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Trudeau campaigning heavily in Liberal ridings: research report

Justin Trudeau has spent half of his time campaigning and endorsing candidates in Liberal-held ridings while on the campaign trail.

With files from Cosmin Dzsurdzsa and John Ployer.

Since the writ dropped, Justin Trudeau has spent half of his time campaigning and endorsing candidates in Liberal-held ridings while on the campaign trail, and a majority of his time in Ontario and Quebec.

True North researchers used official Liberal party campaign itineraries as well as events reported in the news to compile this report. Our analysis stretches from the beginning of the campaign on September 11 to October 17, the day this report was compiled. 

The report looks at three key areas of the Trudeau Liberal’s campaign:

  1. How many visits the Trudeau campaign dedicated to each province
  2. A federal breakdown of what party held ridings where Trudeau visited and stumped for the local Liberal candidate 
  3. A provincial breakdown of which party held the riding in which Trudeau attending a campaign event with the local Liberal candidate

Quebec and Ontario account for over two thirds of campaign visits

Campaign stops were split into two categories for methodological reasons: general visits were stops in which Trudeau appeared in a city without campaigning for a candidate from a specific riding, whereas candidate rallies targeted specific ridings in any given area. 

To see how much attention the Liberal leader gave to each province of Canada, we took into account both general visits and candidate rallies for the following percentages. The two debate appearances and one pre-debate appearance were also considered in our count.

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Of Trudeau’s 85 campaign stops made since September 11, his top destination was Ontario, where 44 percent of his visits took place. 

Put together, Ontario and Quebec received a total of 71 percent of Trudeau’s time while campaigning, with Quebec making up 27 percent of total campaigning.

The maritime provinces collectively came in third place for frequency of visits, making up for 14 percent of total visits. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were the most frequently visited provinces in the region, both receiving five visits each, followed P.E.I, and Newfoundland and Labrador which only received one visit each. 

After the maritimes, visits to British Columbia made up nine percent of the total campaign stops. Notably, British Columbia was also the first stop of the Trudeau campaign. Nunavut then followed B.C., which received two campaign stops, both of which happened in the same day. 

Meanwhile, Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, only received one single visit by Trudeau each. 

Liberal and NDP-held ridings the top national destination for Trudeau

For our federal breakdown of the ridings targeted by the Trudeau campaign, we only took into account candidate rallies, of which we counted 56. To be more specific, candidate rallies were campaign stops where Justin Trudeau appeared with and promoted candidates for targeted ridings. General visits were not included for the sake of statistical accuracy and because of the general and open-ended nature of those events. 

In this section, we looked at which party held the seat in the last Parliament. 

Over the course of the campaign, Trudeau spent exactly half of his time campaigning for candidates in Liberal-held ridings across the country, making up a total of 28 individual appearances alongside Liberal MPs.

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NDP-held ridings were the next most frequently targeted ridings on the federal stage. A total of 27 percent of Trudeau’s time was spent campaigning with the local Liberal candidate in ridings held by the NDP. 

Relatively little attention was paid towards campaigning in Conservative-held ridings, coming in with only 14 percent of total visits despite the CPC being a tight contender for the election.

Interestingly, the next most frequented ridings were those held by four different Independent candidates, making up a total of eight percent of all campaign visits. These were the ridings of: Jody Wilson-Raybould (formerly Lib.), Jane Philpott (formerly Lib.), Tony Clement (formerly CPC) Hunter Tootoo (formerly Lib.) and Pierre Nantel who is now running as a Green Party candidate (formerly NDP). 

Finally, Bloc Quebecois-held ridings received the least amount of visits, making up only two percent of Trudeau’s campaign stops. 

The high volume of visits to Liberal-held ridings could be an indication of some concern about losing base support due to repeated scandals by the party leader. It could also indicate that the Liberals are worried about losing support among traditionally progressive voters to the NDP and the Greens, who have been performing well in recent polls. 

At the same time, the high frequency of visits to NDP-held ridings might be an attempt to scoop up new seats to give the needed edge to maintain government. 

NDP-held ridings in Quebec and Liberal-held ridings in Ontario get most attention from Trudeau

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Breaking down Trudeau’s candidate rallies by province gives a clearer picture of the Liberal Party’s strategy and which kind of voters the Liberals are intending to target in this campaign. 

In Ontario, Trudeau spent a majority of his time campaigning in the province by visiting ridings already held by the Liberals. More than half (53 percent) of candidate rallies in the province were in ridings held by the Liberals. Ontario was also the province with the highest quantity of visits to Conservative-held ridings, making up 23 percent of his visits in the area.

Visits to NDP-held ridings in Ontario made up a total of 17 percent of Trudeau’s time on the campaign trail, which is low compared to his national average of 27 percent. Independent ridings held by former Liberal Jane Philpott and former Conservative Tony Clement each received one single visit from Trudeau, making up for seven percent of his total time spent campaigning with Liberal candidates in the province. 

Quebec paints a much different picture than Ontario, with NDP-held ridings taking the lead for Trudeau rallies with Liberal candidates. A total of 58 percent of his time spent in Quebec was spent in NDP-held ridings. On the other hand, unlike Ontario, Trudeau spent only one fourth of his time in Quebec tending to Liberal-held ridings, indicating a much more confident position with regard to their popularity in the province and the re-election of his Liberal MPs in Quebec.

Both ridings held by the Bloc Quebecois and Independent candidates tied with eight percent of Trudeau’s rallies in the province, with each receiving one individual visit by the Liberal leader. 

Trudeau’s single visit to Alberta was to Edmonton-Strathcona — a riding formerly held by NDP MP Linda Duncan, who announced she will not be seeking re-election.

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