Leadership, Partisan Loyalty, and Issue Salience: The 2011 Provincial Election in Saskatchewan

David McGrane, Stephen White, Loleen Berdahl, Michael M. Atkinson


This article seeks to provide an understanding of the historic success of the Saskatchewan Party and the historic failure of the NDP in the 2011 Saskatchewan provincial election. Drawing on telephone survey data from the 2011 Saskatchewan Election Study, we argue that leadership, partisan loyalty, and issue salience best explain the Saskatchewan Party’s dominance over the NDP. On election day, the Saskatchewan Party benefitted from the carefully cultivated popularity of Brad Wall, the development of a loyal base of voters who believed in the party’s vision of a ‘New Saskatchewan’, and the confidence of the electorate with the party’s handling of key issues. The NDP’s loss of seats and the drop in its popular vote can be attributed to the unpopularity of the party’s leader, its overreliance on a relatively small base of party loyalists, and its inability to connect with voters on issues that were of most importance to them.


Saskatchewan, elections, Saskatchewan Party, NDP

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