Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Impact of a serious BC Conservative Party on the next election

Let us assume that the BC Conservatives have a serious leader and run a 85 seat campaign, what would the impact be on the next provincial election?

I am going to look at federal and provincial elections and see what the core vote of each party is and what could happen if there were a serious BC Conservative party running

The NDP has about 700,000 provincial voters and about 500,000 federally.   This means they are pulling in 200,000 federal voters from elsewhere, most likely the Liberals

The Liberals has about 750,000 provincial voters and about 500,000 federal voters.   With 200,00 federal voters going to the BC NDP, this leaves them with 300,000 of their 750,000 that vote Liberal federally provincially and federally.

The Conservatives and ilk are at somewhere around 750,000 voters federally of which 450,000 vote Liberal provincially.  They do take about 50,000 provincially at the moment.   There are something on the order of 250,000 missing federal voters, most of them social conservatives.   They could be brought out to vote provincially, let us give most them to the Conservatives.

Two things that come out of this analysis, the majority of federal Liberals and federal Conservatives vote Liberal provincially, though not an overwhelming one in either case.

Let us say the BC Liberals can hold onto their 300,000 federal voters and keep just under 1/4 of the federal Conservatives.   This leaves them at 400,000.

In this scenario the next election looks like this:

  • BC NDP 700,000 - 36.8%
  • BC Conservatives 650,000 - 34.2%
  • BC Liberals 400,000 - 21.1%
  • Greens 150,000 - 7.9%

The NDP total vote has not dropped but their percentage of the vote from 42.2% to 36.8%

I do not worked out an exact breakdown of this in seats, but my rough estimate is:

  • BC NDP - 38
  • BC Conservatives - 25
  • BC Liberals - 20
  • Ind - 2 - Bob Simpson and Vicki Huntingdon

Why does this occur and we do not see a huge increase in NDP seats?   This is because the Conservatives and Liberal vote, if it follows some of the Federal patterns, splits very strongly regionally.

Let us refine a bit further, what if some of those 200,000 federal Liberals that have voted NDP provincially go home to the BC Liberals?   Say one in three of them, this would drop the NDP vote to lower than the BC Conservative vote and could mean a Conservative government.

  • BC Conservatives 650,000
  • BC NDP 633,000
  • BC Liberals 467,000
  • Greens 150,000

The seat break down, very roughly - keep mind this is a very rough estimate

  • BC Conservatives - 32
  • BC NDP - 28
  • BC Liberals - 23
  • Ind - 2

I am not saying this is going to happen, I am simply pointing out that based on federal and provincial voting patterns there is a potential for a dramatic change to the political landscape in BC.  We have seen it before with the 1952 and 1991 provincial elections and the 1993 federal election.

With a more muted result in which the BC Liberals hold a lot more federal Conservatives


  • BC NDP 700,000
  • BC Liberals 600,000
  • BC Conservatives 350,000
  • Greens 150,000


Seat break down estimate - once again really roughly


  • BC NDP - 38
  • BC Liberals - 30
  • BC Conservatives - 15
  • Ind - 2
The NDP will be hard pressed to get a majority in a scenario where there is a strong right wing party, the BC NDP needs the Conservatives to run in the range of 9-15% of the vote, or about 250,000 voter range.   If the Conservatives are too strong, they do not leave enough seats for the NDP to win the seats needed to be a majority government.
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