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Seats and popular vote

Liberals make staggering seat gains



Increase in seats since 2011 election



Decrease in seats since 2011 election



Decrease in seats since 2011 election

Bruce Anderson, one of CBC’s At Issue panelists, called Justin Trudeau’s ascent to prime minister as a “campaign for the ages.” Sure, Trudeau is the scion of a former PM. But he defied great odds to win.

The Liberals started the campaign with a mere 37 seats in the House of Commons and were polling in third place. But once the ballots were all counted, the Liberals had taken 184 seats.

Trudeau’s astounding success also highlights the reversals of fortune for both the Conservatives, who have governed since 2006, and the NDP, who were first in the polls going into this 11-week campaign.

Stephen Harper and the Conservatives won the 2011 election with 166 seats, while the NDP finished with 103 — and, for the first time, status as the Official Opposition. Four years later, the Conservatives have 67 fewer seats while the NDP have dropped 59.

One of the quirks of Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system is that a party can take the majority of seats without winning a majority of votes. That was certainly the case in 2011, when the Conservatives won 166 of 308 seats — or 53.9 per cent — but only 39.6 per cent of the popular vote.

In terms of the ratios, the 2015 story is almost identical. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals took 184 seats — 54.4 per cent of the new total of 338 seats — with 39.5 per cent of the popular vote.

Seats and popular vote: 2015

Riding demographics

Liberal appeal spans across income, age brackets

How did the vote break down by age, by income and marital status? We've correlated the results of the 2011 Census and the National Household Survey with the riding results to where each party shored up support. National medians and averages are highlighted in the sections below. Select the down arrow to see full charts that break the vote down by party and province.

Household income is calculated by totaling the earnings of all the members that reside in one home. The median is the middle value, in which half of the families' incomes in the country are higher and half are lower.


The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people represented as a percentage of the labour force.


The value of dwellings is the dollar amount the owner would expect if the dwelling were to be sold. The median is the middle value, in which half of the values are higher and half are lower.


The median age represents the middle value in which half of the people in the country are older and the other half are younger.

40.6 years

The percentage of the population (aged 15 and up) that is married or living with another person as a couple.


The Conservatives appealed to ridings in which the proportion of married or common-law couples was highest. By comparison, the Liberals and the NDP largely dominated in ridings where the marriage rate hovered below 50 per cent.

Source: Statistics Canada National Housing Survey (2011), Census Profile (2011)

Women in politics

More women MPs elected

A total of 88 women have been elected to the House of Commons, up from the 76 who were sent to Parliament in the 2011 election. In total, the proportion of women MPs will be 26 per cent. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was re-elected in her riding. Read more about the parliamentary gender gap.

Polling timeline

Support for Liberals surges at campaign close

The Duffy trial, the Syrian refugee crisis, the niqab ban, “old-stock Canadians” – these are among the issues that defined a closely watched and hard-fought 78-day campaign. CBC’s Poll Tracker analyzed polls from across the country and monitored how the parties gained or lost support. Scroll through the charted timeline and the linked stories below to see how the issues influenced party support.

The NDP dipped in the polls following the French-language debate, when Mulcair accused Harper of using the niqab as “a weapon of massive distraction.” The Conservatives surpassed the NDP in October when they announced a plan to introduce a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline as well as the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. Meanwhile, the Liberals observed an uptick in support following Trudeau’s commanding performance in the foreign policy debate at the end of September.

By the end of the campaign, support for the Liberals surged to 37.2 per cent, ahead of the Conservatives’ 30.9 per cent and the NDP’s 21.7 per cent.

Related stories from the 2015 campaign: