More than 14 months after the election is hardly the definition of timely, and it’ll be a few years before the next one, but I suddenly remembered that I meant to look at the poll-by-poll results for my electoral district, Pontiac, and see how much the vote in my particular sector — the Pontiac MRC (municipalité régionale de comté, roughly equivalent to a county) — differed from the electoral district as a whole.
Some background: As of 2015, the Pontiac federal electoral district was an urban-rural hybrid split between Gatineau suburbs (29.1 percent), near-rural areas that includes bedroom communities (most of Les Collines de l’Outaouais, 38.1 percent), and the deep rural areas of the Pontiac (13.5 percent) and La Vallée-de-la-Gatineau (19.3 percent). At some point before the next election I’d like to take a good look at how each sector voted: I expect that each will have voted quite differently. But in the meantime, here’s a quick and dirty look at how my sector voted.
With a population that is both 56.6 percent anglophone and 100 percent rural in outlook, the Pontiac MRC is an odd duck relative to the rest of the district, and its voting patterns tend to reflect that. The Bloc typically does astonishingly poorly here, so much so that the Pontiac MRC keeps it from winning the seat: in 2006 the Bloc candidate won the rest of the district by some 700 votes, but the seat went Conservative thanks to the Pontiac MRC. And it’s because of the Pontiac that the Conservatives are in any way competitive here — Lawrence Cannon was winning something like 55 percent of the Pontiac MRC vote when he was the candidate, and in places like Shawville he was winning more than two thirds of the vote. Enough to make the difference in 2006 and 2008, but not in 2011.
In 2015, these trends were muted somewhat thanks to the Liberal wave, but they persisted nonetheless: the Liberal candidate actually won the Pontiac MRC, but by a lesser margin than the entire Pontiac electoral district; the incumbent NDP MP and the Bloc candidate also did worse, and the Conservative candidate — a local boy — did more than twice as well here as he did overall.
|Candidate||Pontiac MRC||Entire District|
|Amos, William (Liberal)||44.9%||54.5%|
|Griffiths, Colin (Green)||1.2%||1.7%|
|Lang, Louis (Marxist-Leninist)||0.3%||0.2%|
|Lepage, Nicolas (Bloc Québécois)||2.2%||6.9%|
|Médieu, Pascal (Forces et Démocratie)||0.2%||0.2%|
|Ravignat, Mathieu (NDP)||13.9%||22.5%|
|Woodman, Benjamin (Conservative)||31.4%||13.9%|
Historically the Conservative tend to dominate in the anglophone, agricultural communities of Bristol, Clarendon, Litchfield and Shawville — and Woodman actually did win those polls, just not by as much: in the 42 to 48 percent range, with margins of three to eight percentage points.
The Liberals tend to do better further up the river, where the bilingual and francophone communities are found, and Amos did so as well: he took two-thirds of the vote in Fort-Coulonge and Mansfield-et-Pontefract, the traditional Liberal stronghold in this region. But Amos was no slouch in the Conservative areas either: winning nearly 40 percent of the vote in Bristol, Shawville and Clarendon is no small feat.
Support for the NDP’s Ravignat, the incumbent MP, was relatively weak and relatively evenly distributed: his high point was in sparsely populated Thorne (Ladysmith), where he got 20.3 percent of the vote. (Ravignat won 26 percent of the Pontiac MRC vote in 2011.) Other candidates’ support isn’t worth mentioning.
All of which is to say that it looks like the Trudeau wave of 2015 reigned in our voting eccentricities relative to the rest of the constituency — somewhat.