Indigenous Peoples and Affinity Voting in Canada

Papillon, Martin

With Simon Dabin and  Jean François Daoust


Studies interested in Indigenous voting in Canada tend to focus on socio-economic, cultural and political factors that explain their lower levels of electoral participation. While highly relevant given Canada’s ongoing reality as a settler-colonial state, these studies are of limited help in making sense of recent increases in electoral engagement in Indigenous communities across the country. Using data from four elections between 2006 and 2015, this study focuses instead on why some Indigenous individuals vote and how they vote. Our analysis suggests that one of many possible reasons for the recent surge in Indigenous turnout has to do with the candidates presenting themselves for elections. Higher voter turnout in Indigenous communities corresponds with a higher proportion of Indigenous candidates. This trend is consistent with the literature on affinity voting. We also find that political parties who present an Indigenous candidate receive more votes in constituencies with a high proportion of Indigenous voters.

Dabin, S., Daoust, J-F., Papillon, M. (2018). «Indigenous Peoples and Affinity Voting in Canada», Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique,

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