Friday, April 20, 2012

Looking some more at Chilliwack-Hope

First, yes, I agree, I missed the NDP winning this.  I did not read the dynamic of the race correctly and misread who was motivated to vote and who was not.

Look at the total vote over a series elections:

Party       1991   1996   2001   2005   2009   2012
Liberals    8601   8977  13814  11368   9885   4399
Right Wing  7619   3110      0      0   1198   3548
NDP         5866   5749   2155   6534   5638   5772
Greens       241    220   1511   1651    951      0
Others         0   5548    968    343     93    294
Spoiled      408    107     94    118     95
Total      22149  24467  18542  20014  16960  14013
Libs+Right 16220  17635  13814  11368  11083   7947
Right wing means Socred in 1991, Reform in 1996 and Conservative in 2009 and 2011.  In 1996 MLA Bob Chisholm ran as an independent

The turnout was around 42%, which is decent for a by-election.

The NDP clearly managed to get roughly the same number of long term votes they get in this area.   The only election they were not in the 6000+-500 vote range was in 2001.   Add 3500 to 4000 to the 2001 result and the total voter turn out rises to 22,000 to 22,500.

What I take from this is that the people voting NDP are more motivated to get out and vote and supporters of the BC Liberals and conservatives generally were not motivated to vote.    Even if one adds the 2009 Green vote to the NDP support, the outcome in the by-election is better than the turnout would have predicted.  NDP supporters turnout at about a 53% level.  Yes, some of this is because some BC Liberal voters voted for the NDP, certainly Laurie Throness is too far to the right for some federal Liberal types.

The combined centre-right and right vote was down 3100 and 3400 from the last two general elections.  On a 42% turnout in the by-election, with all else equal, the right would have had 9000 votes, 1000 more than they achieved.   The effective turn out the right was more like 36%.  

Even if the right had achieved a higher turnout and the NDP turnout was lower,  the Liberals would likely still have won.  It would have been a very close race.

Over 21 years the fall in support in this area has all been on the right.   Federally in the same area over the same time the right wing vote has held up better when one adjusts for changes to the riding populations.   Turnout federally in 2008 and 2011 is running seven percentage points higher than the provincial turnout in 2009.   Applied provincially, this is shortfall of 2400 voters.

So what was the impact of no Green candidate?  If a Green ran, I suspect they would have taken around 700 votes.  So where would those votes come from?   I suspect 150 from the Libertarian, 300 from the NDP and 250 from non-voters.   I do not think a Green would have had any impact on the by-election.'   

If in the general election next year we have a turn out of 52-55%, this will mean 3300 to 4300 more voters than in this by-election.   Who would these voters be?   Are there enough NDP supportive voters for them to retain the seat?  Can the Liberals gain enough in the votes to make up the 1400 vote gap?   Will enough Conservative voters vote Liberal in 2013 to change the outcome?  Without knowing what will happen on the right over the next ten months, it is hard to say now how this seat will turnout in 2013.
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