Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Pollcast: 6 months to go before B.C. goes to the polls

The next provincial election in British Columbia is six short months away, and the campaigning has already unofficially begun.

Will British Columbians decide to re-elect Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals, a party that has been in power since 2001? Or will they instead install John Horgan's New Democrats, setting off a possible confrontation with the neighbouring NDP government in Alberta over pipelines?

And will pollsters get redemption after missing the call in 2013?

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

The B.C. election will be held on May 9. Polls suggest the race is close. While the New Democrats were leading in the polls by about 16 points at this point in 2012, the latest survey puts the gap between the two parties at just one point.

Clark has a booming economy on her side, but after 15 years in power the B.C. Liberal government is long in the tooth. Horgan still has a low profile, and is challenged from the left by the B.C. Greens, who hold one seat in the legislature and have designs on more.

Richard Zussman, the CBC's legislative reporter in B.C., joins me to break down the coming election season.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.


  1. Clark will never get the 26% of BC voters who are against the Kinder Morgan pipeline to vote for her.

    The antics that the 26% against the pipeline will leave very little option for the 54% that support it but to vote for Clark.

    1. That 26% wasn't going to vote for Clark or the Liberals anyways.

  2. Brian Topp voted with his feet... better opportunities for a NDP operative in Ottawa than in BC.

  3. Just keep this in mind: Vancouver Island distorts the polls big time. The NDP have a massive lead here but the Island doesn't have the huge number of seats in return.

    1. Elections are always fairly close in B.C.

      In the pollcast Mr. Zussman brought up a good point; Liberals win the close ridings. By my count the Liberals won 10/15 ridings that were decided by 5% or less in 2013.

      The NDP vote is flaky. They only receive about 90% of the vote the pollsters report. So, 39% really becomes no more than 35.1. By contrast Liberal voters are far more committed, the result being polls typically over report NDP support and under report Liberal support. My theory; this results do to the geography of the Province and seat distribution whereby rural constituencies are slightly over-represented in the Legislative Assembly.

      Horgan's opposition to Kinder Morgan was made from desperation. Without it the Greens would have gained support on the Island. With it Horgan has angered traditional supporters in the Unions and in the trades. It was a catch 22 for the BCNDP. To form Government they need to basically sweep the Island but, they lower their chances to win ridings in Metro Vancouver, the interior and North where the benefits accrue. Only 1 of the 15 "swing ridings" I counted above are on the Island and so the strategy is high risk and probably will not succeed. It may however, prevent the Greens from becoming a stronger player in the Province. Before Horgan came out in opposition a number of Southern Vancouver Islands ridings were in jeopardy, now the Greens will have a much harder time.

      Horgan's biggest problem is Dr. Andrew Weaver will be in the debate(s). Dr. Weaver could well end up as the Kingmaker. The Greens have a decent chance to win a half dozen ridings including, Weaver whose seat I would think is safe.

      The Liberals are the favourites at this point. The NDP caucus has kept a low profile since the last election, their job made harder by the Liberal's refusal to hold Autumn sittings of the House! Last time the polls had the BC NDP up by 20 points and they still lost, today they are only up by one, lots of time left but, Christy Clark is likely very pleased with how things are going so far.

    2. Good analysis.. The only fault I see is that there hasn't been a close election seat-wise since 1996... followed by the uniting of the the Liberals and Conservatives

      In 1991 the NDP won 51-17-17 with only 40% of the popular vote. (And they didn't push for a proportional voting system)

      The next election NDP another majority won 39-33 with less than 40% of the vote and 2% points behind the 2nd place Liberals.

      After 1996 the die hard Conservative voters became die-hard Provincial Liberal voters.

      Now with the Green actually siphoning off 20 % of the "progressive" vote the united right of centre Liberals will keep on getting majorities.

  4. The title is wrong - it is less than 5 months left if election is held on May 9


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