Poor Conservatives

From the notably left-leaning Toronto Star (Canada’s only top-25 newspaper to endorse the NDP in the last election, when all other such papers endorsed the Conservatives), a fascinating column about why low-income voters might have chosen Conservative candidates in the election last week. In summary, Carol Goar hypothesizes that many low-income voters who voted Conservative

  • are disproportionately victimized by crime, and thus receptive to tough-on-crime policies;
  • would rather work than be on the dole, and so appreciated the language of job creation;
  • resent government employees who they feel are overcompensated for the work they do, simply because of who employs them, and therefore are in favour of smaller government;
  • dislike anti-poverty activists who they feel neither relate to, nor speak for, them and their interests;
  • don’t trust politicians in general, and so ignored campaign promises that might benefit them on the grounds that their actually being implemented is slim to none.

I would love to see if the proportion of the Conservative vote that is low-income actually rose in the last election, or if Harper simply won over a big chunk of the middle class to increase the Tory share of the vote.

It’s also refreshing to read an account of the low-income right wing that doesn’t try to pit such people’s religion and morality against their economic interests. It’s a refreshing change from American commentary.


2 comments on “Poor Conservatives

  1. Jon Coutts says:

    That does seem incredibly true, and insightful for all its down-to-earth practicality.

  2. Kampen says:

    I had suspected the job creation language was a significant factor but I had not thought of the “tough on crime” as well. I can see that being the case though, especially in Winnipeg…

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