Monday, April 26, 2010

More on Graves and Xenophobic Tories

I reviewed data from the 2008 Canada Election Survey to substantiate Frank Graves' assertion that the Conservative Party of Canada attracts xenophobes and homophobes. Or to be more accurate, that xenophobes and homophobes are attracted to the CPC.

Using two variables - the first measuring respondent attitudes on various political parties and the second their attitudes toward racial minorities - I constructed the following tables for the CPC, LPC, NDP and Bloc as well as a final table showing general attitudes toward political parties. I also variables involving self-identification with political parties and attitudes toward gays and lesbians.*

According to data, 3% of the respondents that indicated they liked the Conservative Party of Canada also stated a dislike of racial minorities. This is a clear sign, a proverbial smoking gun, that the CPC harbours devout racists and xenophobes within their ranks!

But wait, there's more. Using the same variables and scale, 5% of those respondents who said they liked the Liberal Party also said they disliked racial minorities. Ditto for the NDP (see tables 1A to 1E below). The differences between the three main political parties is negligible and certainly within the statistical error rate for the survey. (The statistical correlation between these variables is 0.08).

Where there is a significant difference is among respondents who gave a preference for the Bloc Quebecois: 10% of respondents who like the party also disliked racial minorities.

The results are similar when the question is changed from asking respondents to rate political parties to which party they identify with.. In table 2.0 below, 12% of respondents who self-identified as Conservatives dislike minorities while 9% of who said they were Liberals dislike minorities. Respondents who self-identified as NDP had the lowest score at 6% while 15% of those identifying as Bloc stated they disliked minorities.

The results are more varied when the question is changed from how do you feel about racial minorities to gays and lesbians. As Table 3 shows, approximately 25% of those respondents identifying as Conservatives also stated a dislike of gays and lesbians while 14% of respondents self-identifying as Liberals said the same thing. The scores for the NDP and Bloc were 14% and 10.9% respectively. Clearly all parties have significant numbers of supporters that dislike gays and lesbians; the Tories simply have more of them. (The statistical correlation between party self-identification and attitudes towards gays and lesbians is 0.001).

Are the results surprising?

No, because, generally speaking, the institutions and conventions of federal politics force all political parties to excise or silence their wing nuts and wackos as they compete for votes at the national level. The vast majority of Canadian voters cluster around the center of the political spectrum and have moderate attitude toward most issues. This forces political parties to jettison extreme views in order to brighten their appeal. This is why a former Reform Party die hard like Stephen Harper can woo Quebec with money and distinct society motions and run huge deficit after he earlier vehemently claimed he would never do such things.

It's also not surprising that a higher percentage of respondents that like the Bloc Quebecois disliked racial minorities. The Bloc is not a national political party and only has to tailor it's message and platform to suit the separatist vote in Quebec and separatist voters in Quebec have historically had a low opinion of immigrants and refugees. Jacques Parizeau's condemnation of immigrants and minorities as being the proximate cause of the failure of the 1995 referendum is a testament to separatist thinking on racial minorities.

So what can be said about Graves' Xenophobic & Homophobic Tories? Pretty much the exact same thing as Xenophobic & Homophobic  Liberals and Dippers. All parties have their wingnuts and wackos.What matters is how parties neutralize the influence of such extreme views.

Source 2008 Canada Election Survey.
The tables are based on attitude assessments using a range of 0-100. I have excluded responses that fell along the median of 50 as neutral positions. Therefore, 0-49 are considered a response of "dislike" and 51-100 are considered "like".

Tables 1A-5A

Racial Minorities

Dislike Like
CPC   Dislike 3% 27% 30%
Like 4% 37% 41%

7% 64% 71%

Racial Minorities

Dislike Like
LPC Dislike 18% 5% 22%
Like 5% 73% 78%

22% 78% 100%

Racial Minorities

Dislike Like
NDP Dislike 11% 43% 54%
Like 3% 43% 46%

14% 86% 100%

Racial Minorities

Dislike Like
Bloc Dislike 13% 42% 55%
Like 10% 35% 45%

23% 77% 100%

Racial Minorities

Dislike Like
All Dislike 7% 21% 27%
Like 5% 68% 73%

11% 89% 100%

Table 2.0

In federal politics, do you think of yourself as Liberal, Conservative, ect vs. How do you feel about racial minorities?

Strongly Dislike Dislike Neutral Like Strongly Like
Other 0% 8% 8% 15% 69%
LPC 5% 4% 9% 27% 55%
CPC 7% 5% 13% 33% 42%
NDP 4% 2% 11% 24% 60%
Bloc 7% 8% 15% 36% 35%
Green 3% 2% 3% 26% 65%
Source: 2008 Canada Election Survey (

Table 3.0 Party self-identification and attitudes towards gays and lesbians.

Strongly Dislike       Dislike     Neutral        Like Strongly Like
























Source: 2008 Canada Election Survey (

No comments: