Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Might be Nothing, But...

So I voted again yesterday (and will vote yet again next week, it's a busy election season). The occasion for the vote was the Provincial byelection for the Downtown Vancouver riding vacated by Lorne Mayencourt as part of his quixotic attempt to be elected as a Conservative in downtown Vancouver during the federal election.

In addition to the downtown vote, a second byelection was held in the almost-downtown Fairview riding. Both were won by the NDP, but the results don't affect the balance of power and the newly elected members won't be around for long before the General Provincial Election next May.

The only thing that really piqued my interest in the results of the byelections was that the B.C. Conservative Party ran candidates in both byelections and got over 4% support in each riding.

I'd never heard of the B.C. Conservative party so I looked up their results from the 2005 election and saw that they obtained a mere 0.55% of the popular vote - which is pretty pitiful - *except* they only ran 7 candidates in the 79 ridings, so in those 7 ridings, they actually averaged about 6% support, getting close to 10% in the two Okanagan ridings they ran in. 10% support for a party that only ran 7 candidates and had 0 profile, organization or money to spend.

So I don't want to read too much into byelection results, but if the B.C. Conservatives are able to get 4% of the vote in downtown Vancouver, how much support could they get across B.C. if they run candidates in areas (like the Okanagan, home to Stockwell Day) where the Federal Conservative party gets over 50% of the popular vote regularly. Especially considering that these areas are filled with clueless right wingers angry about the carbon tax but unwilling to vote for the NDP?

The polls suggest a close election battle between the Liberal and the NDP. A Conservative party that manages to get itself organized long enough to run candidates in a reasonable number of ridings (30+?) could potentially average 10% in the areas they run and could split off enough Liberal votes to elect the NDP in a number of ridings.

The possibilities look similar to the 1996 election when the B.C. reform party split enough of the right wing vote to allow the NDP to form a majority with less than 40% of the popular vote (the Liberals got 42% and Reform got 9%). It's funny that B.C.'s ruling conservative party (the Liberals) could end up losing an election because of their name. And ironic that that outcome (which I only throw out as a possiblity, not a likelihood) could have been avoided had Campbell not set the absurdly high 60% threshold for passage of electoral reform in the referendum held in conjunction with the last election. I might just have to make a donation to the (B.C.) Conservative cause...

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3 Comments:

  • I certainly hope not, the prospect of the NDP getting elected and abolishing the carbon tax scares me.

    It's already enough of a blow to the great policy that Liberals are blaming it for their defeat instead of examining the issues their party needs to deal with, if we get it thrown out in BC too we lose the foothold.

    By Anonymous v, at 10:55 PM  

  • The election is still far enough away that people have time to learn that cap and trade and carbon tax are very similar and both cost industry and consumers. In fact a carbon tax is simpler, more transparent, and less open to manipulation. But a well designed cap and trade would work well, too, and not cost too much more.

    I don't know if the NDP can keep up the false competition between these two long enough to get to the election.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:38 AM  

  • Declan--

    Roller Derby poet and self-professed politics hater Mr. Beer N' Hockey came to a very similar conclusion as you over at my place.

    So I looked around and came to the conclusion that one current Lib-Held Riding that looks ripe for the picking if the Right Flank does become exposed is this one.

    RossK

    .

    By Blogger Gazetteer, at 1:00 PM  

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