wouldn't have joined it in 2007.

If we can try to make some sense of this list, one grouping of demographics that catches the eye right away might be called "Educated people", at least in the traditional sense. People who went to university and didn't get a degree in business (Humanities are number two, followed closely by Social scientists). And maybe a few management majors, too, seeing as how "Business services" and "Finance and real estate" are both on this list of PC-foresakers.

Although owners of large houses abandoned the Liberals, we still see "Average value of owned dwelling" (that is, the higher the value, the greater the shift away from the Conservatives) at the top of the list here. Did the PCs make gains among mid-value McMansions?

Another meta-group we might discern here? City dwellers, which we can lump together through the high shifts among those using public transit, high-value renters, large apartment buildings, etc.

Some of the categories associated city life can be spotted, too: immigrants ("Lived in a different country 5 years ago"), low income, "Other household types", "Never married", rented dwellings.

Japanese Canadians are also on the list (again). Any insights are welcome - help us solve the 2011 Ontario Japanese Mystery.

Overall, it's hard to think of how you could assemble a more cosmopolitan bunch. Those, with a few exceptions, who are allegedly the big winners in a globalized economy, managed to find in Tim Hudak something unappealing that they didn't see in John Tory – and drifted away.

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