Friday, October 16, 2015

Something this way comes - but what?

Something is afoot at the polling stations.

Beyond the story of who wins the federal election on Monday, the story of this campaign could well be the turnaround in the number of people bothering to exercise their franchise.

For years, democracy-watchers have bemoaned Canada's ever-lowering voter turnout.

In 2011, a mere 61 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots in the federal election.
Since 36 percent of those people voted Conservative, the Conservatives have had a majority of seats in the House of Commons the last four years.

This year, voter so far turnout is up. Way up.

Across the country, there was an increase of about 71 percent at the advance polls. The increase was 16 percent in Simcoe Grey, 54 percent in Bruce Grey Owen Sound, more than 30 percent in Simcoe North. Those are huge swings.

If the trend holds on October 19th, we could see turnout higher than 70 percent. It hasn't hit the 80s since the 1960s.

Generally, a big turnout is not great news for incumbent governments.
Not not always, but usually, increased turnout is actually pretty terrible news for an incumbent government. That said, the Harper Government is nothing like any other government Canada has ever seen. It might be that their base is so very, very motivated, they voted early so they could spend voting day making sure the rest of the base manages to get to the polls.

Or it might be that a long list of perceived infractions will bring a much reduced Conservative presence to the House, although no one is willing to bet on the caucus being as small as Kim Campbell's who suffered from the country's loathing of Brian Mulroney.

Strap on your surfboards, kids. There's a wave of some sort coming your way Monday night, and the evening will be a long and wild one.

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