Voter Turnout in Manitoba: An Ecological Analysis

Jared J. Wesley, Lydia Summerlee

Abstract


This article treats Manitoba as a case study in the community-level factors influencing the rate of voter turnout. Combining data from Elections Manitoba and the Manitoba Bureau of Statistics, it consists of an ecological analysis of electoral participation among the province’s fifty-seven constituencies from 1999 to 2007. The study reveals that, while conventional variables like age and affluence play a role, the competitiveness of the constituency is by far the most important factor in determining a district’s rate of voter turnout. This finding required analysts to shift their focus to “competitiveness” as the dependent variable, which, in turn, revealed that the best predictor of a district’s competitiveness was how close the race was in the previous election. The centrality of competitiveness to voter turnout in Manitoba raises important challenges for election officials and reform advocates, as it adds a dynamic, contextual variable that is difficult to manipulate.

Keywords


voter turnout; competitiveness; ecological analysis; Manitoba

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125