Liberal leader Justin Trudeau returned as Prime Minister with a minority government 13 seats short of a majority. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau returned as Prime Minister with a minority government 13 seats short of a majority. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Poll suggests plenty Canadians voted strategically to stop a party from winning

OTTAWA — More than one-third of Canadians voted strategically in last week’s federal election to stop another party from winning, a new poll suggests.

Thirty-five per cent of respondents to the Leger poll said their decision about who to support took into account the chances that their vote would prevent another party’s candidate from being victorious.

And almost as many waited until the final week of the campaign to make their choice.

Thirteen per cent made a decision during the last week, six per cent during the final weekend before the Monday vote, and another 10 per cent literally didn’t decide until the last minute on voting day.

Those results suggest a good number of voters waited to see which way the wind was blowing before casting their ballots, motivated at least in part by a desire to prevent the outcome they least wanted.

The online survey of 1,503 adult Canadians was conducted Oct. 22-24 for The Canadian Press and weighted to reflect the makeup of Canada’s population; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Of all the parties, the Conservatives were the most likely to lock in their support early.

Fully 50 per cent of respondents who voted for the Tories said they made their choice before the campaign started. By contrast, just 30 per cent of Liberals, 22 per cent of New Democrats, 31 per cent of Bloc Quebecois supporters, 35 per cent of Greens and 31 per cent of supporters of the People’s Party of Canada said the same.

Overall, 57 per cent said their vote was based on their political convictions, without any thought to their candidates’ chances of winning.

The 35 per cent who did take strategic voting into account included 39 per cent of Conservative supporters, 43 per cent of Liberals, 28 per cent of New Democrats, 18 per cent of Bloc supporters, 16 per cent of Greens and 24 per cent of People’s Party supporters.

But while strategic voting was a factor, the poll suggests it wasn’t the primary factor for most. Asked to identify the main reason why they chose to vote for a party, 37 per cent said they did so because the platform and values aligned with their own. Nine per cent said their primary motivation was to get rid of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, six per cent said it was to vote against another party and four per cent said they voted mainly for the best local candidate.

Trudeau spent the final week of the campaign warning progressive voters that they must vote Liberal to prevent Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives from forming government.

The poll suggests he had good reason to be worried that progressive voters might split their votes among the Liberals, NDP, Greens and Bloc Quebecois, allowing the Conservatives to come up the middle.

Fully 46 per cent of respondents who ultimately voted Liberal said they considered voting for the NDP during the campaign. Another 30 per cent said they considered voting Bloc and 29 per cent considered going Green.

By contrast, those who voted Conservative were much less likely to have considered other options. Just 18 per cent considered the NDP, 15 per cent considered the People’s Party, 13 per cent considered the Liberals, 13 per cent the Greens and 11 per cent the Bloc.

In the end, Trudeau’s Liberals won 157 seats, 13 short of a majority. The Conservatives, who spent the final week of the campaign warning against a Liberal-NDP coalition, wound up with 121.

The outcome, combined with the latest poll results, suggest “the messaging of the Liberals in the last legs of the campaign, sort of post-debate, played much better than the messaging from the Conservatives,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

Indeed, while the Liberals stemmed the bleeding of their support to the NDP and Greens, Bourque said the Conservatives seemed unable to grow their support from the outset of the campaign.

“The Conservatives simply just delivered their base on election day and not anything else.”

Among those who didn’t vote, 15 per cent said they were working, travelling or otherwise unavailable to cast ballots, 14 per cent said they weren’t eligible to vote, 13 said they don’t trust politicians and nine per cent said they weren’t interested. Another three per cent said they found all parties disappointing, three per cent said their vote wouldn’t have counted, two per cent said the polling station was too far away, another two per cent said they didn’t receive voter information cards and one per cent fessed up to laziness.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced more than 1,500 active cases in Alberta Monday afternoon and five additional deaths. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New COVID rules coming

Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

(Black Press file photo.)
Rocky police charge three suspects after pellet gun shootings

Three incidents results in several injuries

Red Deer city council gave final approval to a mask bylaw that will go into effect on Nov. 30. (Black Press file photo).
Red Deer city council approves mask bylaw that takes effect on Nov. 30

It could be ‘superceded’ by a provincial mask bylaw, if one is announced Tuesday

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) knocks a pass away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Goff throws for 376 yards, 3 TDs in Rams’ 27-24 win vs Bucs

Goff throws for 376 yards, 3 TDs in Rams’ 27-24 win vs Bucs

New York Red Bulls midfielder Dru Yearwood, left, fights for the ball against Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio during an MLS soccer match in Harrison, N.J., on November 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Experienced Toronto FC ready to take on upstart Nashville SC in playoff action

Experienced Toronto FC ready to take on upstart Nashville SC in playoff action

Canada's head coach Dave Lowry during practice at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. The Winnipeg Jets have hired Lowry as an assistant coach. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former WHL head coach Dave Lowry joins Paul Maurice’s staff in Winnipeg

Former WHL head coach Dave Lowry joins Paul Maurice’s staff in Winnipeg

Felix Auger-Aliassime, of Canada, returns a shot to Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships in New York on September 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Seth Wenig
A steady if unspectacular season comes to a close for Canada’s Auger-Aliassime

A steady if unspectacular season comes to a close for Canada’s Auger-Aliassime

Sacramento Kings' Alex Len (25) collects a rebound against Brooklyn Nets' Jarrett Allen (31) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ashley Landis
Raptors continue to shore up frontcourt, signing Alex Len to one-year deal

Raptors continue to shore up frontcourt, signing Alex Len to one-year deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Freeland says Liberals will deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30

Freeland says Liberals will deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30

Canadian Joint Operations Commander Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau speaks during a news conference on the recent Canadian Forces helicopter crash, Tuesday, May 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to formally apologize to victims of sexual misconduct. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct

Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct

Alberta Liberal Party David Khan at a campaign stop in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 11, 2019. The Alberta Liberal Party says its leader, David Khan, is stepping down. A news release from the party on Sunday evening says Khan is accepting a new job in law. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Liberal Party says leader, David Khan, stepping down to accept new job in law

Alberta Liberal Party says leader, David Khan, stepping down to accept new job in law

Most Read