Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How relevant will the BC Conservatives be after today?

Whatever comes of today between the BC Conservatives and the dissidents almost does not matter any longer because I really can not see any scenario in which the BC Conservatives will be able to win any seats.   Even if this on going revolt against Cummins were not going on I do not think the BC Conservatives would be a serious threat to winning seats next May.

The BC Conservatives do not seem to have doing the work needed to win seats in the next election.   Since early 2011 the party has had a leader the media was interested in talking to and reporting about but the organizing needed to win seats has not been going on.

The party has a lot less money than the I would have expected it to have by this point.   2011 was not nearly as good in fundraising as it should have been.  What was filed after the by-elections and then the financials shared at the AGM both show that the scale of fundraising is still not really large enough for a province wide party.

The party has many new constituency associations but few seem to have put the effort into building the local organization needed to win an election.  When I looked at them, the trend seemed to be that the ones against John Cummins were less well organized than the others.

There does not seem to be much work done on building a concentrated geographic base of support for the party.   For a third party to win seats they have to have votes concentrated enough to win.  In 2001 we can see how well the BC Greens did with 12.4% of the vote, no seats..  Contrast that to BC Reform in 1996 that managed 9.3% 1996 and won two seats and came close in some others - yes they had incumbents that were running.   From looking through the financials of the local CAs, the strength of the BC Conservatives seems to be on mid Vancouver Island which does not seem like an area where they have an realistic chance of winning even with a lot of money in the bank which they do not have.

Based on the 2009 election along with historical results federally and provincially, the BC Conservatives should have been putting a lot of effort into the five Fraser Valley ridings and the seven in the Okanagan.  It is those dozen ridings that should provide them with the best chance of winning but I do not see effort being put into them.

The party should have done better in the Chilliwack-Hope by-election.   The evidence now is that there was not a lot of support on the ground for the John Martin campaign.  They did not mobilized hundreds of volunteers or have a large inflow of donations.

Let us say the dissidents manage to get John Cummins to step down, then what?  They still have no money.  There is obvious replacement choice for leader.   The dissidents have not shown themselves to be particularly good at political organizing - when only 200 people come to the AGM and you can get your people elected to the board speaks volumes to your organizing skills.

I still think the BC Conservatives are likely to get about 200,000 votes in the next provincial election with John Cummins as leader.  I see most of these votes coming from social conservatives that did not vote in 2009 but did vote federally in 2008 and 2011. Without John Cummins I am not convinced the BC Conservatives will manage to run a full slate and I think they will fall to fourth place behind the Greens much as Unity BC did in 2001.

I do think that the number of 2009 BC Liberal votes the BC Conservatives take in 2013 will be a small amount, I would be surprised if it was more than 30,000 to 40,000 at the most.
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