Thursday, July 21, 2011

2011 federal election poll maps: Toronto (part 2)

Click to enlarge
Continuing from Part 1, in my analysis of the city of Toronto's poll map from the 2011 federal election.

Once again, thanks to Shilly from the US Elections Atlas Forum who made this map, and allowed me to use it here on my blog.

Parkdale--High Park
Much like neighbouring Davenport, Parkdale--High Park is a new riding for the NDP, which won it for the second time in history in 2011. Former MP and NDP President Peggy Nash defeated the (formerly?) popular Liberal incumbent Gerrard Kennedy in a rematch from 2008. Nash had first won the riding in 2006, but Kennedy, fresh off of a 4th place finish in that year's Liberal leadership race swooped in from provincial politics to claim the seat back for the Liberal Party. He had previously represented the riding in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. It was one of the few NDP seat losses in 2008. Losing by over 3000 votes in 2008, she won it back in 2011 over 7000 votes with a swing of 10.7%.

Like the riding name suggests, Parkdale--High Park generally consists of two parts. Parkdale in the east, and High Park in the north. Parkdale, a working class neighbourhood, is more NDP friendly and High Park more Liberal friendly. In 2008, the Liberals were able to win by nearly sweeping High Park They also swept the neighbouring Swansea neighbourhood to its south, some of The Junction, to the north of High Park and Roncesvalles Village to the west of Parkdale. They also won a few polls in Parkdale, although Kennedy did not win the neighbourhood. In 2011, Nash won every singly poll Parkdale, racking up high percentages in Parkdale Village specifically. She also won all but two polls in neighbouring Roncesvalles Village. She was also able to win the eastern half of High Park, and won almost every poll in The Junction. Swansea was more of a mix between the Liberals and NDP, as was Bloor West Village, on the west side of High Park.

Pickering--Scarborough East
Pickering--Scarborough East is in the far eastern end of Toronto, and is only partly in the city. The eastern half of the riding is in Pickering. This seat was an unexpected pickup for the Tories who had lost the riding by 8,000 votes in 2008. The Conservative candidate, Corneliu Chisu won the seat in 2011 in a close race, winning by 1,200 votes, benefiting from a 9.9% swing. He defeated the incumbent, Dan McTeague who had been in office since 1993.

The riding showed its true polarized colours in 2011, with the Scarborough half voting Liberal and Pickering voting Conservative. This is especially interesting considering McTeague is from Pickering, and has only represented part of Scarborough since the last redistribution in 2004. McTeague's victory in 2008 was quite overwhelming, winning nearly every poll in both parts of the riding. The Tories only won a few polls, in clusters in both parts. In 2011, most of the riding turned blue, with Chisu winning almost every poll in Pickering. He won many polls in Scarborough too, especially south of Ellesmere Rd and the 401, where he won almost every poll in Rouge Hill and won most of the polls in Port Union. North of this area however, voted Liberal, with the NDP winning three polls of their own.

Scarborough--Agincourt is one of the "safer" Liberal ridings in the city. The Liberals, who used to routinely get over 60% of the vote here, could only muster 45% of the vote. MP Jim Karygiannis defeated his Conservative opponent by 4,500 votes. Nearly 3 quarters of the riding is visibly minority, with 2 fifths of the population being Chinese. With the Tories making inroads with the immigrant communities, this riding could be in play in future.

In 2008, the Liberals won all but a small handful of polls  here. In 2011, they won a strong majority of the polls again- but the Tories won a larger handful. The Liberals are a bit stronger in the north part of the riding- north of Finch, where they only lost three polls. Perhaps the strongest Conservative area was a number of apartment buildings in the Agincourt Mall area which they won. I'm not sure why though. The best the NDP could do was tie one poll, in the same area.

Scarborough Centre
One of the best three way races in the city was found in Scarborough Centre. Conservative candidate Roxanne James won the seat with just 35.5% of the vote. Liberal MP John Cannis won 32% of the vote, and the NDP was in a close third at 29.9%. The 2008 race here was much more boring however. The Liberals won nearly every poll with 48.7% of the vote.

Compared to the 2008 map, the 2011 map of the riding is very blue- but very light blue. While only getting slightly over a third of the vote, Ms. James was able to win a majority of polls. The riding really has no neighbourhoods that liked one particular candidate. The Conservatives had their best showing in Bendale which was their best area in 2008, and also had a strong showing in Wexford. The Liberal vote was also scattered across the riding, but their best area was perhaps Wexford as well. The NDP did the best in the southeast part of the riding, along Eglinton and in Wexford Heights.

Scarborough--Guildwood could also be characterized as a three way race as well. Liberal MP John McKay managed to win the riding by just 700 votes with 36.1% of the vote. The Conservatives received 34.5% of the vote and the NDP had 26.6% of the vote. McKay had won the seat easily in 2008 with 50.2% of the vote, and 7,000 votes more than his Conservative opponent. In 2008, McKay won almost every poll in the riding. The Tories were relegated to a few scattered polls and cluster in the east end of the riding at East Point.

In 2011, the Tories won most of the polls, despite losing the race. This is because the Liberal vote was more concentrated in places like Woburn, which has a high Muslim and Hindu population. The Conservative vote was more evenly spread across the riding. They only received majorities in 4 poll, three of which were in the Morningside area.The NDP won a scattering of polls, with their best showing in the Scarborough Village neighbourhood.

Scarborough--Rouge River
Scarborough--Rouge River was another surprise seat on election day. NDP candidate Rathika Sitsabaiesan won 40.5% of the vote and won 5000 votes more than her closest rival. In 2008, the NDP was a distant third place in a safe Liberal seat. The Liberal incumbent, Derek Lee did not run for re-election, leaving this seat up for grams. This riding has a large Tamil population, and has the largest Hindu population in all of Canada. The NDP ran a young Tamil candidate in Sitsabaiesan, and it proved to be a great choice for the party.

In 2008, the Liberals won every single poll in this riding. In 2011, the party finished third, and only won a handful of polls. The 2011 election showed a division in the riding, with the NDP winning in the east, and the Conservatives in the west, with the division at Markham Rd. The neighbourhoods of Malvern and the new Morningside Heights have a large south Asian population. It is therefore no surprise that the NDP was able to win these two neighbourhoods. The Tories just won two polls east of Markham Rd, and the Liberals won just five. West of Markham Rd., the NDP still won many polls, but the Conservatives clearly won. This part of the riding is less South Asian and more East Asian, a constituency that is less NDP-friendly.

Scarborough Southwest
Another three way race in Scarborough was in its southwestern riding. This time the split benefited the NDP candidate in Dan Harris. Harris increased the NDP vote in the riding by 16.3%, and defeated his closest rival by 1,300 votes. The Liberal MP, Michelle Simson finished third with 29% of the vote and the Conservatives finished 2nd with 32% of the vote.

The NDP win in the riding was also a surprise, but the party has held it before; but not since the early 1970s. It has voted NDP provincially as recently as 1990. However, if you look at the 2008 map, an NDP victory here would seem quite far fetched. The NDP won just three polls in that election. The Liberals won most of the polls across the riding, and the Tories won a few scattered polls here and there, and were able to win the neighbourhood of Cliffcrest near the Scarborough Bluffs.

Flash forward to 2011, and the Liberals are the ones with only a scattering of polls. Most polls in the riding were won with percentages in the 30s for all three parties. The NDP's strongest areas were Scarborough Junction and Oakridge where they won most of the polls, with a few even over 50%. The Conservatives again did their best in Cliffcrest where they won all but one poll which they lost to the Liberals. It appears as though only the NDP was able to get over 50% of the vote in any polls. The rest of the riding had a fairly even mix of NDP, Conservative and Liberal polls.

St. Paul's
Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett won her riding of St. Paul's by less than 5,000 votes in 2011. This was much closer than her 12,500 vote victory in 2008. St. Paul's is another one of those polarized ridings in central Toronto. While it is a fairly safe Liberal seat, one cannot ignore that big blue blob in the middle of the riding. That blob- which is the very wealthy Forest Hill neighbourhood- doubled in size in 2011. By that I mean, the the amount of polls that voted Conservative. In 2008, the Tories just won in Forest Hill, but in 2011, they had expanded their poll wins by claiming the nearby Cedarvale and South Hill neighbourhoods.

In 2008, the Liberals won the rest of the riding pretty easily, with their best showings in Davisville, Casa Loma and Bracondale Hill. In 2011, the Tories and the NDP began to eat away at these polls. Not only did the Tories expand their Forest Hill blob, they gained polls in the east end of the riding, like in Davisville. Meanwhile, the NDP, which didn't win any polls in the riding in 2008, won a large handful of them in 2011. The NDP vote seems to have spilled across the borders of nearby Davenport and Trinity--Spadina. It's in these border regions that the NDP won most of its polls in St. Paul's.

Stay tuned for part 3!

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