Monday, April 27, 2009

Reading the few tea leaves I have to work with

Ipsos had a recent poll that measured who the public thought did the best job with the campaign so far, had their opinion of a party improved or worsened and who would make the best premier.

I am looking at the first and last questions as proxies for party support. Who has run the best campaign should closely reflect voting intention. In answering the question and factoring out the 34% that did not know or did not have answer, the parties would be at:
  • Liberals - 61.5%
  • NDP - 32.3%
  • Greens - 6.2%

Clearly the Liberals are much too high, there is no realistic way they are going to get over 60% of the vote. The Greens are also too low, I would be very surprised if they got less than 12% in this election. The NDP number looks low, but not dramatically low.

How I read these numbers is that the NDP floor in the election is 32.3% and the Greens are at 6.2% as a floor. Clearly both parties have people that should be leaning towards them in support that thing the Liberals are doing a better job in the campaign.

Jumping now to the last question, who would make the best premier, once we factor out the 20% that did not state a preference, we are left with:
  • Campbell and the Liberals - 55%
  • James and the NDP - 37.5%
  • Sterk and the Greens - 7.5%

These numbers are closer to realistic election results. I suspect the Green number is low because no one thinks Jane Sterk could be premier.

So what do I think these numbers indicate for party support? Here is my best estimate

  • Liberals - 48% (45 - 51)
  • NDP - 35% (33 - 37)
  • Greens - 14% (12 - 16)
  • Others - 3% (2-4)
Keep in mind this is only an estimate.

Using this estimate, where do we end up in seats?
Liberals - 66
NDP - 19
Greens - 0
Ind - 0

I was testing the mood in Delta South, my old stomping grounds, and the sails in the Vicki Huntingdon campaign are losing teh breeze. The move by Wally Oppal to run there has stemmed what looked like a loss to me, certainly I would have expected the Liberal Val Roddick to lose if she ran again against Vicki.

The Greens may set a new record in BC in this election. The highest popular vote anyone has ever managed in BC and not elect an MLA was the Greens in 2001 with 12.39% of the vote. In 1963 the Progressive Conservatives managed 11.27% but did not run a full slate, their candidates averaged 13.42%.

If the Greens do manage to get over 13% of the vote on election day, the odds that some of it will be concentrated enough to elect and MLA goes up. By the time that rises to 15%, I would not take a bet that the Greens will be shut out. Where do I think the Greens might elect someone? Here is my list of most likely ridings, though guessing where an unexpected breakthrough is going to come is mugs game:

  • Esquimalt Royal Roads
  • Vancouver West End
  • Nanaimo North Cowichan
  • Cowichan Valley
  • Victoria Beacon Hill

Why am I chosing these? Demographically they all have strong communities that are interested in the evironment as an issue. The Greens are running active campaigns on the ground in these areas. There is either no sitting MLA or the MLA is either not well know or not very popular locally.

The impact of the Conservatives will not be dramatic on the election. I am estimating they will average about 10% in the ridings where they run with this being higher in the southern interior than elsewhere. The weakness of the NDP in most of the southern interior will not allow them to benefit from the vote split. Boundary Similkameen is one riding that may have an interesting result. I have no on the ground knowledge of what is going on there on the ground which makes it hard for me to judge.

The Conservatives could end up with some second place finishes in the Okanagan in this election which places the party in a good position to build itself into a serious contendor for seats in 2013, though that supposes they do not kill themselves with infighting.

I welcome comments.
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