Sunday, May 15, 2005

B.C. Election Wind-up

The polls, with the exception of the ones by Robbins SCE Research, have generally given the Liberals a significant lead. My seat estimates (based on the other polls) range between 25 to 28 seats for the NDP, 51 to 54 for the Liberals. There is not all that much difference between the high and low end. Thus, the Strategic Counsel poll lead of 13% is a 54-25 seat split whereas the Mustel 5% lead is a 51-28 division, although there are two additional seats in this latter scenario where the Liberal margin is razor thin and they could therefore easily tilt to the NDP.

The close ridings, which could swing either way according to my calculations, are:

Burnaby Willingdon
Burquitlam (but only if the spread is five points or less)
Cariboo South (same qualifier)
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows
North Island

The Liberals had a slightly more efficient vote distribution in 2001 (unlike 1996) so a tie in the popular vote or even being behind by 1% would still yield them a victory based on this pattern. However, the 2001 election may be a misleading benchmark given the extreme outcome. It is probable that 1996 would be more indicative.

The Greens might elect Adrianne Carr but it would be in defiance of my math, which calculates the NDP as the winner in this riding. Sometimes local electorates think a party leader should be entitled to a seat in the legislature, so I would not be completely surprised if that were to happen. The Green vote in B.C. seems to be particularly inefficiently distributed compared to the other two parties. Their interest in an alternative electoral system makes a great deal of sense from this perspective.

It does appear that Carole James got the better of Campbell in the debate but Liberal ads reminiscing about Glen Clark have reversed the situation. Nonetheless, James appears to be doing well as leader, and seems likely to emerge with the kind of real authority and command of the party not expected when she assumed the role.

Ipsos-Reid polled on the referendum question on electoral reform and found a lead for the ‘YES’ side of 55%-45% among decided voters. I think this means that the referendum, needing 60% with majority support in 48 ridings, will likely fail. Undecided voters, not knowing or understanding what the STV means, are likely to react to proposals for drastic change cautiously, and thus break disproportionately for the ‘NO’ side.

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