Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016 BC by-elections compared to the 2012 BC by-elections

On April 19th 2012 BC had two by-elections, Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope.  Both were held by the BC Liberals and in both cases the NDP won the seats.   The Greens did not run any candidates in the races but the BC Conservatives did and put a lot of effort into winning the Chilliwack-Hope by-election.

The BC Liberal melt-down was heralded by many (and yes by myself as well) as a sign of a government on the way out.   It was also an indication of how weak the Greens were and the rising strength of the BC Conservatives.   As it turned out, the by-election had no connection to the provincial election a year later.   The Liberals won a majority, the NDP lost both seats, the BC Conservatives melted away and the Greens won one seat, came very close in a second and pushed the BC Liberals into third place in two more.

Four years later and we have two by-elections, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.   This time not only are the Greens running candidates, the Greens are actually putting effort into the campaigns.   The BC Conservatives have not nominated any candidates.   So far I have not heard anyone suggesting that the party that last held the seat is not going to win it again.

Is there anything the 2016 by-elections can tell us about the 2017 election?   Here is my take:
  • If the Liberals hold Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and come in second in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant I think they are well positioned to realistically win in 2017
  • The Greens deliberately did not run in 2012 for financial and resource reasons.   The BC Conservatives are not running candidates in 2016 because I do not think they could find anyone willing to run for them.   It says to me the BC Conservatives will be a non factor in the 2017 election unless something dramatic happens like a serious former MP were to take over the leadership.   
  • If the NDP can win the Coquitlam-Burke Mountain by-election it would say to me the party is better organized than I think or the mood of the public is much more anti-Christy than I am hearing.   It is what the NDP needs to get some momentum 
  • I think for the Greens a success would be breaking 20% in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and 10% in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.   A good result would be coming second in either seat, a very good result would be to come second in both of them, and a stelllar result would be to win either one.   Though I have trouble seeing Joey Keithley winning in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and the NDP losing Vancouver-Mount Pleasant would be stunning.   The Liberals could not take it in 2001.
  • Interesting is that the BC Libertarians have managed to nominate a candidate in both seats.   I still do no think they will get much more than 1% to 2% of the vote.
We are 21 days till the by-election and they are getting almost no media whereas the 2012 by-elections were getting headline news.   No one seems to care and for that reason I think the results will not really matter.

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