Monday, February 4, 2013

Independent vote in past BC elections

BC has not often voted for independent candidates and only elected one, that being Vicki Huntingdon in Delta South in 2009.   The 2013 election could be a significant change from the past because of the number of independent candidates running serious campaigns.

Here is how independents have done in the past:
Election # Ind   Ind     Ind %   avg per   
      Candidates Vote   of Vote  candidate
2009     14     17,253  1.05%    1,232
2005     28     17,599  1.00%      687
2001     30     14,588  0.92%      487
1996     23     10,067  0.64%      438
1991     16     10,281  0.70%      643

Most of the vote for independents in any given election has normally been captured by only 2-3 candidates and in many cases sitting MLAs running as independents.  

2009 notable results
Vicki Huntingdon (9,977 votes) won in Delta South, Arthur Hadland (2,899 votes) came second in Peace River North and David Marley (1,489 votes) come a close to the 3rd place Green in West Vancouver Capilano.   These three candidates accounted for 83.26% of the independent vote

2005 notable results
Vicki Huntingdon (8,043 votes) came second in Delta South, Paul Nettleton (2,158 votes), sitting MLA, came third in Prince George Mount Robson.  These two candidate represent 57.96% of the independent vote.

2001 notable results
Rick Kasper, sitting MLA, (5.164 votes) came second in Malahat Juan de Fuca Jeremy Dalton sitting MLA (1,365 votes) came third in West Vancouver Capilano.  These two candidates represent 44.76% of the independent vote.

1996 notable results
Bob Chisholm, sitting MLA (5,736 votes) came third in Chilliwack, he represents 56.98% of the independent vote.

1991 notable results
Chris D'Arcy, sitting MLA (3,802 votes) came second in Rossland Trail, Jack Kempf, sitting MLA (2,842 votes) came third in Bulkley Valley Stikine, William Kordyban (1,393 votes) came third in Prince George Mount Robson.  These three candidates represent 78.17% of the independent vote

Here are the notable 2013 independent candidates and my estimate of their vote total:

  • Vicki Huntingdon Delta South  11,000
  • Bob Simpson Cariboo North 8,500
  • Moe Gill Abbotsford West 6,000
  • John Van Dongen Abbotsford South 6,000
  • Arthur Hadland Peace River North 4,000
  • Gary Law Richmond Centre 3,000

This is 38,500 votes for these six candidates or what will be about 2.2% of the vote province wide.   I suspect we will see another 20 independents run province wide and I expect them to average around 300 votes each, a bit more than the long term average.  This would mean 44,500 people are likely to vote for an independent candidate in the May 2013 election, this will likely be 2.5% of the vote.

I wonder if media focus on the strong independent candidates will cause more people to run as independents?    You only need to be nominated by 75 voters in the electoral district you want to run in and provide a $250 deposit.  I have no way to estimate this, but give the public mood towards politics, it does not seem improbable that there could be a significant rise in independent candidates.   50 to 70 independent candidates seems possible to me.
If there is province wide media coverage of the notable independent candidates, could this then cause people elsewhere to vote for an independent in their area?   Independent makes for a good place for a "screw them all" vote by the public.  I think that the non-notable independent candidates could average more like 500 votes.  

Factoring the last two possibilities, the total independent vote could be 63,500 to 73,500 or around 4% of all the votes in the province.

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