I am watching the ads and media releases from the BC Liberals and what I see is a campaign not to win the election, but a campaign to try and give enough comfort for core supporters of the party to be able to justify a decision to vote for the party. This first became evident to me when I watched the 30 minute BC Liberal ad on April 14th and I asked my 18 year old son "Who do you think they are trying to convince with this thing?" and he answered "Themselves".
It is clear that the party is taking the approach of repeating various asinine assertions such as a coming LNG boom over and over again as if it was the truth in hopes that the 30% of people that are not comfortable voting NDP or BC Conservative will come out and vote for the BC Liberals. The message is really about giving the wavering Liberal voters a way to justify a decision that are not likely comfortable with. It is all about convinced the core that the party is trying hard to win. This approach might work for someone people but I do not think it is really going to do much for the party.
I have been asking people I know that are not politically involved and people that I meet while shopping about what they think of the BC Liberal campaign. What I am getting for anyone that is paying attention is that they do not believe the premier and that the ads are making them much less willing to consider voting for the Liberals. The message is not resonating with the public that I can see.
The only people I have interacted with that are supportive of the 2013 BC Liberal campaign are those that are actively involved with it but with too many of them it seems like they are only going through the motions. The defense of the more outrageous claims of the premier only seem to get support that is a complete parroting of the core party message - there is nothing personal in what they are saying or writing. We can see BC Liberal candidates that see the problems with this approach and are running on their own name more than the party's name.
I think it is clear that the BC Liberals have given up all hope of winning the election and are now running a campaign to try and hold a core of 20 seats on election day. The problem with this is that the party limits what it can achieve but at the same time has no guarantee it can hold the people on board with the campaign. I do not think it will motivate people to come out and vote and that could very well make a BC Liberal collapse a possibility in this election.
By effectively giving up trying to win the election, the BC Liberals create a very uncertain electoral paradigm. The urgency to vote NDP or BC Liberal to stop the other one is no longer there. As voters begin to understand this they are freed to vote for what they really want and not hold their nose. We could see some very surprising results on May 14th.