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Green Party gaining electoral strength in Toronto’s suburban areas?

If these numbers are true, and if they hold during an election, rather remarkable for the Green Party:

In its two most recent surveys of party preference in the GTA, Harris/Decima has found that the Green party is thriving in the mainly suburban, 905 area code – 16 per cent support in polling carried out over the last week, 17 per cent in a survey carried out toward the end of December. That’s virtually the same support, if not better, than the Green party enjoys in the mainly downtown, 416 area code in the GTA. For the past month, Harris/Decima has been tracking the Greens with support ranging between 11 and 15 per cent among Toronto’s urban voters. There are many implications here for the other, more mainstream parties, especially the New Democrats, who are now routinely placing well behind the Greens – by as much as seven percentage points in December – within the 905 area code…If this trend continues, it will mean the Greens are actually displacing the NDP as the third party behind the Liberals and Conservatives, at least in Toronto’s suburbs.

That’s a stunning percentage for the Green Party, and it’s probably why the NDP wishes to do the Greens no favours on the national stage (ie. not supporting May being in any leaders debate during an election campaign). It’s understandable to try and protect your position, even if it means attacking a party that is basically an ally on the environment. It makes sense though that the Greens would do well in the suburbs – this is an area that has some remaining bastions of “Red Tory’ism” in it, and those voters, who might be socially liberal and who believe in protecting the environment, but are economically conservative, might prefer the Greens to the left-of-centre social democratic/socialist NDP.

All of the mainstream parties, not just the NDP, will of course point out that until the Greens show they can maintain their strength during an election campaign and win some seats, this is nothing more then “parked votes”. That’s a good point, but for the Greens to have such strength now shows that voters in suburbia are seriously considering them as an alternative.

9 comments to Green Party gaining electoral strength in Toronto’s suburban areas?

  • ALW

    "this is nothing more then “parked votes”. That’s a good point, but for the Greens to have such strength now shows that voters in suburbia are seriously considering them as an alternative."

    I don’t follow you here, Scott.  The definition of "parked votes" is essentially people’s opinion about how they’d vote when they aren’t ‘seriously considering’ their options.  That’s why they’re parked votes.

  • "C’mon, Stuart Parker is cool.  A bit of a maverick, but, he captured what the Greens should be for some. "

    Don’t get me wrong, I do feel for those who felt squeezed out but I’m pragmatic enough to realize it will take more than  the participation of dreamers and idealists to make progress.  I’m  more than willing to spend time chating with these people about ideals and the perfect solution but when it comes to election time we have to ween the electorate off corporate teat of over consumption slowly or they will balk.  The Deep Greens are great examples but often would not make any compromise to become main stream,  would not choose whether socialism or the environment was more important.  To most of us the second is the only choice, you can’t build utiopia on dead planet.

  • mushroom

    "Yes, some few ultra left Greens have left the party, some believed that sitting in coffee houses and acting superior was more important than being noticed and making a difference, each one of them is replaced by 10, 50,100 people who believe progress is the goal, not moral superiority."

    C’mon, Stuart Parker is cool.  A bit of a maverick, but, he captured what the Greens should be for some. 

  • Hi Scott,

    Thanks for highlighting this. Just a quick note to point out that the Green Party has reached a tipping point where we do hold on to our polled levels of support on election day. Witness the last Ontario provincial election.

    Blogging a dead horse: you know darn well that both Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada support a woman’s right to chose. If you can only criticize us by twisting the truth (my generous phrase for what you’re doing), then it suggests you can’t come up with any real disagreements with the Green plan. I’m sure that’s not your intension.

    Chris Tindal
    Candidate, Green Party of Canada
    Toronto Centre By-Election

  • The example of the recent provincial election says it all, in my riding a local unknown became the candidate several hours before the dead line rather than let a parachute fill the spot. (the party quite willingly stood aside to let the local run),  With no experience , no money, no organization a newbie recieved 9.4 % , 2.2 points over the NDP who was an experienced campaigner.

    Now the NDP does have the advantage in centralized organization, infrastucture, and money raising yet in recent years they can no longer expect union support, nor the "anti establishment" vote.  Despite these advantages they are losing ground and moving to 4th in more areas, Once the GREENS get the knack of turning sentiment into donations, many NDP will get bulldozed in those areas where they do not historically take seats.

    Are Greens going to take seats with 40%? probably no, will they find  ridings where a tight 4 way races will allow 25.1+% – 27% to win? soon, very soon.

    So I definately see this poll as good trending, that represents what I see on the street! 
    for the whole left/center/right arguement, since when does the health of people or the planet belong exclusively to any one part of the spectrum?   The NDP have claimed they were the ecological party but the environment is not a a topic of ideology rather rationality and despite their barbs about being Greens being a Rightist party, So %$#&& What?  Right or Left is irrelevant, having a plan that does not compromise in order to coddle labour unions and car compaines is.  The environment is not a socialist issue.  Yes, some few ultra left Greens have left the party, some believed that sitting in coffee houses and acting superior was more important than being noticed and making a difference, each one of them is replaced by 10, 50,100 people who believe progress is the goal, not moral superiority.

    Some of those 10, 50, 100 people are coming from the NDP so don’t get so high and mighty about people leaving our party.

  • The 905 belt is not (Except Hamilton, if that’s even included in the definition) is not an NDP stronghold by any stretch of the imagination, so such poll numbers don’t surprise me.

    I would counter your statement of the NDP attacking the Green’s and suggest that the NDP is actually ignoring the Green Party completely, at least nationally (i can’t speak for the 905 belt response, because I don’t live there).

    Now we could get into an arguement on whether such numbers would hold up once an election occurred (much like high NDP numbers between elections), I would suggest no, especially if it is a polarizing election…but take it with a grain of salt.

    Now if you wanted to argue about the tact of the NDP in not acknowledging the Green’s and allowing them to coast on the publics perceived notion of what they actually stand for, well I could talk about that for hours.

  • mushroom

    Blogging Horse,

    This is a continuation of Lizzie May following Jim Harris’ tack to the right for the Green Party, to the detest of far-left Greens like Stuart Parker.

    You should be happy with May’s move towards the centre as it left the NDP monopoly of the left.   However, Layton seems to run a urban-first policy to the detriment of gaining further support in rural  and suburban areas.

  • Talk to Obama and Hillary about polls after Tuesday.

    Everything changes in a campaign.  A good guess is that unlike the "Liberal spokesperson who runs the Green party", most suburban voters support renewable wind power and a woman’s right to choose.

  • ron

    Numbers like this show the value of Dion’s deal with May.
    Now if we can figure out a way to get some Greens into Parliament w/o hurting the Liberal vote.  McKenzie King defeated a Tory regime by running joint candidates with the Progressive Party (+-10) and letting a few (+-5) seats go …  like May in Central-Nova.

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