Thursday, September 8, 2011

HST riding breakdown shows method to Christy Clark’s election madness

When British Columbians voted to extinguish the HST brought in under former premier Gordon Campbell, they also sent a strong message to his successor, Christy Clark. With the Premier reversing herself and deciding not to hold an election this fall, the message appears to have been understood. 

When the results were announced late last month, the “Yes” (or anti-HST) side won with 54.7 per cent of the vote, compared to 45.3 per cent for the “No” (or pro-HST) side. 

The rest of the article can be found on The Globe and Mail website here.

British Columbia won't be heading to the polls until 2013 now, unless Clark changes her mind. Alberta and Quebec are also scheduled to have their elections in 2013, but it seems more likely that Alberta will head to the polls sometime in late November or early December of this year, after the PC leadership race is completed.

If that is the case, 2012 will have no provincial or federal elections, that is unless Jean Charest decides to get a head start. We won't be left completely without anything to talk about, though, as the New Democrats will probably be holding their leadership convention in March or April and the Liberal race will start ratcheting up by the end of the year. And we may have a by-election or two at the federal and provincial levels.

Of course, Ontario or even Manitoba could elect a minority government, opening up the possibility for re-hash of these provincial races before the end of 2012. Otherwise, it should be a relatively quiet electoral year.

Well, in this country at least.


  1. Good analysis Eric. I really doubt we'll be seeing an early election in BC this time round. Although the now-hated Gordon Campbell is gone, replaced by Clark, BCers have still not warmed again to the Liberals. The HST debacle was only a catalyst for the general voter anger toward the hard-right Liberals. As I've said before, we love our new governments until we don't. Then we hate them. In this case voters were sick of the NDP, and dumped them in favor of Campbell about 10 years ago. However, during recent years, the love has cooled to say the least.
    Clark's challenge will be to take a page from another right-wing party's (the Alberta PCs) playbook and find a way to reinvent her party. If not, she and it are toast. They face strong opposition from the ever-strengthening NDP and a growing challenge from the extreme far right in the Conservatives. It's unlikely the BC Conservatives will be strong enough to win government next time around, but they could take considerable seats from the Libs and replace them as opposition, and as representative of the right in this province.
    BC traditionally has two parties, representing a strong left-right split. In recent decades, it's been a revolving door of sorts for those representing the right (Liberal, Conservative, Social Credit, Liberal again). But the left has been consistently represented by the NDP for several decades.
    It's a tad early for a prediction, but what the Hell. The NDP will form the next government with a majority, the Conservatives will form opposition, and the Liberals will be lucky to elect five members, and will disappear in the following election.

  2. When the HST was first introduced, public opinion polls confirmed opposition at ~85% to ~15% in favour. During the interim, a shift of 30% to the pro-HST side was not enough to keep the HST. Who's going to vote in favour of increased taxation?

    The anti-HST proponents were right-wing, anti-tax populists - former Socred premier Bill Vander Zalm and former BC Conservative Chris Delaney.

    Ridings that voted against the HST included the 3 Richmond ridings and Vancouver-Langara, which have a large Chinese-Canadian contingent and many are known to be notoriously "anti-tax". BTW, these ridings were painted Tory "blue" during the recent federal election.

    Not much public opinion polling has occurred in BC since early May but it looks like Ipsos-Reid, Angus-Reid, and Mustel will all be in the field over the next month or so gauging pary support levels.

    Nevertheless some interesting "non-party" opinion poll results from both Ipsos and ARS have been released over the past week or so.

    From Ipsos:

    1. What will be the impact of scrapping the HST and returning to the GST/PST system on the overall BC economy?

    Negative - 49%
    positive - 17%

    2. BC Liberal government handling of BC economy?

    Good job - 48%

    3. BC Liberal government overall performance?

    Good Job - 46%

    From Angus Reid Strategies:

    1. Christy Clark Approval Rating - 42%
    (she's now in the top 5 in Canada and that's an increase from 36% when she first became party leader. Compare that to Gordon Campbell's dismal 9% when he hit rock bottom)

    These are all mixed signals and the BC government still has a long road to hoe to increase support for its damaged brand.

  3. I'm seeing reports of a Harris Decima poll for Ontario that has Libs 40, PCs 29 and NDP 24. Yes, I typed that right. This poll appears to have been commissioned for some outfit called National Public Relations. The poll is not on HD's website, and I am wondering if National Public Relations is a PR company for the Liberals and if so if this is a push-poll. We'll have to wait for publication of the poll to see.

  4. As another commenter pointed out elsewhere, Bruce Anderson of Harris-Decima was talking about the results of this poll on Power & Politics, so they are standing behind the numbers.

  5. Ontarians don't really have a good option in this election, so I can't fault them for their mercurial preferences. I do know that McGuinty is running his province about as badly as possible (the worst performing province in terms of fiscal management during his tenure), so I can't see how keeping the guy in charge is a good idea, though.

    I do think, Éric, that having no elections in 2012 is a good thing. With the inevitable lunacy going on down south, I think it's best if we just bide our time.

  6. Goaltender Interference09 September, 2011 08:00

    National Public Relations is precisely that, a public relations firm. Have a look at their list of offered sevices-- polling isn't one of them (though the vague "Research & Evaluation" is listed near the bottom):

    This is also the first poll that I have ever seen from them, so I suggest we take their poll results with more than a grain of salt.

  7. Harris-Decima conducted the poll.

  8. We need a socially progressive fiscally conservative alternative across Canada. A commitment to good government, moderate taxes, strong health-care, robust education sector, pro-urban policies (such as public transit) and ethnic diversity (without becoming 'special interest' only) and a libertarian social philosophy (legalization of pot and prostitution for example) will be much appreciated. So far only the BC Liberals (socially centrist/centre-left, fiscally centre-right), the PLQ in Quebec and some urban Tories in Alberta (especially Edmonton) fit the bill, together with the 'blue liberals' of Ontario.
    People trust the centrists on economy, when the PC types focus on bread and butter issues they win big (NFLD, AB, SK Party), but when they get into religious conservatism or ethnic stereotyping they lose out. The federal CPC gets it, but Hudak doesn't !

  9. "but when they get into religious conservatism or ethnic stereotyping they lose out. The federal CPC gets it, but Hudak doesn't "

    Didn't Harper just state in an interview with the CBC that the greatest threat to Canada is Islamicism? The federal CPC is nowhere near close to a centrist party. People who voted for the CPC just seem to buy into Harper's nonsense.

    Seriously just listening to the CPC MPs when they talk and you have a pretty good idea on where their values are


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