Dominance & Decline: Making Sense of Recent Canadian Elections

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-03-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Toronto Pr Higher education
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Emerging from the 2000 federal election, the dominance of the Liberal Party seemed assured. By 2011, however, the situation had completely reversed: the Liberals suffered a crushing defeat, failing even to become the official opposition and recording their lowest ever share of the vote. Dominance and Declineprovides a comprehensive, comparative account of Canadian election outcomes since 2000. The book explores the meaning of election outcomes within the context of the larger changes that have marked Canada's party system since 1988. It also demonstrates how noticeable trends can help to explain the radical results of the 2011 election.

Author Biography

Elisabeth Gidengil is Hiram Mills Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship at McGill University. Neil Nevitte is Professor of Political Science and cross-appointed as Professor at the School of Public Policy and Governance and the School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Andr Blais is Professor of Political Science and Canada Research Chair in Electoral Studies at the Universit de Montral. Joanna Everitt is Professor of Political Science at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John. Patrick Fournier is Professor of Political Science at the Universit de Montral.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tablesp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Explaining Vote Choicep. 1
The Sociological Modelp. 2
The Social-Psychological Modelp. 5
Multistage Modelsp. 8
Rational Choice Modelsp. 10
The Analytic Strategyp. 13
The Changing Social Bases of Party Supportp. 19
Social Cleavages Old and Newp. 19
The Liberals: A Party in Declinep. 24
The Conservatives: On the Road to a Majorityp. 29
The NDP: A Party on the Reboundp. 31
Change and Continuityp. 32
Values and Beliefsp. 37
Telling the Left from the Rightp. 38
Beyond Left and Rightp. 40
Value Stability and Changep. 42
Values, Beliefs, and Social Background Characteristicsp. 44
Values, Beliefs, and Vote Choicep. 45
Values, Beliefs, and Electoral Dynamicsp. 49
Party Loyaltiesp. 53
Party Identification: A Contested Concept in Canadap. 53
Is Party Identification Meaningful in Canada?p. 56
The Liberals Lose Their Partisan Advantagep. 60
Who are the Partisans?p. 64
Short-Term Shocks and Strained Loyaltiesp. 66
Does the Economy Matter?p. 69
The Not-so-Simple Economic Voting Calculusp. 70
The Contingencies of Economic Votingp. 72
Economic Conditions and the Votep. 73
Changing Economic Perceptionsp. 75
Economic Perceptions and the Votep. 76
The Limited Influence of Economic Perceptionsp. 77
Revisiting Conventional Wisdomp. 82
The Issues and the Votep. 85
Issue Votingp. 86
Policy Issues and the Votep. 88
The Sponsorship Scandalp. 94
Issue Voting and Party Fortunesp. 98
Party Leaders-"The Superstars" of Canadian Politics?p. 101
Leader Evaluations, Vote Choice, and Electoral Dynamicsp. 102
Leader Awarenessp. 104
Feelings about the Party Leadersp. 106
What Lies behind Leader Evaluations?p. 108
Leader Evaluations and Vote Choicep. 112
Leader Evaluations and Party Vote Sharesp. 113
The Leadership Factorp. 114
Strategic Considerationsp. 117
Strategic Votingp. 118
Preferences, Perceptions, and Vote Choicep. 120
Minority Governmentsp. 121
Views about Minority Governmentp. 123
The Influence of Strategic Motivations, Values, and Economic Considerationsp. 126
Views about Minority Government and Vote Choicep. 128
Strategic Calculations and Electoral Dynamicsp. 129
The Greens and the Perils of Being A "Single-Issue" Partyp. 133
Alternative Explanations for Green Votingp. 134
Where Did Green Voters Come From?p. 137
Who Supported the Green Party?p. 138
Constraints and Opportunitiesp. 142
Electoral Dynamics in Quebecp. 147
The Linguistic Dividep. 149
Sovereignists, Federalists, and the "Soft Centre"p. 151
Partisanship and Vote Choicep. 155
The Economyp. 158
The Issuesp. 161
The Leadership Factorp. 164
Strategic Considerationsp. 166
Distinct Dynamicsp. 169
The Shifting Contours of Canadian Electionsp. 173
Explaining Changing Party Fortunes: Outside Québecp. 173
Explaining Changing Party Fortunes: Québecp. 179
Explaining Vote Choice and Electoral Dynamics: What Has Been Learned?p. 180
The Strategic Challenges Facing Canadian Partiesp. 182
Estimating the Multistage Modelsp. 187
Values and Beliefsp. 189
The Determinants of Vote Choicep. 193
Referencesp. 203
Indexp. 221
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