Elections produce a lot of numbers. A guide to some of the online resources available to help you get on top of the numbers game.


One thing is for certain about elections. They’re about numbers. The number of seats. The number of votes. The number of campaign gaffes.

Numbers can deliver valuable insights into the race in your town or riding, give you a real edge preparing for election night, or simplify that most sleep-inducing of reporting tasks, putting together a riding fact box.

So, in deference to the number gods, herewith a collection of Web resources that can help make your local election reporting more robust:

Go to Elections Canada for poll-by-poll results from the 2006 election. You can download results for just one riding, or for the entire country. It’s great for getting ready for election night. And if you set up a spreadsheet ahead of time, you can plug in the poll results for this election as they come in to find out who is gaining and losing in ridings in your town. Just be careful to check to see if the poll boundaries have changed to ensure you are comparing the same areas.

If you want to take an historical look at how voters in your area have cast ballots since Confederation, you can find basic riding-by-riding results on the Parliament of Canada website.

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Here you’ll find the name of the candidates in a riding and their key officials and information on the population and number of registered voters in each riding? If you want to dig a little deeper and troll for demographic information on ridings, go to the Statistics Canada website.You can look up one riding at a time. The information is quite detailed, including: population by different age groups and by sex; visible minority populations; median income; and more. If you want to drill down to individual neighbourhoods, try the census-tract profiles. Census tracts are areas about the size of city neighbourhoods. They are located only in urban areas. Here you can search for a tract by postal code. The information is similar to that provided for the ridings. Both of these resources can help you understand better who’s voting for whom and where. If you put the demographic information together with the poll-by-poll results you can build a real picture of where candidates and parties get their support. It’s also a great way to figure out where to go to find certain types of voters. Call it a targetted streeter.

http://www.geogratis.gc.ca/geogratis/en/option/select.do?id=1169to download federal riding boundary files in ESRI Shapefile or MapInfo .tab format.

Happy number crunching!