An 'Unintegrated' Province? Examining the Extent of Spatial Cleavages in Public Opinion in Nova Scotia
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Place is a common theme in depictions of Nova Scotian politics. The Ivany Commission, for example, describes in its recent report deep attitudinal cleavages between urban and rural residents, who seem “almost to occupy different worlds” (Nova Scotia 2014: 10). Using the Ivany Report as a starting point, this thesis tests the assumption that spatial factors explain differences in attitudes. Respondents to the 2013 Comparative Provincial Election Project survey are assigned to geographic categories, and regression models are developed to identify the relationship between these categories and attitudes. The results provide mixed evidence for the spatial hypothesis. Whereas some variables exhibit no spatial variation, others indicate that rural and Mainland residence is correlated with economic and moral conservatism and a preference for government attention to rural issues. Systematic spatial variation in public opinion therefore does exist, although it is less dramatic than the stark divisions identified by the Ivany Commission.