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Archive for the ‘2009 British Columbia Election’ Category

B.C. Election Shocker: Gordon Campbell in Trouble in His Own Riding????!!!

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A poster on Babble linked to this Harvey Overfed’s Oberfeld’s blog. Harvey says Campbell May lose his own seat.

Even more interesting is the comment Harvey presents from Rafe Mair, who says he is voting for Carole James and the NDP. Read the whole thing.

I am now willing to change my prediction from a narrow Socred/Liberal win to an NDP victory. Maybe even a big one.

I will live blog the results tonight after the polls close. Keep the Brut on ice, lefties, it’s gonna be a long night.

Written by slothropia

May 12th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

British Columbia Election May 12: Analysis and Prediction

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Cross posted at Daily Kos.

British Columbia is the Canadian province just north of Washington State and Idaho. It is perhaps the most pleasant part of North America, if climate, geography and social stresses are taken into account. Culturally it is part of the ecotopia that is the Pacific Northwest. It is the place where a lot of Americans go to camp, hike and ski and from which they get their herring roe, raw lumber and pot.

British Columbians go to the polls on Tuesday, May 12 in what has become an unexpectedly close election.

Canadian political junkies love B.C. elections because they always have about them a whiff of apocalypse. The left is certain that if the right wins, all that is good about the province goes the way of the dodo. Schools and hospitals will close, old people made homeless, unions crushed, the environment raped AND strangled, cronies rewarded.

Meanwhile the right just knows that the left will screw up the provincial economy – FOREVER!!! Mines will be closed, taxes raised to the stratosphere, loggers thrown in jail, poor little corporations punished for making a profit, mom and pop stores forced to give massages to union bosses.

OK, so these two paragraphs are a parody, but they closely resemble the political conversation that goes on in B.C. at varying levels of intensity at different times, the demons being most active during election campaigns. These attitudes have much to do with B.C.’s social history and the importation of British class hostilities. Throw in humanity’s tendency to behave badly in paradise and the picture is almost complete.

There are two major parties, the ever so slightly left wing New Democratic Party (NDP) and Somebody else. In the early 50’s (when it was known as the CCF – Commonwealth Cooperative Federation) the NDP was about to win power in B.C. for the first time. Supporters of the provincial Liberals and Conservatives were determined not to let that happened so they joined forces under the banner of Social Credit, a party that had gained power in Alberta but which was elsewhere outside the mainstream. But it was a place where unsocialists could unite and keep the left from ruining the province.

Social Credit stayed in power until 1972, when the NDP led by Dave Barrett formed their first government – which lasted for just over three years and was replaced by Social Credit. After the NDP regained power in 1991, Social Credit fractured and was eventually replaced by the B.C. Liberals. The B.C. Libs took power in 2001 led by the current Premier, Gordon Campbell.

Only guess what. There is very little about the B.C. Liberals that is liberal. It is a coalition of right wing federal Liberals and Conservatives whose prime directive is to, you guessed it, keep the socialists from ruining the province – again.

OTOH, this year’s NDP is not your father’s or mother’s socialist horde. the NDP under current leader Carole James is following the Democratic Party’s (and Barack Obama’s) tactic of trying hard not to scare middle class voters. For one thing, the NDP is against a carbon tax imposed last year by the B.C. Liberal government. The NDP instead favors a cap and trade system. This has upset some NDP supporters and environmentalists who want more immediate carbon reducing action. James and the NDP have also gone after Campbell and the B.C. Libs on crime!!! Yes, the left attacking the right on law and order. Only in Canada.

There are a number of smaller parties presenting candidates, but only two have any significant support: the Greens and the Conservatives. Polls have given these two parties around 15 to 20 per cent support, but neither is likely to win a seat. When the votes are counted it is likely that Green support will bleed to the NDP and Conservative votes to the B.C. Liberals. It is interesting to note that in B.C. even the minor or protest parties reflect the radical right/left divide int he province.

There is apparently one independent candidate with a realistic shot at winning her riding.

An experienced and accomplished NDP campaign manager once explained to me the dynamic of B.C. elections. When canvassers go out for a first survey of a poll (precinct) they come back with lots and lots of positive and negative responses, leaving only a few undecided and soft voters to target and try to persuade. It is in this very narrow middle that B.C. elections are fought and won.

This dynamic is reflected in the macro view of the election. Both the Liberals and the NDP have a number of seats they know they will win, so they can focus on the swing ridings. It appears that the election will be decided in the Lower Mainland, essentially the suburbs of Vancouver. Specifically, the municipalities of Surrey and Burnaby have a number of races too close to call.

In the rest of the province a few seats will change hands, which will also be significant if the election is close. How close it will be is the bazillion dollar question. The polls have consistently shown the Liberals to be hold a lead of anywhere from two to ten or so percentage points. The usual questions of methodology and bias apply. But most observers are agreed that James and the NDP got a significant boost from the Leaders’ Debate a couple of weeks ago.

Which brings us to the prediction portion of the program. I am in no position to do a seat by seat count, but it looks to me that the most probable outcome is a narrow Liberal victory, somewhere between five and ten seats. Now, here’s the fun part; Social Credit/Liberals win some of their ridings with gigantic majorities, while the NDP uses their ground game to great advantage, often winning close elections with a superior GOTV effort.

So if vote is tight, the Liberals could win the popular vote and lose the seat count. Don’t laugh, it has happened before.

Oh, by the way, also on the ballot is a referendum asking whether B.C. should move from a first past the post (fptp)election system to a Single Transferable Vote or STV. STV is designed to ensure that the seat count more closely reflects the popular vote. It will probably be defeated. Small c conservatives generally favor fptp but it will be interesting to see if they change their tune should the Liberal lose while winning.

Written by slothropia

May 11th, 2009 at 10:43 am