Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13th, more reviews of what happened

The Vote is Getting Entrenched:

In general, ridings became more strongly for one party or the other. There are fewer ridings where the two major parties are less than ten percentage points apart. Going into the election, 35 of the new seats were nominally won by less than 10%. This has been reduced to only 21 seats after the election with a margin of less than 10%

Going into the election, the Liberals held four seats with more than 60% and the NDP three. None were over 70%. After the election the Liberals won 9 with more than 60%, one over 70% and the NDP won 6 with over 60% and one over 70%. This is a shift from seven super safe seats to 16.

At the bottom end, things are also more extreme, in 2009 the NDP failed to reach 30% in 14 ridings and failed to reach 20% in three, the notional numbers going in were eight and one. The Liberals failed to reach 30% in seven, previously this was four. This is rise from 12 seats were one of the two major parties was a fringe element to 21 seats.

Think about, in almost one quarter of the ridings in BC there is no danger of a race in any normal situation.

Safe Seats
  • Liberals - 37
  • NDP - 27

Decline of Other Parties:

The 2005 results in the 2009 boundaries had the Greens with more than 10% in 21 ridings along with 4 other candidates. In this election only 12 Greens broke 10%. The Conservatives had six of their candidates break 10%, that is 1/4 of their total slate. Beyond Vicki Huntingdon in Delta South that came two votes short of winning, there was Arthur Hadland in Peace River North that took 32% of the vote.

If one were to factor in Vicki Huntingdon and Arthur Hadland into the Conservative vote, both of them are clearly to the right of the Liberals, this would boost the Conservatives to 44 753 or 2.91% of the vote province wide, which if there was a full slate would be close to 10% of the vote.

Dramatic drop in Voter Turnout:

For the first time in BC history, the total number of voters dropped from the last election. In 2005 1,762,450 people voted, this time the final total will around 1,550 000. This is a drop of over 200 000 voters. All the parties had trouble getting their vote out, I should rephrase that, all the parties failed horribly in getting their vote out.

The election was a boring one and there was much to turn voters off in the election. Given the increase in party strength in the ridings they won, the parties may simply been good at getting the vote out where they already looked like they could win and the other party supporters simply stayed home.

Close to 300 000 people voted in the advance polls, leaving only 1 250 000 people voting on election day.

Outlook to 2013:

If the Conservatives were to field a full slate, they should be able to take around 8-10% of the vote in 2013. Will this have an impact on the election? In my opinion less so than many other factors. I suspect that the Conservatives will not take that many votes from the Liberals, but will bring more people out to vote. As an example from this election, Boundary Similkameen had a strong Conservative candidate but also had a turnout of close to 60%. In Kootenay East Bill Bennett managed to retain his vote total in the election and Wilf Hanni took 10% of the total vote.

The Conservatives are not BC Reform in 1996, they have no seats they are holding at the moment that they will be defending in the next election

I suspect that we will not see a James v Campbell race again. I expect both leaders to step down.

Of the 20 ridings that will be considered "in play" after this election, 11 are held by the Liberals and 9 by the NDP. I am taking Delta South out of this mix because the NDP is not a factor there.

Baring things we can not know, the NDP is starting the 2013 election with 27 seats won and the Liberals with 37 seats won. The Liberals only need to win seven of the 21 closest ridings to win a working fourth majority government. You need to win the election 44 to 41 to have a working majority in the legislature, a 43 to 42 win means once the speaker is chosen the parties are tied. Conversely, the NDP has to win 17 of the 20 'in play' ridings. Keep in mind Delta South is 'in play' for the Liberals and not for the NDP.

Where this puts us is that the NDP could win the popular vote in 2013 and lose the election. My estimate is that the NDP would have to be ahead of the BC Liberals by about 3 percentage points to be in the range of winning a working majority.
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