PCs take majority in lowest Ontario voter turnout in over a decade

By Lynda Powless

Editor

Progressive Conservatives may have won a quick victory Thursday night with media calling for a Ford majority just 15 minutes after the polls closed it came with the lowest voter turnout in Ontario history.

The 2022 election saw Ontario record the lowest voter turnout in history with about 43.5 per cent of eligible voters casting a ballot

Preliminary Elections Ontario results show just over 10.7 million registered voters in the province. Of this just over 4.6 million votes were cast. That’s about 13.5 percentage points lower than the 2018 provincial election turnout. It was the first time voter turnout fell below 50 per cent since 2011.  At that time 48 per cent of Ontario residents over the age of 18 voted.

Analysts are attributing the low turnout to politicians failing to motive voters.

“I find that voters didn’t understand what they were voting for,” Vandana Kattar, a strategist in the Prime Minister’s Office said during CTV News’ Ontario election special on Thursday. “I think more so than negative politics, people don’t want to hear what the other guy isn’t going to do. They want to hear what you are going to do for you. And that goes back to not getting your message out and not sharing it”

Tim Abray, a communications consultant said people coming out of a pandemic people are incredibly busy and stressed. He said it would take a lot to draw their attention away from their own lives and politicians failed to do that.

He said if you are going to succeed the message has to be compatible and meaningful to them and he added the leaders did not do a good job of pulling voters out of their shells. Without a message that resonates with them he said, they won’t get motivated to vote for change instead they will stay with the status quo.

But what did play a role in the election was Ontario’s swing vote being played

He said this election showed here is a significant swing vote in Ontario that goes between the PC and NDP especially in places with large industry.  He said the PCs zeroed in on that swing vote in this campaign and made a strong pitch to workers.

Preliminary results showed Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives won with just over 1.9 million votes, leading to 83 seats in the legislature or just 17% of eligible voters elected the winning party.

The New Democratic Party, who formed Ontario’s Official Opposition Thursday night, held onto 23.7 per cent of the votes (31 seats) while the liberals gained a bit of ground with 23.6 per cent of the votes (eight seats).

The Green Party obtained about six per cent of votes.

 

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