Complaints About ‘Vote-Splitting’ Falsely Implies Parties Are Entitled To Voters


Votes have to be earned. It’s easy to get locked into the ‘vote-splitting’ narrative during federal elections. Most analysts, pundits, and commentators — myself included — find it easy to talk about vote splitting because it’s such a simple narrative when looking at polls. One party goes up, another party goes down, margins rise, margins fall. And when parties on a similar side of the spectrum move in the polls, ‘vote-splitting’ is the quickest way to describe the potential impact. However, when we think more deeply about it, ‘vote-splitting’ is a tired and anti-democratic narrative. In the context of the Liberals telling people not to vote NDP, or the Conservatives telling people not to vote PPC, the underlying assumption is that Liberals are entitled to ‘left-wing’ voters, and Conservatives are entitled to ‘right-wing’ voters. But in a democracy, in a supposedly free country, political parties aren’t supposed to be entitled to anything. Votes are supposed to be earned, not assumed or given. If a party loses votes to another party, then that’s because voters are freely choosing to place their votes elsewhere.

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