A look at advance voter turnout

We all heard the horror stories that happened to some during the advance poll weekend. I personally had to wait a good hour here in Vancouver to cast my ballot. With a 71% increase over the advance poll turnout in 2011, advance polls were a great success.

Election Canada has published the preliminary number of voters in each riding. So I decided to take a look and see if I could find any trend or pattern. For instance, given that the Liberals are on the rise - and this rise really started right before the long weekend - I was wondering if some ridings saw a higher turnout than others (for instance ridings won by the Conservatives or Liberals in 2011).

I thus estimated an advance voter turnout, similarly to what Global did with this map. And I then tried to find relationship with multiple variables. Specifically, I looked at whether advance turnout was higher in ridings won by a specific party in 2011. Or in ridings currently projected Liberals, NDP or Tories. The last part was to see if maybe the Liberals were good at getting the vote out in ridings they can expect to gain. I also looked at the turnout in 2011.

The results? The only variable that is significant is the turnout in 2011. Specifically, the higher the turnout was, the higher the advance turnout this year. Which is kind of expected. The effect is in the magnitude of 30%. In other words, a riding that had a turnout of 50% in 2011, compared to one with a turnout of 40%, will have an advance turnout higher by 3 percentage points (so 14% vs 11% for instance). This effect is slightly stronger in Quebec. Here is the advance turnout and general turnout in 2011 (note: I did an average of the ridings, so my numbers can be slightly off because I'm giving the same weight to each one when I shouldn't. But this is honestly a lot easier and doesn't change the results much. For instance, notice I get a turnout of 60.5% in 2011 when it actually was 61.1%; Also, I'm using the transposed results on the new map).


Advance voter turnout
Turnout 2011
Atlantic
16.7%
63.7%
Quebec
15.4%
62%
Ontario
14.6%
60.8%
Prairies
13%
60.4%
Alberta
14.7%
55.9%
BC
15.9%
60%
Canada
14.9%
60.6%

Otherwise, nothing seems to have an effect. If we compare the advance turnout in ridings held by the Conservatives or the Liberals, we see almost no difference at all. Look at the table below:


Advance turnout
CPC held riding
14.9%
LPC held riding
14.9%
NDP held riding
14.8%
Bloc held riding
14.8%

The consistency is actually remarkable. To the point that I had to double check my data twice to make sure I didn't make a mistake.

I tried to see if there could be effect by looking at one province only. In Ontario, I find that the advance turnout was slightly higher among CPC ridings than among Liberal ones (15% versus 14%) or NDP ridings (13.2%).

In Quebec, Liberal ridings also have a slightly lower advance turnout compared to Tories or NDP and similar to Bloc held ridings.

So, can we say anything? Should we expect Liberal ridings to have had a higher advance turnout if there is a really a "Trudeau wave"? Or should we actually expect CPC held ridings to see the biggest increase as people there want to change MP? Your guess is as good as mine. Just know this: in 2011, I also couldn't find any real effect between the turnout and who won the riding. There might be other effects in play but if that's case, it's probably subtle.

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