Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Electoral test for B.C. in two by-elections

Update: You can check out my post-election analysis of the by-elections here.

Polling has been very light in British Columbia, with only three surveys having been published for the province in 2015 and none since November. So the two by-elections taking place today in the ridings of Coquitlam–Burke Mountain (CBM) and Vancouver–Mount Pleasant (VMP) will provide a revealing peek at what the political landscape in B.C. currently looks like.

With an election a year away, that may prove useful.

In the 2013 provincial election, Douglas Horne won the riding of CBM for the B.C. Liberals with 49.9% of the vote, followed by the New Democrats at 37.4%. The Greens and Conservatives trailed at a distance with 5.8% and 5.5%.

This will likely be the riding to watch, as the margin was relatively close. A loss for the B.C. Liberals here would signal some malaise with the government that should be of concern for Christy Clark. If the margin narrows significantly, that may also be a sign that the New Democrats are a real threat.

But if the margin does not narrow, or if the margin increases, the New Democrats will have to wonder if they are on track for another defeat.

The B.C. Liberal candidate is Joan Isaacs while the NDP is putting Jodie Wickens. The Greens and Libertarians are also running candidates. Full by-election information for the riding can be found here.

The by-election in VMP is unlikely to be as interesting. Jenny Kwan, now a federal NDP MP, won the riding with 65.8% of the vote in 2013, followed at a distance by the Liberals at 18.7% and the Greens at 11.9%.

Few doubt that the New Democrats will win here, but it will be interesting to see if the margin narrows. It likely will, as often happens in by-elections that were won by a landslide in the previous general vote. The result will not be as revealing as in CBM, as VMP is not a riding that the B.C. Liberals would be targeting anyway.

The New Democrats are running Melanie Mark against the Liberals' Gavin Dew. The Greens, Libertarians, and Your Political Party are running candidates. Full info here.