03 October 2007

The advance polls

The top 15 districts in the advance poll, shown as a percentage of eligible voters who turned out in each district.


District Percent advance (07) Percent advance
Signal Hill – Quidi Vidi 4.9% 2.5%
Carbonear – Harbour Grace 4.0% 7.2%
Port de Grave 3.3% 4.7%
Exploits 3.3% 2.7%
Lake Melville 3.2% 2.7%
Humber Valley 3.2% 4.1%
St. John’s East 3.2% 2.5%
Torngat Mountains 2.9% 2.6%
St. John’s West 2.9% 3.6%
St. John’s South 2.8% 2.3%
Gander 2.7% 3.6%
Topsail 2.7% 2.9%
Cartwright – L’Anse au Clair 2.7% 2.1%
Labrador West 2.7% 2.8%
Mount Pearl North 2.6% 2.9%

What does it mean?

Well, your guess is as good as any.

One thing seems obvious, though and that is that the special ballot process likely hasn't replaced the advance poll turn-out.

Special ballots existed in 2003 and all parties used them aggressively. The advance poll turn out in this election was down 31% from the last time.

That actually reverses dramatically the trend from the previous two elections, in 1999 and 2003, where the advance poll turn out climbed each time.



Brian said...

The Torngat Mountains figures are high when you factor in only two communities had advance pole booths. There was none in Nain, the largest community.
My source for this is the Local media.

WJM said...


For as long as there have been advance polls on the coast, I think Nain has always, or almost always, been included. It is the largest community in the district, as you point out.

This time, according to Elections NL's own release, the advance polls were in Makkovik, Natuashish, and Postville.

In 2003 they were in Hopedale, Makkovik, and Nain.

Federally now they are required to be held in all isolated communities in a riding, in addition to central locations in areas where people can drive to such a location (such as the HVGB advance polls which are open to residents of the entire Lake Melville area, etc.)

Edward G. Hollett said...

It is very odd, gentlemen and only the electoral office could explain the oddity.

Keep an eye on the votes in Torngat on election night and see where the advance poll support went.

Jason Hickman said...

That actually reverses dramatically the trend from the previous two elections, in 1999 and 2003, where the advance poll turn out climbed each time.

Here's my overdue and half-baked theory on that:

The '99 election camapign, while a decisive victory for Tobin (It burns me when I type that! It burns!), was more competitive, with more Oppo PC seats, than Napolean's first win in '96.

In '03, of course, it was the big old change-of-government election.

Usually, but not always, voter turnout - both at the advance polls, and even moreso on e-day - goes up when you've got a change of government in the offing. People are ticked off, and they want to make sure they see the back of whomever's in charge.

You see the same thing federally: compare turnout in '04, which was the latest in a decline going back several elections, to '06, when it spiked upwards.

(Of course, there are other factors, such as very competitive elections, or elections on "big issues", which alter turnout on a national/provincial basis.)

If the advance poll pattern holds on e-day, it would confirm that we're not going to see any radical changes in most seats, i.e., a comfy PC win, with maybe some exceptions here & there in individual districts.