Canadians were swept away by the “red wave” on federal election night last October – and we know that the Yukon had the second-highest voter turnout of any other riding in the country.
But how many Yukoners voted red as part of a strategy to oust the Conservative government?
DataPath Systems, an independent Yukon-based market research company, polled 359 Yukoners in early December with the intent of better understanding the level of strategic voting in the territory.
A large majority of Yukoners voted for the party which they believed could do the best for Canada or the Yukon.
But 14 per cent voted specifically against another party.
“Past polls did not give the option of voting against a party as a primary reason, but clearly that option resonated with nearly three in every 20 votes this election,” states the DataPath report, released this week.
The number of people voting for a candidate based on what they could do for Canada was similar to that of previous studies – in eight other DataPath polls, this percentage has stayed around the 55 per cent mark.
Another measurement of strategic voting was timing.
Thirty-five per cent of those polled knew who they would vote for as soon as the election was called.
Another third made their final decision once they knew all of the candidates and after a dozen or so scheduled candidate debates.
But eight per cent waited until they were positive that their vote for one candidate could be used to take down one of the other candidates.
To see how these results impacted the election itself, DataPath asked the participants who they preferred for prime minister, followed by which party they actually voted for. One quarter of those polled were inconsistent with prime minister preference versus who they voted for.
Nearly half of those who switched their vote went Liberal with their votes, while 29 per cent switched to NDP.
In other words, say, if there had not been any strategic voting, the Liberal Party may have lost up to 15 per cent of their votes, DataPath concludes.
This would have made a larger difference for the Greens, NDP or the Conservative Party during the 2015 election – but that 15 per cent would have only reduced Yukon MP Larry Bagnell’s lead to 46 per cent of the total vote count.
“The impact of that strategy would have have no impact on the final outcome of the election,” the Datapath study concludes.
Bagnell earned 10,715 votes; Conservative Ryan Leef 4,800; New Democrat Melissa Atkinson 3,890; and the Greens’ Frank de Jong 577.
Out of the 359 citizens polled, 265 are Whitehorse residents and 94 live in various communities.
The study was non-commissioned.