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Did They Mind the Gap? Voter/Party Ideological Proximity between the BQ, the NDP and Quebec Voters, 2006–2011

  • Jean-Philippe Gauvin (a1), Chris Chhim (a2) and Mike Medeiros (a2)

The 2011 Canadian federal election results changed the face of federal politics in Quebec. In a sudden and spectacular reversal of electoral fortunes, BQ support crumbled while that of the NDP surged. While most commentators focused exclusively on the 2011 election itself to explain what had happened, we offer an interpretation that takes a longitudinal approach. Using data from the Canadian Election Study and political party manifestos from 2006 to 2011, we propose a three-dimensional proximity model of voter/party congruence to explore the evolution of the ideological stances of Quebec voters and parties. Empirical results suggest these ideological distances between the NDP and Quebec voters decreased over time, whereas the BQ has distanced itself from voters. Furthermore, ideological distances between party and voters are a significant predictor of vote.


Les résultats de l’élection fédérale canadienne de 2011 ont transformé le visage de la politique fédérale au Québec. Dans un revirement subit et spectaculaire de tendances, le soutien au Bloc Québécois s’est effrité au plus grand avantage du Nouveau Parti démocratique. Alors que la plupart des commentateurs ont concentré exclusivement leur attention sur l’élection de 2011 proprement dite pour expliquer ce qui s’était passé, nous fournissons une interprétation qui adopte une approche longitudinale. En nous appuyant sur les données de l’Étude électorale canadienne et les manifestes des partis politiques de 2006 à 2011, nous proposons un modèle de proximité tridimensionnel de congruence entre l’électeur et le parti pour analyser l’évolution des positions idéologiques des électeurs et des formations politiques du Québec. Les résultats empiriques suggèrent que l’éloignement idéologique entre le NPD et les électeurs québécois s’est estompé avec le temps, tandis que le BQ se distanciait de son électorat. De surcroît, les distances idéologiques entre les partis et les électeurs sont un facteur prévisionnel significatif du vote.

Corresponding author
Département de science politique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128 succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Email:
Department of Political Science, McGill University, Leacock Building, 855 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, QC H3A 2T7, Email:
Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, McGill University, 855 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montréal, QC H3A 2T7, Email:
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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