Saturday, April 20, 2013

Does it matter if a party runs a full slate or not in BC elections?

It is not certain yet if the BC Conservatives and the BC Greens will manage to get to a full slate of candidates in this election.   Both parties have said there are some independents they will not be running candidates against so they will not be running full slates but could still have more than 80 candidates each, but how important is it for parties to run full slates?   Should they concentrate on where they can win, which seems to be what the BC Greens are doing.

Time to look at the past history of third, fourth, fifth and sixth parties in BC over the last 40 years.

I am not looking at the NDP/CCF at anytime or the BC Liberals  from 1996 on or Social Credit 1991 and earlier. I am also only going back to 1975 because before that election BC had a 23 year history of three major parties in elections.

Manged to run a full slate
Party    Election Elected % of vote
BC Greens  2009     0       8.21%
BC Greens  2005     0       9.18%
Marijuana  2001     0       3.22%
BC Reform  1996     2       9.27% - both of the elected MLAs were incumbents

Did not manage a full slate but ran in more than 50% of the seats
Party     Election # of cand elected % of the vote 
Marijuana   2005     44/79     0       0.65%
BC Greens   2001     72/79     0      12.39%
Unity       2001     56/79     0       3.23%
BC Green    1996     71/75     0       1.99%
PDA         1996     66/75     1       5.74%  - elected MLA was an incumbent
Socred      1996     38/75     0       0.40%
BC Libs     1991     71/75    17      33.25%
BC Greens   1991     42/75     0       0.86%
BC Libs     1986     55/69     0       6.74%
BC Libs     1983     52/57     0       2.69%
PCs         1979     37/57     0       5.06%
BC Libs     1975     49/55     1       7.24% - elected MLA was an incumbent
PCs         1975     29/55     1       3.86% - elected MLA was an incumbent

The parties in bold were part of the leader's debates in their that election.   I am not certain who was included in any debates in the 70s if there were any.

Clearly running a full slate or close to a full slate is not any sort of magic wand that makes the party do well though it seems to have been a good tool for the media to use to decide which parties deserve to get coverage in an election and which ones do not.

Only twice in the nine elections since 1972 has a party managed to get more than 10% of the vote - the BC Liberals in 1991 and the BC Greens in 2001.   Since the break down of the 1952-1975 three major party model of elections BC has not been a fertile ground for the success of third parties.

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