Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some problems for the NDP

There are a few sectors in society that the BC NDP has been able to count on to vote for them in overwhelming numbers, poverty activists, labour activists, environmentalists, and First Nations. This time around they are losing two of these groups.

There has been a very public condemnation of the BC NDP by some of the most serious environmental groups, this has been covered in the media and the blogosphere well enough. All I can add to this is that I suspect this action will help the Greens finish the election with support levels around where they were in 2001.

The one group no one is talking about that the NDP is losing is the First Nations. They may not be much more than a few percent of the population in BC, but they have a significant impact.

To give you an idea of the demographics involved, there about 65 000 aborginal people living on reserve, 120 000 status Indians in BC and 250 000 First Nations people in BC. These populations are concentrated in a few ridings in rural BC.

In rural BC the NDP has been very dependent on the aboriginal vote to get their MLAs elected. There is many a reserve in BC where the First Nations have voted 90%+ for the NDP. The loss of these voters in the north west ridings, two Cariboo ridings, Vancouver Island North riding and Fraser Nicola riding put the NDP MLAs in those areas in serious danger of losing. The only upside to the NDP is that the BC Liberals have been so friendly to the aboriginal people that they may lose enough votes to allow the NDP to survive.

In 1996 the NDP managed to win three rural ridings because of the aboriginal vote on reserve. That was enough seats to give them a second majority government.
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