3 statistics about the 2008 election you’ll never see in the media

With the 2008 federal election behind us, many pundits (myself included) are being faced with reality that the election did not turn out as we projected.  Having under-estimated the projected level of support for the Conservatives and over-estimated the projected level of support for the NDP and Greens; and with the NDP only gaining about 1% in the popular vote and the Green vote utterly collapsing by more than 1/3 between the last polls and election day, it seems that many progressives have been made to feel sorry for themselves.

As such, the triumph of the Harper Conservatives over the ‘progressive’ forces in this country has been a common theme  explored ad nausium by the mainstream media.

This notion is both interesting and straightforward.  Indeed the only problem with this post-election theme is that it’s completely unsupported by the facts.

If anything, this election should be noted as being exemplary of exactly the opposite.

This election, if nothing else, was a stentorian vindication of the long-term trend witnessed in Canada since the 1974 general election AWAY from liberalism and conservatism and toward progressivism.

A while back, I pointed out the long-term trend in Canadian popular support away from the neo-liberal/neo-conservative, ultra-capitalist parties (of which, I took to include Liberals, the Conservatives, PCs, Alliance, Reform Party, Social Credit, Ralliement créditiste, Confederation of Regions, and other small third parties) and toward the more moderate and/or progressive capitalist parties (which I took to include the NDP, Bloc, Greens, Communist Party, CAP, CPC-ML and other small third parties).  I am pleased to say that not only has this trend continued, but that it has also continued in every region of the country without exception.

In 2008, in every region of Canada without exception — West, Ontario, Québec, Atlantic & North — the combined ultra-capitalist parties (Liberal and Conservative) decreased in popular support.  Meanwhile, in every region of Canada, the combined more moderate or progressive parties increased their popular level of support.

The public’s appetite for laissez faire capitalism and vicious cuts to social spending as instituted by the Conservatives of today and the Liberals of yesteryear is clearly declining.  The only question is, how much longer can these two warring factions of the capitalist class continue to operate as separate parties before they are forced to ‘unite the right’ once again amidst the rising tide of public opinion against their policies.

And that is something that the mainstream capitalist media or their conservative apologists just won’t let you contemplate.

5 Responses to “3 statistics about the 2008 election you’ll never see in the media”


  1. 1 RPJ 19 October, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    I agree that we are moving in that direction but I wonder why we are so far behind Europe in getting there. Is it because of our proximity to the uber-capitalist US? I’d be interested in hearing what you and others think accounts for our lack of progress (by comparison).

  2. 2 Ken Furber 20 October, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Paul, RPJ.
    One of the reasons we could be slow on the uptake compare to Europe is simply our age. Canada has a large group of Baby Boomers, who because of their age (and I’m one so be gentle with your replies) tend to be not so revolutionary of thought as they think they are. However, don’t be put off by this. I think there is a growing frustration among Canadians waiting to see a repair to the damage they endured to the social safety net thanks to the Mulroney Conservatives, followed by the reaction of the Liberals’ finance minister — Paul Martin. We also can’t expect, and are not getting much attention in this regard, from Harper and his particular brand of Conservatives. While this build-up of frustration isn’t particularly good for our personal constitutions, it should be good news for the above mentioned progressive/moderate parties. So take heart.

  3. 3 Michael 21 October, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Another piece of relatively good news is that the so-called “unite the right” campaign of the Reformers has been largely unsuccessful, in that the Mulroney coalition of 1984 and 1988 has not been re-established.

    Total Progressive Conservative plus Reform plus Alliance plus CPC vote:

    1984 50.03
    1988 45.11
    1993 34.73
    1997 38.19
    2000 37.68
    2004 29.6
    2006 36.27
    2008 37.64

    Harper’s “victory” this time involved less of the popular vote than the losing % of Reform/Alliance plus PC in 97 or 2000. So he is making very small inroads into the red tory/blue liberal vote.

    Of course, the differences between the Libs and Conservatives are (or have been during the last 15 years) much smaller than the media or the parties themselves would have us believe. However, the general public probably does believe that the Liberals are a centre/left of centre party, and this public has still not bought into the unite the right theme.

  4. 4 marcel 24 October, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Wishful thinking, that the neoconservative vote is slowly but surely collapsing.

    The people will believe whatever the TV tells them. In this world, reason means less than a convincing tone of voice.

  5. 5 Melanie 18 November, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    I couldn’t agree more that the baby boomers have been the bane of our existence in many ways, not the least of which is party progression in Canada. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 10 to 15 years as they retire. Will this result in more opportunities for younger, more progressive politicians and players to enter stage?

    Your demonstration of how the right ultra-cap parties are decreasing is heartening and presents an interesting opportunity for the right party to seize upon! As I am finding, good stats for Canada elections online isn’t are not the easiest to find. Your research here is refreshing, well-written, and generally really awesome (and it kicks my sorry grad student butt). You poli sci and phil guys always seem to have a much better handle than many of your other social science and humanities counterparts, and it makes me wonder if I should have taken it more seriously in my undergrad.


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