Saturday, August 20, 2011

The impact of the BC Conservatives

No matter how anyone wants to slice it, the BC Conservatives are the strongest party to the right of the Liberals that we have seen since 1996 - in many ways the BC Conservatives are stronger than BC Reform was in 1996, it is just missing the four sitting MLAs going into an election.

With 50 riding associations and a positive cash flow, the party certainly is doing better than the BC Greens are and really has a claim to being the #3 party in BC.   It seems to be much better organized than BC Reform was in the mid 1990s.   I see the party is picking up a lot of social conservatives and is also gaining a reasonable number of true blue federal Conservatives - the type that could be Republicans in the US and tend to believe Obama is a communist.

If I were to look for an equivalent party in the past, what the BC Conservative remind of the most is the federal Reform party in BC in the late 1980s or early 1990s.   I see similar sets of women in their 60s in the BC Conservatives as were core to the Reform party building a winning team for the 1993 election.

At this point my estimate is that a BC Conservative party will take about 10% of the vote province wide. That vote will in the mid 20s to low 30s in various parts of the interior.   On the Burrard peninsula they will likely be in the range of 3-5%.  At 10% they are not likely to win any seats, but they will very likely cost the Liberals a number of seats.

A good portion of the BC Conservative vote will from the Liberals, but another important will come from people that have not been voting.   Without real right wing party to vote for.  There were 380,000 more people that voted in the 2011 federal election than the 2009 BC election.   The 2008 federal election had 150,000 more votes than 2009.   There is clearly a decent chunk of people out there not voting provincially.   I put it to you that most of these people are social conservatives and are not voting provincially because there was no real right wing party.

What this means is that the Liberals and NDP could retain much the same vote in the next election but have their share of the vote decline by 4-6 percentage points.   I see the Liberals taking some hit, so their vote is likely to be lower.

Adrian Dix may manage to win government with a lower percentage of the vote than Carole James achieved in 2005 and 2009.   He could even win a majority with as little as 38-39% of the vote.  He will directly benefit from the rise of the BC Conservatives unless something like the 1993 federal election in BC or the 2011 federal election in Quebec happens and the BC Conservatives sweep in out of nowhere.

I can hear you say "there is no way this could happen".   The BC Conservatives are now better organized than the NDP was in Quebec, the BC Liberals were in 1991 and only slightly behind where the Reform party was in 1993 in BC.  

The best bet for the premier is to hold off till 2013 to allow for some things to happen that might seriously harm the NDP or the Conservatives.
Post a Comment