Ethnic politics is a science in America, ongoing in Canada

Opinion: Canadian pollsters were reluctant to explore how ethnicity affects politics.But the conversation here is becoming more open

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Polls in the United States constantly look at the political preferences of voters based on ethnicity, in addition to gender, age, religion, and other demographics.

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Race-based politics have long been established in multiethnic cities such as Chicago, New York, and Miami. American experts have also analyzed how religion and ethnicity are linked. Especially since his 1960s when his 80% of Catholics of European descent voted for John F. Kennedy.

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With Hispanics, Blacks, and Asians now making up more than 80 million Americans, it’s not just politicians who find it important to keep up with scientific polls.

Polls generally show that two-thirds of Hispanic Americans vote Democrat and one-third lean Republican. Only 1 in 10 black voters is a Republican, and only 26% of Asian Americans. About a third of people of European descent vote Democrat, and just over half vote Republican.

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Canadians are more shy about how ethnicity ties into politics. We don’t know much about research examining how minority groups tend to think about political issues.

When I asked Canadian politicians if their parties conducted closed-door polls on ethnicity, they all said yes, of course. But none of the parties gave me the internal data.

Political scientist Cinder Purewal of Kwantren Institute of Technology has a similar experience. “I’ve spoken to a number of pollsters, and while they give general numbers, they are very reluctant to give ethnic numbers.”

One recent exception to this no-interference Canadian approach is a poll by YouGov that revealed Indian Canadians leaning toward the liberal left. More than 38% of his respondents said they would vote Liberal last year. That’s twice as many as he plans to vote Conservative.

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This fall, Postmedia’s Leger poll detailed how ethnic groups will influence the tide-changing elections in the cities of Vancouver and Surrey in October.

Understanding the hopes and fears of ethnic groups can be a big political deal. In the City of Vancouver, 44% of the population is European, 20% Chinese, and 14% South Asian. Indian Canadians are the largest group in Surrey at 38% compared to 33% for Europeans.

A Leger poll found Ken Sim the eventual winner for Vancouver. He highlighted how he would become the city’s first Chinese-Canadian mayor, with his 21% of European voters, his 15% of South Asian voters, and his 35% of those voters. Appealed to %. Has Chinese roots.

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Meanwhile, the unsuccessful Mayor Kennedy Stewart — the last in a staggering streak of seven Vancouver mayors of Scottish descent — has 12% of European voters, 21% of Indian-Canadian voters, and 21% of them. Only 5% of of chinese background.

Sally was another scenario. Her three mayoral candidates, Brenda Locke, Doug McCallum and Gordy Hogg, were of European descent and received the most votes. Incumbent McCallum performed best in the predominantly Punjabi-speaking district, Purewal said.

“This shows that people are really paying attention to what politicians are trying to say and what they stand for,” Purewal said. “Most people don’t care what (ethnic) group you are from.”

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What issues attracted voters to Sims in Vancouver?

Affordability of housing was the top concern when Leger respondents listed their top three issues.

Property taxes and spending were the third biggest problem for Vancouver residents. Especially as the council grew exponentially under Stewart’s leadership. Shim has promised to be financially prudent, which is important to overseas Chinese voters, with 36% of them citing taxation as a major issue, compared with 26% of them overall. there were.

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Police, security and crime were the fourth biggest problems. Sim’s promise to hire 100 more police officers should also have a positive impact on Chinese-Canadian voters. His 30% of Chinese-Canadian voters were concerned about crime, compared to his 25% in general.

Sim also downplayed the themes that Stewart and his council have pushed most strongly, such as climate change, especially social justice, equity, and indigenous reconciliation. These were of little interest to all voters, especially those from China.

Even though Shim often cite the scourge of anti-Asian racism and campaigned strongly through the Chinese-language media, such a trend has led him and his ABC party to simply assume that he is Chinese-Canadian. He suggests to PureWal that he didn’t win just because he was there.

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“I think the majority voted for him because they agreed with his plan.”

What about Surrey, BC’s second largest city? South Asians in Surrey, many of whom were foreign-born, were much more likely to rank affordability of housing as their top concern with 56% compared to 38% of European descent. Indian Canadians were the least likely to focus on homelessness.

Leger’s polls initially suggested that Surrey mayoral candidate Sukh Dhaliwal was a South Asian favorite, but the endorsement did not go well for him. Rock and McCallum, who came in close second, managed to draw votes from both South Asians and Europeans.

A similar lesson about the value of attractiveness across race can be learned from the growth of Richmond, B.C.’s fourth most populous city.

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Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brody has held power for 21 years by reaching out to people of all ethnicities, including the 113,000 Chinese residents. Here, Brody cut the ribbon to open a Buddhist monastery on his 5th Street in Richmond.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brody has held power for 21 years by reaching out to people of all ethnicities, including the 113,000 Chinese residents. Here, Brody cut the ribbon to open a Buddhist monastery on his 5th Street in Richmond. Photo by Ward Perrin /PNG

Mayor Malcolm Brody has won elections for 21 years, down from 68,000 in 2001 to 40,000, despite only 20% of the population being of European descent. Residents from China.

Race-based politics can also become controversial. Nationwide outrage exploded after a top Latino politician was caught in a secret recording making crude and racist remarks about black rivals and voters, as happened in Los Angeles this fall. Something similar could happen in Canada.

But for the most part, U.S. and Canadian politicians don’t seem to be using ethnicity-based data to create a wedge problem. They simply see ethnic differences and similarities as fundamental factors to understand.

Let’s hope most politicians in North America try to balance their desire to appeal to voters of particular ethnic groups with a greater commitment to social harmony.

@Douglas Todd

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Ethnic politics is a science in America, ongoing in Canada

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