Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You can get a lot of votes and still lose.

They way our electoral boundaries are set up leads to some odd results. In this election 39 candidates managed to get more than 10 000 votes, four of them lost. Those four people that lost were more popular that 50 of the people headed to Victoria as MLAs. For the record these popular losers were:

  • Gary Holman - NDP Saanich North and the Islands - 12118
  • Leslie MacNabb - NDP Comox Valley - 11593
  • Jessica Van der Veen - NDP Oak Bay Gordon Head - 10736
  • Robin Adair - Liberal Saanich South - 10728
Notice that they were all on Vancouver Island and three of them in the Victoria area. In fact 13 of the 14 island New Democrats broke 10 000 votes, province wide they only managed that 22 times. They also broke 10 000 votes in Powell River Sunshine Coast. The only riding they did not get 10 000 votes on the island was Parksville Qaulicum where they missed by less than 200 votes.

The Liberals also had five candidates with more than 10 000 votes on the island. They had 12 in the rest of province.

There were five ridings in BC were the total vote did not break 10 000 voters:

  • Peace River South - 7138
  • Stikine - 7961
  • Nechako Lakes - 8381
  • Peace River North - 8440
  • North Coast - 8579
Three candidates managed to get over 14000 votes:

  • Colin Hansen Liberal - 14920
  • Rich Coleman Liberal - 14576
  • Gordon Hogg - 14213
These candidates got close to twice the total vote in the lowest voting ridings in the province.

The top five ridings for total vote

  • Saanich North and the Islands - 27647
  • Comox Valley - 27307
  • Parksville Qaulicum - 25771
  • Oak Bay Gordon Head - 24154
  • Cowichan Valley 24116
Several more Vancouver Island ridings are in the top ten. The vote in these ridings is much as three of the lowest vote ridings. This means a vote in Stikine is worth three times a vote is in Oak Bay Gordon Head.

Vancouver Island has too few MLAs for the number of people that are living here.

This concentration on the island is bad for the NDP, one quarter of their vote province wide was on the Island. The island only represents 16.5% of the seats. On the island the NDP averaged 11541 votes per riding, in the rest of the province it was 6830 votes per riding.

The Liberals got 16.2% of their vote on the Island and averaged 8180 per riding on the island. In the rest of BC the Liberals averaged 8358 votes per riding.

On the Island the NDP has an average 3200 vote advantage over the Liberals, in the rest of the province the Liberals are ahead by 1500 votes.


Paul Holmes said...

Great number crunching, Bernard.

I did a bit of my own at

The old "vote-splitting" argument...

liberalmulroney said...

You make a good point, but you don't mention that turnout in the North was exceptionally low and that turnout in close Island ridings was exceptionally high.

Bernard said...

Turn out in the northern and rural ridings has not been much different than turn out on the Island. The peace had a very low turn out, the some are in the mid 50s and Stikine is at almost 65%.

On the island, 4 ridings were around 63%, the other ten were in the mid 50s.

So I would say things are no worse on the Island than in rural and northern BC

liberalmulroney said...

As I said, it's a good point, but it's about eligible voters/riding rather than votes cast/riding. Total votes cast is a function of eligible voters per riding and turnout. The turnout is incidental. In your example, you compared ridings with very high turnout on the Island to ridings with mixed turnout in the North (Stikine was very high, but the Peace Rivers were very low, don't know about North Coast or Nechako) inflates your point.