Environics Analytics Senior Vice President Rupen Seoni with his second in a series -- Deciding Votes 2019 -- on the upcoming election.

TORONTO -- Quebec is a crucial battleground in this federal election.

The general narrative has been that the New Democratic Party (NDP) stands to lose many – or even all – of its Quebec seats, with the Liberals, potentially seeing gains that could offset at least some of the losses they are expected to have elsewhere in the country.

That perspective has shifted somewhat over the past few days with the Bloc Québécois (BQ) surging and the NDP experiencing a boost in polls across the country after Jagmeet Singh’s strong debate performances. The NDP is trying hard to hang on to their Quebec beachhead, while the Liberals and BQ are each fighting to turn these same seats.

In this analysis, we look at the voting patterns of different population groups in these NDP ridings by using Environics Analytics’ PRIZM QC segmentation that assigns every six-digit postal code to one of 58 lifestyle types in Quebec.

This is a system built specifically to understand the diversity of lifestyles in Quebec so personas and targeting can be nuanced and efficient in La Belle Province. Our lifestyle classification is the culmination of our projections of 30,000 data points to every one of Canada’s 800,000 six-digit postal codes.

Using our data, we can identify which postal codes have similar populations so that we can understand the patterns of behaviour across these segments. By cross-referencing Elections Canada’s polling division results from the last election, political parties or advocacy groups can use the data to get a comprehensive view of the voters they are trying to speak to.

This helps them craft more effective messaging to reach their desired audiences via the right media channels and in the locations where they are most likely to find them.

The NDP won 16 of Quebec’s 78 seats in 2015. At the dissolution of parliament, one of those seats (Outremont in Montreal) was in Liberal hands resulting from a by-election after Tom Mulcair (the former NDP leader) resigned. Another seat (Longueuil – St-Hubert) had the incumbent switch to sit as an independent. For this analysis, we’ve included Longueuil – St-Hubert in our study. The 15 ridings we looked at are listed at the end. There is also an interactive map created by Esri showing Quebec ridings and the 2015 incumbent party.

So what do the vote patterns tell us about which voter segments the parties should be targeting? The NDP dominated most PRIZM QC segments in these key ridings, with the Liberals dominating a few older and multicultural segments in cities. In the rest of the segments, the Liberals generally came second, but the margins between the three parties tell us which segments each should focus its efforts on. This is broken down further below. To illustrate this, we have listed three of the PRIZM QC segments in each group.

NDP defensive

The NDP was ahead of the Liberals and BQ in several PRIZM QC segments by at least five percentage points. These segments represent 47% of voters in the NDP ridings. We’ve split the segments into a couple of groups.

Older rural and young urban - environics

Suburban and Young and Diverse - Environics

Bloc Quebecois Potential - Environics

If we take Hochelaga on the Island of Montreal, a particularly close riding in 2015, the map below shows where the segments are located. This helps identify where the parties should focus their canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts:

• NDP: focus on the southern part of the riding with younger voters

• Liberals: should have strength in the west and north-west

• BQ: should try to convert voters in the middle of the riding

• The middle west has block-by-block diversity

NDP riding target groups - environics

Ridings in this analysis

• Abitibi--Baie-James--Nunavik--Eeyou

• Abitibi--Témiscamingue

• Beloeil--Chambly

• Berthier--Maskinongé

• Drummond

• Hochelaga

• Jonquière

• Laurier--Sainte-Marie

• Longueuil--Saint-Hubert

• Rimouski-Neigette--Témiscouata--Les Basques

• Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie

• Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot

• Salaberry--Suroît

• Sherbrooke

• Trois-Rivières

Click for fullscreen version of map