There are solid blue Conservative ridings in rural Ontario that no other party expects to win, and a few unshakably red Liberal strongholds in Toronto. But the focus of action in this year’s election will no doubt be in a swath of ridings across the sprawling Greater Toronto Area that are both blue and red. The most contested turf in 2015 will be these purple ridings.
These are the electoral districts that voted for Mr. Harper’s federal Conservatives in 2011, but picked Kathleen Wynne’s provincial Liberals in last year’s Ontario election. There were 38 Ontario ridings that did that blue-red switch. Most of them are in an east-west strip from Belleville to Brantford that skirts around Toronto’s core.
There’s no greater concentration of swing ridings anywhere in the country – and they’re the reason Mr. Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau expect to spend a lot time along Highway 401. Expect the economy to be a major issue, but also infrastructure – especially highways and transit in a region where commuting and traffic is a daily concern.
These ridings were the path to Mr. Harper’s majority government in the 2011 election, and he probably can’t win another without these seats. Mr. Trudeau can’t win power without taking most of them. And for Thomas Mulcair’s NDP, which doesn’t compete in many of them, they’re a major weakness.
Most are in bedroom communities, often places that have boomed rapidly from small town to suburban sprawl. They tend to be ethnically diverse, and many are reasonably affluent. And there will be even more of them in 2015: Ontario will gain 15 new federal seats under electoral redistribution, many in this strip.
Click on a riding to see the results in the 2011 federal election and 2014 provincial election.
- Blue = riding voted Conservative in both elections.
- Red = riding voted Liberal in both elections.
- Orange = riding voted NDP in both elections.
- Purple = riding voted Conservative federally and Liberal provincially.
- Magenta = riding voted Conservative federally and NDP provincially.
- Yellow = riding voted NDP federally and Liberal provincially.