Friday, 24 October 2014

Watching for the geography of the voting results

I'll be looking at the geographic distribution of the vote on Monday to see if the winner carries the entire city or just portions of it. I don't know of anyone who talks of two Mississaugas, since so much of Mississauga is relatively new.

However, there is a rough divide between an older and wealthier south and a newer, poorer (and less white) north. Except for Meadowvale and Malton, much of the north has been built up in the last 20 years. Many voters are new Canadians. Few are born and raised in Mississauga. City services like community centres are relatively scarce in the north and spread widely apart. Even public transit on arteries like Dundas and Burnhamthorpe in the south is better than transit in the north, on streets like Britannia or Derry.

In my previous post, I noted the geographic distribution of the endorsements Steve Mahoney has lined up. His elite-level support in council, Queen's Park and Ottawa tend to come from west Mississauga, and especially south-west Mississauga. These are areas in, or near, where Steve Mahoney and his wife, have held office. Mahoney have emphasized his long connection to the city and his experience in different levels of politics.

Bonnie Crombie, on the other hand, represented a portion of northwest Mississauga as a MP, and currently represents the entire northeast corner of the city. Much of the northeast is non-residential, but Ward 5 includes Malton and some high- and medium- density areas near along Hurontario, north of Eglinton Avenue. These are diverse neighborhoods, both financially and ethnically. Crombie enjoys the endorsement of Amrit Mangat, MPP for a riding that includes some of Ward 5 (where her husband is running for election) and part of Ward 11 (where George Carlson is neutral). Even though Crombie has not held office for very long, and could not easily claim a strong base of support in these areas, I do not expect that those demographics will favor an older candidate like Mahoney, who stresses a record of experience that predates many of these residents.

Will Crombie's vote totals on Monday reflect what appears to be her strengths in the north- and east- part of the city? The few existing polls have not broken down support by geographic area. Its possible that the two candidates enjoy similar levels of support in every neighborhood, especially after Mayor McCallion endorsed Crombie.

However, if Crombie does well in the north of Mississauga, and Mahoney polls strongly in the southwest, the big battleground between Crombie and Mahoney could become in the southeast corner of Mississauga, including the densely populated area around Square One. I expect Crombie's Polish and Ukrainian background helps her in some of those areas, but perhaps not with younger voters around Square One.  Win or lose, a geographic split could foretell a looming political divide in the city.


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