Low voter turnout helps deliver Conservative majority
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, May 2, 2011 10:55PM PDT
The Tory majority appears to have been won on the back of a low voter turnout.
An incomplete Elections Canada report early Tuesday said that 60 per cent of eligible Canadians had voted.
The figure was based on almost 70,000 of 71,500 polls reporting across the country.
The 2011 turnout exceeded 2008's dismal electoral participation, but not by much. Canadians registered a record low turnout of 59 per cent in the federal campaign three years ago.
That appeared to fall short of the high expectations that the 2011 election would be different because of a stronger than expected turnout at advance polls over the Easter weekend.
The Conservatives won just shy of 40 per cent, with the NDP at 31 per cent, the Liberals at 19 per cent and the Bloc Quebecois at six per cent.
Christian Rouillard, a political scientist at the University of Ottawa, says a low turnout usually favours the government, while a high turnout usually favours the opposition.
Fewer than four in 10 young people voted in the last election, and Rouillard said younger voters tend to favour parties other than the Conservatives.
There were renewed efforts to boost the youth vote during the election campaign, including promotions in social media and so-called "vote mobs" at some universities.