Thursday, May 9, 2013

How many people will vote?

This is not an abstract question because the election will be decided by those that vote.   What percentage a party gets is not really important because a drop in vote a different party raises the percentage of the vote for the others.   The NDP could get a higher percentage of the vote in this election and have no one new voters if the BC Liberal voters stay home.  

The polling companies get responses of 80-90% of the people having an opinion on how they will vote but we are unlikely to see a voter turn out of more than 55%.  There is a disconnect their in the polling that I have gone into in the past.   What I wonder is are people motivated to vote in 2013?

In 2009 1,640,542 people voted, which was lower than in 2005 and lower than the vote in the federal elections in BC in 2008 and 2011.   2009 was an uninspiring two party race in BC and the voter turn out is a reflection of that.  

In 2013 I honestly do not see many people motivated to cast a ballot in this election.  There is nothing about the NDP and Liberal campaigns that says to me we are likely to see as many people vote this time as did in 2009.  At the moment I think around 1,550,000  is what we will see as total voter turn out.  I will adjust this as I get some data on advance polling.   I think if the advance vote is under 20-22% we will see a total voter turn out of 50% or less.

Here is how I think the vote will break out:

  • NDP       675,000 - 43.5%
  • Liberals  525,000 - 33.9%
  • Greens    180,000 - 11.6%
  • BC Cons   120,000 -  7.7%
  • Ind/Others 50,000 -  3.2%

So how do I get to these numbers?  And yes, they are estimates and I can not prove that it will happen.

The NDP dropped 40,000 votes from 2005 to 2009 though their percentage of the vote went up.  I have seen nothing that makes me think 2009 NDP voters will not overwhelmingly vote for the party in 2013.  On the other hand I see little that says to me the party has made any dramatic gains.  I think the NDP will see a marginal fall in overall vote.  I am currently predicting a small drop in overall NDP vote because the campaign has not caught the imagination of the public.

The Liberals certainly are not the party of the last two elections and I do not hear people wanting to vote for them that are not partisan supporters already.   There are a number of ridings the BC Liberals were very competitive in in the last election that this time around the party is at best going through the motions - Saanich South and Saanich North and the Islands are two examples in the Victoria area of this.   I see some Liberal vote going to the BC Conservatives, a smaller amount to the Greens and the NDP but the largest group I think will be people who just do not go and vote, much like what happened with the NDP in 2001 but not to that extent.

I do think some people in BC will vote in this election because they have a BC Conservative candidate on the ballot but as a party they are only running in 60 of 85 ridings and in 4 of those their candidates are not listed on the ballot as Conservatives.   I think the BC Conservatives will take 50,000 directly from the BC Liberals and 50,000 will be from people that could not bring themselves to vote in 2009.

Given that we have a record number of independents and a number of with serious full campaigns, when I add the numbers of the vote the best 6-7 of them are likely to get, I arrive at more than 40,000.  Overall there are 86 candidates in this category in 2013 versus 64 in 2009.   The extra candidates gets me to 50,000 votes

As to the Greens, this election they may not have a full slate but they have a lot more candidates actually actively campaigning.   In 30 years provincially and federally the Greens have run only about six of seven serious riding level campaigns and never more than one in any one election.   This election is a fundamentally different one for Greens in Canada   Having Jane Sterk getting high leader approval ratings in the Angus Reid  surveys or the recent one from Ipsos that showed her as the most trusted leader will have an impact on the Green vote.    The regional concentration on Vancouver Island should be worth about 40,000 more votes for the Greens.   In Greater Victoria there is clearly a bleed from the BC Liberals to the Greens.

I will update this as I get advance poll numbers from Elections BC.

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