Election Campaigning Strategies for Vertical Communities

May 2018

Candidates vying for political office are finding that attracting the condo vote requires new approaches.

Condo residents now comprise more than 50% of city residents.  In some ridings condo residents now comprise a solid majority of voters.  Effectively reaching these people will not be through traditional ways of canvassing for votes.

Lawn signs, flyer distribution and door knocking are no longer effective nor suitable in vertical communities.  It would be inappropriate for a condo building to allow lawn signs for one candidate and not others who may be supported by building residents.  Flyers placed in a mailbox are unlikely to make it past the recycling bin and those who attempt to knock on condo doors are likely to find suite occupants not at home or unwilling to answer.

Then there are those politicians who rely on outdated Statistics Canada population estimates that do not yet reflect the condo population in some ridings.  Such politicians may focus on that segment of the population that does not reside in high-rise condo buildings thus ignore  the majority of their constituency.

The dominant demographic in most condo buildings is between 25 and 50 years old.  At least half are likely to be single.  Reaching these people, who often do not have land lines and may be out more often than in, is a challenge.  Mobile numbers are changed with sufficient frequency to make it difficult for phone communications.

In an effort to get more people to the polls, and to vote for him, Councillor Adam Vaughan campaigned during the last election at Trinity Bellwoods Park handing out paper bags providing advance polling information and the slogan “Hide your beer and not your support”.

It becomes more important for politicians that want to be known by voters to be seen in the places they frequent.  This means being visible in outdoor parks, sports bars, pubs and other popular gathering areas.

It is also important that politicians understand how condo residents communicate within their communities.  There are ways to reach condo residents through town hall meetings and condo specific communications such as Toronto Condo News.