Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Strongholds and Battlegrounds: Measuring Party Support Stability in Canada

  • Marc André Bodet (a1)

Abstract. Despite the nationalization of politics in established democracies, the study of local dynamics remains fundamental to our understanding of electoral politics, especially in plurality contests. In plurality systems, local competition indeed has important consequences for the distribution of seats in parliaments and cabinets. While a plethora of measures exists to assess electoral competitiveness, none adequately captures the dynamic nature of party support at the local level. Making use of the Canadian case as an illustration, we propose a new classification of electoral districts that aims at filling this gap. Districts are divided into two categories, strongholds and battlegrounds, depending on the successive performances of parties. We argue that such a classification should be utilized in addition to static measures of competitiveness, notably in the study of political participation.

Résumé. Malgré la nationalisation de la politique au sein des démocraties établies, l'étude des dynamiques locales demeure fondamentale pour bien comprendre la politique électorale, particulièrement dans les systèmes pluralitaires où la compétition locale a des conséquences importantes sur la distribution des sièges au parlement et au cabinet. Bien qu'il existe une panoplie de mesures de compétition électorale, aucune ne capture adéquatement la nature dynamique de l'appui aux partis à l'échelle locale. À l'aide du cas canadien, nous proposons une nouvelle classification des districts électoraux qui corrige cette lacune. Les districts sont divisés en deux catégories – bastions et champs de bataille – en fonction des performances successives des partis en présence. Nous suggérons que cette classification soit utilisée en plus d'autres mesures statiques, notamment dans l'étude de la participation électorale.

Corresponding author
Marc André Bodet, Département de science politique, Université Laval, Pavillon Charles-De-Koninck, Québec QC, G1V 0A6,
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Michael Alvarez and Jonathan Nagler . 2000. “A New Approach for Modelling Strategic Voting in Multiparty Elections.” British Journal of Political Science 30: 5775.

Neil Berch . 1993. “Another Look at Closeness and Turnout: The Case of the 1979 and 1980 Canadian National Elections.” Political Research Quarterly 46: 421–32.

André Blais . 2006. “What Affects Voter Turnout?Annual Review of Political Science 9: 111–25.

André Blais and Agnieszka Dobrzynska . 1998. “Turnout in Electoral Democracies.” European Journal of Political Research 33: 329–61.

André Blais and Marc André Bodet . 2006. “How Do Voters Form Expectations About the Chances of Winning the Election?Social Science Quarterly 87 (3): 477–93.

André Blais and Ignacio Lago . 2009. “A General Measure of District Competitiveness.” Electoral Studies 28 (1): 94100.

André Blais , Elisabeth Gidengil , Agnieszka Dobrzynska , Neil Nevitte and Richard Nadeau . 2003. “Does the Local Candidate Matter? Candidate Effects in the Canadian Election of 2000.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 36 (3): 657–64.

Kenneth R. Carty , Munroe Eagles and Anthony Sayers . 2003. “Candidates and Local Campaigns: Are There Just Four Canadian Types.” Party Politics 9 (5): 619–36.

Gary W. Cox 1988. “Closeness and Turnout: A Methodological Note.” Journal of Politics 50 (3): 768–75.

David Docherty and Stephen White . 2004. “Parliamentary Democracy in Canada.” Parliamentary Affairs 57: 613–19.

Patrick Dunleavy and Françoise Boucek . 2003. “Constructing the Number of PartiesParty Politics 9: 291315.

James W. Endersby , Steven E. Galatas and Chapman B. Rackaway . 2002. “Closeness Counts in Canada: Voter Participation in the 1993 and 1997 Federal Elections.” Journal of Politics 64 (2): 610–31.

Mark Franklin . 2004. Voter Turnout and the Dynamics of Electoral Competition in Established Democracies since 1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Benny Geys . 2006. “Explaining Voter Turnout: A Review of Aggregate-Level Research.” Electoral Studies 25: 637–63.

Grigoril V. Golosov 2010. “The Effective Number of Parties.” Party Politics 16 (2): 171–92.

Bernard Grofman and Peter Selb . 2009. “A Fully General Index of Political Competition.” Electoral Studies 28 (2): 291–96.

Richard Johnston . 1992. “Party Identification Measures in the Anglo-American Democracies: A National Survey Experiment.” The American Journal of Political Science 36 (2): 542–59.

Richard Johnston , John Scott Matthews and Amanda Bittner . 2007. “Turnout and the Party System in Canada: 1988–2004.” Electoral Studies 26: 735–45.

Michael Krashinsky and William J. Milne . 1985. “Additional Evidence on the Effect of Incumbency in Canadian Elections.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 18 (1): 155–65.

Lawrence Leduc , Harold C. Clarke , Jane Jenson and Jon Pammett . 1984. “Partisan Instability in Canada: Evidence from a New Panel Study.” The American Political Science Review 78: 470–84.

John G. Matsusaka and Filip Palda . 1993. “The Downsian Voter Meets the Ecological Fallacy.” Public Choice 77: 855–78.

John G. Matsusaka and Filip Palda . 1999. “Voter Turnout: How Much Can We Explain?Public Choice 98 (3): 431–46.

Peter Selb . 2009. “A Deeper Look at the Proportionality–Turnout Nexus.” Comparative Political Studies 42 (4): 527–46.

Jonathan Silberman and Garey Durden . 1975. “The Rational Behavior Theory of Voter Participation: The Evidence from Congressional Elections.” Public Choice 23: 101–08.

Norman Ward . 1947. “Parliamentary Representation in Canada.” The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science 13 (3): 447–64.

Lisa Young and Keith Archer . 2002. Regionalism and Party Politics in Canada. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

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
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 58 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 163 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.