Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2011 federal election poll maps: Toronto (part 1)

Click to enlarge
If you've been following my twitter feed (which I just added to the site), you will know that last night, Shilly, a member of the US Election Atlas Forum released the poll by poll map of the entire city of Toronto from the May 2011 election. He has given me permission to re-post his map here, which I cannot thank him enough for, as it is drool-worthy for anyone who is as obsessed with Canadian election maps as I.

But now is the hard for me. Trying to make sense of this map. Compared to 2008, the map is much more blue and orange, and less red. The Conservatives picked up 9 ridings in the city in 2011, after having won none in 2008. The NDP picked up 6 ridings in the city. All 15 of these seats came at the expense of the Liberals. The Liberals were relegated to certain immigrant communities heavily concentrated in the northwest part of the city and in parts of Scarborough. The NDP expanded on their traditional lakefront ridings, by nearly sweeping the region, and also picked up the riding of Scarborough--Rouge River which has a high Tamil population. The Tories won in more upper class regions and in Scarborough.

Riding by riding analysis
Map of the ridings in Toronto. It's missing Pickering--Scarborough East (on the east side of the map) which was included in Shilly's map.

Beaches--East York
This riding was held by the Liberals, but the NDP picked it up on a swing of 9.9%. While the riding is a safe NDP riding provincially, federally it has been allusive for the party, having failed to win it in 2008 when they ran a star candidate in former MPP Marilyn Churley (who had represented neighbouring Toronto--Danforth). The NDP won the riding even with a lesser known candidate in Matthew Kellway, who won by over 5000 votes.

The NDP won most of the polls in the riding, but saw their highest percentages in the central part of the district, between Kingston Rd and Cosburn Ave (Woodbine Heights and Upper Beaches). This region was their strength in 2008 as well, even though the Liberals still won more polls there. The Liberal vote was spread around the riding more, picking up a few polls in the far north and south of the riding. Their strongest poll was in the highly multicultural neighbourhood of Crescent Town. The Conservatives won at least 12 more polls than their previous one poll in 2008. They won all but one poll in the fairly wealthy Parkview Hills neighbourhood, a few polls in Woodbine Gardens, and won four lakefront polls in the southwest corner of the riding.

Davenport is another riding the NDP picked up from the Liberals. The riding has been targeted by the NDP in recent years, but 2011 marks the first time it has ever voted NDP on the federal level. The area has a large Portuguese population, and in recent years has seen in influx of young adults moving into the riding. The NDP ran an excellent campaign in the riding, running star candidate and former punk rocker Andrew Cash.  The NDP gained the seat with a huge 20.2% swing from the Liberals, defeating incumbent Mario Silva.

Politically, Davenport is polarized between north and south divided by the CP Railway. The north is where there Liberal support is the strongest, while the south is where the NDP support is strongest. In 2008, the Liberals won the south part of the riding, but it was the only part of the riding where the NDP won polls. In 2011, the reverse happened, where the Liberals not only did not win a poll south of the CP Railway, they did not win any polls south of St. Clair Ave. Liberal polls were concentrated in the heavily Italian and Portuguese neighbourhoods of Fairbank and Earlscourt. The further south in the riding, the more NDP it is, with the party making inroads into Little Portugal. The strongest neighbourhood for the party was Dufferin Grove, which is a working class neighbourhood. This neighbourhood in particular has a lot of young adults living in it.

Don Valley East
Don Valley East was a surprise pick up by the Tories in 2011. The lost the 2008 election by roughly 6,500 votes. However, Conservative candidate Joe Daniel was able to overcome this deficit by defeating the Liberal MP, Yasmin Ratansi by less than 900 votes. The NDP did fairly well in this riding, getting 25% of the vote here. 

In 2008, the Liberal vote was spread fairly evenly across the riding, winning most of the polls. Tory support was concentrated around the Donalda Golf & Country Club, and parts of the Parkwoods and Victoria Park Village. In 2011, the Conservative expanded their support in these neighbourhoods, sweeping most polls there. They also made inroads north of the 401, where they won just 2 polls in 2008. They won most of the polls in the neighbourhood of Henry Farm, and did very well in Don Valley Village and Pleasant View.

Liberal support was more concentrated in 2008. They were relegated mostly to the area north of Van Horne Ave. in the Don Valley Village, they won a handful of polls in Pleasant View, and continued to win most of the polls south of Eglinton Ave, in the far south of the riding - which is where their best poll was.

The NDP, which did not win a single poll in 2008, picked up quite a few in 2011. NDP polls were concentrated in 5 areas: on the north side of Eglinton Ave, a few polls in the Don Mills area, along York Mills Rd., the eastern part of Henry Farm, and around the "peanut" in Don Mills Village.

Don Valley West
Don Valley West was another Conservative pick up from the Liberals. The riding is very polarized between the two parties. Both the 2008 and 2011 elections were fairly close. Liberal MP Rob Oliphant won in 2008 by less than 3000 votes to the Conservative John Carmichael. They had a rematch in 2011, where Carmichael edged out Oliphant by 600 votes.

In 2008, the Conservative vote strength is concentrated in the wealthy York Mills, Bridle Path and Lawrence Park neighbourhoods. Liberal support was concentrated in Bedford Park, North Toronto, Don Mills, and Flemingdon Park. The neighbourhood of Leaside was mixed between the two parties. The densely populated working class neighbourhood of Thorncliffe Park was won by the Liberals, but the NDP also won many polls.

In 2011, the Tories made inroads in many of these Liberal communities. They won over the neighbourhood of Leaside, nearly swept Don Mills and made gains in Bedford Park and North Toronto. Liberal support held firm in the south end of the riding in Flemingdon Park an Thorncliffe Park where they gained all of the NDP polls (the NDP candidate was noticeably absent during the campaign). The NDP won one poll in 2008, at the corner of Bayview and the 401- which I believe is an apartment building.

Eglinton-Lawrence was one of the top 2 targets for the Tories in the city. They had only lost by 2,000 votes in 2008. In a rematch between the Liberal MP, Joe Volpe and the Conservative candidate, Joe Oliver, the Tories picked up the seat, winning by 4,000 votes.

When you look at the map poll by poll map of the riding, you can easily see how polarized it is. Nearly everything west of Allen Rd. was won by the  the Liberals, and everything east by the Tories. This is not completely true of course, as the area east of Avenue Rd. was very good for the Liberals as well (south of Lawrence).

In comparing the 2008 and 2011 maps, one change in this riding is glaringly evident. It seems almost all of the polls in the neighbourhood of Lawrence Manor went from Liberal to Conservative. This neighbourhood has a large Jewish population. Jews in the Greater Toronto Area have switched their votes en masse it seems in recent years from the Liberals to the Conservatives. I'm actually surprised that this switch didn't happen earlier in Lawrence Manor.

The NDP won just three polls in the riding.

Etobicoke Centre
Etobicoke Centre was the third closest riding in all of Canada. 26 votes separated the Conservative victor, Ted Opitz and the Liberal incumbent, Borys Wrzesnewskyj. The Tories won the seat, benefiting from a 5.7% swing from the Liberals. The Liberals had won the seat in 2008 by 5,700 votes.

In 2008, the Conservative support was strongest in the area of the riding east of Kipling and south of Eglinton. Liberal support was strongest north of Eglinton and west of the 427 and south of Rathburn Rd. The same can be said about the 2011 election, except that the Tories encroached on these Liberal areas.

In 2011, the Tories won all the polls between Kipling and Royal York Rd, south of Eglinton. This area includes the exclusive St. George's Golf & Country Club, and is fairly wealthy. The Tories also did well in the wealthy Humber Valley Village, and in Eringate (where they won 4 polls in 2008). The Liberals remained dominant north of Eglinton, where they won most of the polls. West of the 427 and south of Rathburn remained mostly Liberal, but the Tories made inroads there. Islington, in the central part of the riding went from a mostly Liberal area to a mostly Conservative area. The NDP won 4 polls in the riding, 3 of which were in the Mall area, along the 427.

Etobicoke--Lakeshore was the riding that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was defending. As the Liberals began struggling, the media started to speculate that hey may lose his seat. That indeed did occur. The Conservative candidate, Bernard Trotties won the seat by nearly 3,000 votes on an 8.3% swing from the Liberals.

Ignatieff won by nearly 6,000 votes in 2008, and nearly swept the riding. The Tories only won a handful of polls- mostly in the southwest part of the riding and in The Kingsway, an affluent neighbourhood in the northeast of the riding. The tables turned in 2011 however, where the Tories nearly swept the riding.

Party support is clearly distributed fairly evenly in the riding. In 2011, the Tories strength was pretty even across the district. South of the GO Train was their worst area, where the Liberals and NDP won many polls. The NDP and Liberals did very well in New Toronto, and the Liberals did well in Mimico. The Tories still did well in the area however, winning in Long Branch and in parts of Mimico.

Etobicoke North
Finally, we get to a riding where the Liberals were actually able to keep. The Liberals have held this working class riding since 1988. Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan won the seat by over 3,000 votes. A much closer margin than her 2008 victory of nearly 6,000 votes. In terms of poll strength, Duncan nearly swept the riding in 2008, with the Tories and NDP only winning a few.

In 2011, the Tories made some significant inroads in the riding, winning most of the polls south of the Humber River West. North of the river is the poorer community of Rexdale, which makes up the majority of the riding. Rexdale was nearly swept by the Liberals, enabling them to hold the seat. The NDP, which has held the seat provincially in the past won just 5 polls, 3 of which were in the Rexdale Mall area in the south end of the riding.

And that is all for now. I will analyze the other ridings in future posts..

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