Tuesday, May 14, 2013

BC election results

Party Leader Seats Popular Vote %
Liberal Christy Clark 50 723,618 44.41
N.D.P. Adrian Dix 33 643,399 39.49
Green Jane Sterk 1 130,471 8.01
Conservative John Cummins 0 77,800 4.77
Libertarian none 0 1,830 0.11
BC First Salvatore Vetro 0 1,128 0.07
Excalibur Party Michael Halliday 0 873 0.05
BC Vision Jagmohan Bhandari 0 766 0.05
Christian Heritage Wilfred Hanni 0 762 0.05
Marijuana Marc Emery 0 665 0.04
Your Political Party James Filippelli 0 478 0.03
BC Party none 0 419 0.03
Communist Samuel Hammond 0 360 0.02
Social Credit none 0 355 0.02
Helping Hand Party Alan Saldanha 0 262 0.02
Unparty Michael Donovan 0 226 0.01
Advocational Party Michael Yawney 0 131 0.01
Work Less Party Conrad Schmidt 0 126 0.01
Platinum Party Espavo Sozo 0 51 0.00
Independents N/A 1 45,702 2.80

Turnout: 52%

Seat %

Popular vote %

British Columbia provincial election projection maps

Today is the day of the B.C. provincial election, and unfortunately, unlike past provincial elections, I had not been doing routine projection. However, I couldn’t let the election period go by without doing some sort of projection, so I have crunched the most recent polls to come up with a purely math based projection to see how the results tonight may turnout. In previous projections, I have liked to factor in what I like to call “qualitative” data- that is taking a look at what people are saying about various districts to get a sense of how they may differ from normal trends. In my math-based projection, I have ignored this completely. For example, while I believe the Greens will win the riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head, my math based projection shows otherwise, because I have purposely not taken into consideration local factors this time. I want to be able to show a transparent projection this time.

For my projection, I have taken a look at the most recent polls from Justason, Ipsos-Reid, Forum Research, Hill & Knowlton and Angus Reid. These are the only pollsters that had regional crosstabs. The most common regional breakdowns used are “Metro Vancouver”, “Vancouver Island” and “Interior”. So, I have taken an average of the regional breakdowns for those three areas (taking out the polls that don’t use those regional breakdowns) and looked for the difference between the 2009 provincial election results in those regions and the average:

Liberal avg.(change from 2009)
NDP avg. (change from 2009)
Green avg. (change from 2009)
Cons avg. (change from 2009)
Other avg. (change from 2009)
38 (-8.8)
38.5 (-0.4)
10.5 (+2.6)
9 (+4.0)
5 (+3.5)
Vancouver Island
29.2 (-9.5)
44.4 (-5.6)
18.4 (+8.0)
7 (+6.7)
1.8 (+1.0)
Metro Vancouver
34.5 (-13.9)
47.55 (+6.4)
9.6 (+2.2)
5.45 (+4.8)
2.8 (+0.6)

Next, I factored in these swings to each riding in their respected three regions. For the Liberals and the NDP, I also factored in the trend between the 2005 and 2009 elections. So, if a riding is trending Liberal, that riding will not see as adverse swing as a riding that is trending NDP (and vise vera). Whatever percentage I got from this, I used in my projection. It’s not the best way of doing it, but at least it will give a good idea of how the election will shape up.

Here is the map:

Math based projection

For the record, this gives us 53 NDP seats, 30 Liberals and 2 Independents. Seats that were decided within 5% include Boundary-Similkameen, Cariboo-Chilcotin, Chilliwack, Kamloops-North Thompson, Comox Valley, Oak Bay-Gordon Head, Langley, North Vancouver-Lonsdale, Port Moody-Coquitlam, Surrey-Panorama, Peace River North and Vancouver-Langara. It is safe to say that most of these ridings will be one’s to watch tonight. The two independent seats are Delta South and Peace River North. Delta South was won by an Independent last election, and the Independent who did quite well in Peace River North in 2009 is running again.

But of course, using math is not the only way to make an election projection. I also scoured the internet last night to find what other projectors were saying. I compiled the results, and made another map based on their cumulative projections. I took a look at electionpredictions.org, The Tye, Teddy Boragina, BC Iconoclast, threehundredeight.com, Global TV, tooclosetocall.ca and BC2013.com. It should be noted that some of these projectors may have made predictions this morning that may affect the map. But, it does serve as another useful tool in predicting the election. Because I used 8 predictors, there were several ridings that were evenly split in terms of which party was projected to win. These were Prince George-Valemount (4 NDP, 4 Liberal), Cariboo North (3 Independent, 3 Liberal, 1 NDP, 1 too close to call), Chilliwack (4 NDP, 4 Liberal), Oak Bay-Gordon Head (3 NDP, 3 Green, 1 Liberal, 1 too close to call) and Vancouver-Langara (4 NDP, 4 Liberal). My math based projection has these ridings going the following:

*Prince George-Valemount: Liberal (43%-36%)
*Cariboo North: NDP (50%-36%) – the sitting MLA, an independent and former NDPer complicates things.
*Chilliwack: NDP (36%-32%)
*Oak Bay-Gordon Head: NDP (39%-37%) – a strong Green campaign complicates things
*Vancouver-Langara: Liberal (45%-41%)

Aggregate prediction map from 8 predictors

The cumulative projections also differ from my projection in a number of ridings. In addition to the ties, these include Vernon-Monashee (I have going Liberal), Chilliwack-Hope (I have going Liberal, but the riding does have an NDP MLA thanks to a by-election), Comox Valley (I have going Liberal) and Parksville-Qualicum (I have going Liberal). Really, there is not much difference, but it does look like other projectors are slightly more NDP-friendly in terms of their predictions. In looking at the cumulative results, there are 5 ties, 2 ridings to go independent, 25 Liberal and 53 New Democrat seats. Oh, and for the record on both these maps, Liberal Premier Christy Clark loses her seat. 

Polls will be closing at 8PM Pacific tonight (11pm). Expect some commentary from me on my Twitter feed. I just hope it doesn’t go too late into the night!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Labrador by-election

Hidden amongst the British Columbia election coverage is another election of significance on the other side of the country. The federal riding of Labrador, voters will be going to the polls today to elect a new MP (or to re-elect the same one). You see, back in March the sitting MP and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Conservative Peter Penashue, resigned his seat due to conflict of interest allegations and election campaign irregularities associated with his election in 2011. However, Penashue resigned under the condition he could run again, so he could win the seat fair and square.

Map of Labrador showing municipalities and unincorporated communities and unorganized areas.

The 2011 election Labrador was one of the closest races in the country. Penashue defeated the sitting incumbent, Liberal Todd Russell by just 74 votes. Penashue's election was a huge surprise, considering the fact that Labrador was one of the safest Liberal seats in the country. It had only elected a Tory once (in 1968) since Newfoundland joined confederation in 1949. Plus, the Russell had won the seat in 2008 with 70% of the vote, while the Tory candidate finished third with just 8%. Penashue's election thus came with a swing of a massive 31.5% from the Liberals to Conservatives.

At just 27,000 people, Labrador is the least populated riding in Canada. It is even less populated then any of Canada's three territories. Its existence as a riding is protected by extraordinary circumstances clause in the redistribution act which allows for ridings to exceed provincial averages if it is deemed as an extraordinary riding. Labrador is seen as a cohesive unit in of itself, and is very isolated from the rest of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, the riding was not always deemed extraordinary. It has only existed as a riding consisting of itself since 1988. Before that it was lumped with part of the Island of Newfoundland and was known as “Grand Falls—White Bay—Labrador” from 1953 to 1988. Before that, the word “Labrador” wasn't even in the riding name, and the riding was named just “Grand Falls—White Bay”.

Former Members of Parliament:

  1. T.G.W. Ashbourne, Liberal (1949-1958)
  2. C.R.M. Granger, Liberal (1958-1966)
  3. Andrew Chatwood, Liberal (1966-1968)
  4. A.H. Peddle, Prog. Cons. (1968-1972)
  5. W.H. Rompkey, Liberal (1972-1996)
  6. L.D. O'Brien, Liberal (1996-2005)
  7. T.N. Russell, Liberal (2005-2011)
  8. Peter Penashue, Conservative (2011-2013)

For most of its history, the riding has mostly experienced Liberal blowouts (1949, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1974, 1980, 1993, 2000, 2004 and 2008) and the occasionally semi competitive races that turned out to be fool's gold for the Tories (1972, 1984, 1988, 1996 by-election with the Reform Party, 2005 by-election and 2006). The NDP has had some history in this riding to, due to the mining industry in Labrador City. The party nearly won the seat in 1979, and had a strong campaign in 1997. The NDP has held the riding of Labrador West provincially in the past.

Political geography
Despite its remoteness, Labrador is a rather diverse riding. Along the south coast on the Strait of Belle Isle, there are a number of Anglo-Irish fishing villages that are more similar to the rest of Newfoundland than the rest of Labrador. Further north along the coast you have more fishing villages, but the people there are a mix of Metis, Inuit and Anglo descent. Then you have the two largest cities in Labrador; the mining city of Labrador City in the far west (and its suburb of Wabush) and the more military oriented city of Happy Valley-Goose Bay (home to CFB Goose Bay). North of Happy Valley Goose Bay is the Innu village of Sheshatshiu where Penashue is from. Sheshatshiu is one of two Innu villages in the riding, the other is Natuashish, and is located on the coast, further north. Finally, northeastern Labrador is home of the Inuit territory of Nunatsiavut, which is a self governing autonomous area made up of five Inuit villages.

One of the most Liberal parts of the county is the Southern and Eastern Labrador coast where the Liberals often get results of more than 90% of the vote in many polls. I have a feeling that in the past that some polls have had results of 100% for the Liberals, but were merged with other polls to protect voter secrecy. While the south and east coasts are made up of extremely partisan Liberals, other parts of the riding are very non-partisan. This is especially true for the Inuit and Innu. These groups tend to support the candidate over the party (and it's not just Labrador where they do this). Penashue, an Innu, can thank his 74 vote victory to massive margins in the two Innu villages of the riding. Without them, he would have lost. Voters in Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay also tend to back the candidate over the party. Neither region has uniformly voted Liberal the way the coastal villages have. When the Tories have run good campaigns in the riding, it is usually in these two cities where they find much support.

Let's take a look at the poll maps since 2004 for a better look of the riding's political geography:


2004 was a landslide victory for the Liberals in Labrador. The party won every single poll in the riding, which is not abnormal for the riding. Incumbent MP Lawrence O'Brien won 62% of the vote, compared to the Conservative candidate, Merrill Strachan who won 10% of the vote. Former New Democrat Ern Condon ran as an independent, but representing the “Labrador Party” and finished ahead of the NDP at 10%. The NDP candidate Shawn Crann won just under 10% and the Greens won 2%. O'Brien's strongest area was the traditionally Liberal east and south coast of Labrador. His best poll came in the village of Lodge Bay in this region where he won 34 of 35 votes. His weakest region was in West Labrador, where the Tories, NDP and Condon all had strong showings. But the split of the vote between Strachan, Condon and Crann meant that O'Brien still won all the polls there. His worst showing was poll 27 in Wabush, which is in the west part of town on Jean Lake. He still won 33% of the vote there. Condon finished 2nd there with 28% of the vote.

2005 by-election

O'Brien passed away in December 2004, resulting in a by-election in May 2005 (there was also a by-election in 1996 which first elected O'Brien, meaning there will have been 3 by-elections in just 17 years!). It was the first by-election of Paul Martin's fragile minority government, and would be very important in terms of the balance of power in Parliament. Therefore, the Tories poured a lot of effort into the riding in hopes they would win it. However, most observers thought it was a hopeless cause because of the riding's Liberal history. The Tories ended up losing the election, with 32% of the vote, but it would be their best showing since 1988. Liberal candidate, Todd Russell, President of the Labrador Metis Nation won with 51%. It was the worst showing for the Liberals since 1997. Russell saw his best showing on the east coast as usual, especially in the Metis dominated fishing villages. West Labrador was again the Liberal's worst area, and this time they lost nearly all the polls in the region. The Conservative candidate in the riding was Graham Letto, who was the mayor of Labrador City at the time. This really helped him win the region, but was not enough to help him outside. He only won 5 polls outside of the Labrador City-Wabush area. One of these polls however was the best poll for Letto, poll 34 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. This poll is located on CFB Goose Bay. Russell's top poll was the Metis village of Port Hope Simpson, a poll which also included the smaller village of William's Harbour, where Russell was born.


With their impressive showing in the 2005 by-election, the Tories kept up the pressure in 2006 with another strong campaign. They ran a star candidate in Joe Goudie, a former provincial cabinet minister, and another high profile Metis to go up against Russell. Russell however beat Goudie, but in a closer race than the by-election. Russell maintained his 51% share of the vote, but Goudie made inroads on the Tory by-election result, by getting the party up to 40%. Goudie was able to get this number by making in roads in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area, where he was from. However, the Tories continue to do the best in West Labrador where they won all but two polls. However, Goudie lost all of the northern Aboriginal communities and the communities on the east and south coast which was the best area for the Liberals again. The village of Pinsent Arm in this region gave Russell his best poll, where he secured 40 of 42 votes. The strongest poll for Goudie was in in poll 34 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the same poll where the Tories saw their strongest showing in the by-election.


By 2008, the Tories had given up on trying to win Labrador, as the riding reverted to its landslide-Liberal status. Russell won his largest share of the vote in his career, getting 70%. The Conservatives could not find a local candidate to run, and so had to pick an Office Assistant from St. John's to run. The NDP would end up finishing 2nd in the race, despite them also running a candidate from St. John's. Even so, the NDP won 18% of the vote as the default anti-Liberal party in a region that hated the Tories thanks to Premier Danny Williams' ABC (Anything But Conservative) campaign. It would be the NDP's best showing in Labrador since 1997, and the Conservative's worst showing (8%) since that same election. Once again, the Liberals would win every single poll in the riding. Similar voting patterns persisted with the Liberals doing the best in the east, and worst in the west. However, the Liberals would score a majority of the vote in all but 2 polls (both in Labrador City). Their worst showing was in poll 23 in the south end of town on the western end of Little Wabush Lake. Russell won 44% of the vote. The NDP finished 2nd there, losing the poll by 5 votes. The strongest Liberal poll was in Lodge Bay again where Russell secured 37 of 38 votes. Lodge Bay was also the best poll for the Liberals the last time they won every poll in the riding in 2004.


2011 threw a wrench in the normal voting patterns of Labrador. The race would end up being the closest in the riding's history. Innu businessman Peter Penashue won the seat for the Conservatives for the first time since 1968. He won the seat with 39.8% of the vote to Russell's 39.1%. It would be the worst showing ever for the Liberals in the riding. The NDP also had a strong performance running school principal Jake Larkin. He won 20% of the vote, the party's best showing since 1997. Also, the NDP won a number of polls, the first time they would win a poll since 1997. Liberal support was relegated to their traditional base in the riding, in the east and south coasts. Outside this region, they had only won 5 polls. Conservative support was strongest in the Inuit and Innu communities in the northern part of the riding. Also key to Penashue's victory was winning all but 4 polls in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area. The NDP were only present in West Labrador, where they won all but seven polls, and tied in two of those seven. The strongest poll for the Conservatives was Penashue's home town of Sheshasheits where he won 89% of the vote. The strongest Liberal poll this time was the Metis village of Charlottetown on the east coast where Russell won 86% of the vote. The NDP's strongest poll was poll 14 in central Labrador City (between Stirling Cres and Field St) where they won 47% of the vote.

Demographic maps

Last Wednesday, Statistics Canada released the first wave of results of the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), also known as the “long form census”. Among the data released was religion and ethnicity, and I figured those two categories would be the most interesting in terms of mapping Labrador. It should be noted that the NHS was not mandatory like in previous censuses, so there are concerns about the accuracy of the data. In fact, some communities had such a low response rate, that their data was not even released by Statistics Canada. In Labrador, these communities include Division No. 10, Subd. D (Churchill Falls), L'Anse au Loup, Wabush and West St. Modeste.


As mentioned, Labrador is a rather ethnically diverse riding. The south coast, along the Strait of Belle Isle is home to communities with high percentages of people of English, Irish and “Canadian” backgrounds. This is true from L'Anse au Clair on the Quebec border until the village of Mary's Harbour. Then you get into Metis territory. From the next town, St. Lewis until Charlottetown is Metis territory. Metis in this area usually refers to people of partial Inuit heritage. Once you cross Hamilton Inlet, you get into full on Inuit territory, in the region of Nunatsiavut. There are six coastal communities north of Hamilton Inlet. Five are Inuit in Nunatsiavut and the sixth, Natuashish is a First Nation (Innu) community. Further inland and the head of Hamilton Inlet is the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area. The leading ethnicity in the region is Inuit, although in Happy Valley-Goose Bay proper it is only a plurality. “Canadian” and English were also leading ethnicities in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The village of Sheshatshiu is the lone community in the area without Inuit being the leading ethnicity, as it is a First Nations (Innu) community. West of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, only Labrador City has proper data. In Labrador City, the leading ethnicity was “Canadian”, followed by English and Irish.


Labrador is as religiously diverse as it is ethnically, that is when it comes to Christian denominations. Labrador is overwhelmingly Christian, with 93% of inhabitants reporting as one form of Christianity or another. For the most part, in Labrador what denomination one is depends on what community they live in. While an area may be ethnically homogenous, it may not be in regards to religion. For example, the Inuit-Metis east coast is home to Anglican, Pentecostal or Catholic communities. The Anglo-Irish cosat coast is home to Anglican and Catholic communities as well as a couple of villages with no dominant denomination. The Happy Valley-Goose Bay area is diverse as well. Anglicanism is the leading denomination in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, but it is also home to many Catholics and Uniteds. Labrador City is also diverse. Catholicism is the leading denomination, but there are many Uniteds, Anglicans and Pentecostals as well. Three of the five Inuit villages saw “Other Christian” as their leading denomination. This actually refers to Moravians, as those villages had been founded by Moravian missionaries in the 18th Century. The other two Inuit villages are not Moravian however, one is Pentecostal and the other is Anglican. If there is one ethnic group in Labrador that is religiously homogenous, it is the Innu who are very, very Catholic according to the NHS. Both Innu villages are about 87% Catholic.

The election

Even though the 2011 election in Labrador was so close, the 2013 by-election will not be a rematch between Russell and Penashue. Instead, the Liberals are running Yvonne Jones as their candidate. Jones is the former leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Party, and represented the riding of Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly from 1996 to 2013. That provincial riding takes in the east and south coast of Labrador, the strongest Liberal part of the riding. The NDP have also chosen a new candidate in Harry Borlase, an analyst from Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The Greens, who have never got more than 4% in the riding will not be fielding a candidate, as they do not wish to split the anti-Conservative vote. However, the Libertarians will be running a candidate for the first time ever in Labrador.

Because of the closeness of the last election, one might expect this by-election to be close as well. However, a number of factors are at work. First of all, Penashue- whether innocent or not, has been disgraced, and his reputation has been tarnished. That is as good as any excuse for voters not to back him. Secondly, we are at the beginning of a new “Trudeaumania” in Canada, with the Liberals surging to the top of the polls since their election of Justin Trudeau as leader. Labrador, a traditional Liberal riding has no reason to be not immune from this surge. Thirdly, the Liberals are running a pretty high profile candidate in Yvonne Jones. Only problem for her is that there is little growth to be had in her already Liberal saturated stomping grounds in Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair. And of course, polls are showing another Liberal landslide in the riding. The most recent Forum Research poll released yesterday put the Liberals at 45% (down from 60% in a previous poll), the Tories at 31% (up from 29%) and the NDP at 24% (Up from 10%). Given all these factors, I am pretty confident Jones will win.

Polls close at 8pm Atlantic (8:30 Newfoundland time) or 7pm Eastern. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter for live commentary!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

British Columbia provincial swing and trend maps

The BC provincial election will be held in one week, and with that is time for some more maps in an effort to analyze British Columbia politics. Today’s post will take a look at two maps comparing the last two provincial elections (2005 and 2009). One map shows the swing between the two elections and the other shows the trend between the two elections. It is my hope that these maps will be helpful in determining how British Columbians will vote next Tuesday, and perhaps explain some of the surprises that could be in store.

Swing map (2005-2009)

The first map shows the swing between 2005 and 2009. As I explained in my last post, the swing is a calculation that shows the average gain of one party vs. the loss of the other party. Because BC is for the most part a two-party province (NDP and Liberals), I have made the swing calculation across all provinces as between those two parties. The overall swing between the two elections was miniscule- just 0.3% towards the NDP. This has meant that the map is all over the place, with 44 ridings having swung towards the Liberals and 41 having swung to the NDP (despite the overall swing being to the NDP). The Liberals gained 3 seats between the two elections, and the NDP gained 2 (there were less seats in 2005). Notionally however, the NDP lost 4 seats while the Liberals gained 3 (and 1 Independent was elected). So even though there was a swing towards the party, they (notionally) lost seats!

Overall, all 73 of the 85 ridings had a swing that was within 5% of the provincial average. 4 ridings swung more than that towards the Liberals and 8 ridings swung more than that to the NDP. The riding that swung the most towards the Liberals was Vancouver-False Creek that saw nearly a 9% swing. This can perhaps be attributed to the condo boom in the riding, which has meant an influx of wealthy individuals. However on the flip side another riding experiencing a condo boom- Vancouver-West End saw a huge swing towards the NDP (7.5%). The other three ridings that experienced a large swing towards the Liberals were Delta South (thanks to Independent candidate Vicki Huntington winning and taking much of the NDP vote with her), Peace River South and Kootenay East. The riding that saw the highest swing towards the NDP was Surrey-Newton, which saw an 8.2% swing. The Liberals had a high profile candidate in 2005 (Olympic gold medallist Daniel Igali) and their vote collapsed in 2009. However, Surrey-Newton was not the only Surrey riding with heavy swings towards the NDP. Both Surrey-Green Timbers and Surrey-Whalley had swings of over 7% towards the NDP. Those ridings also happen to have a heavy Indo-Canadian population, and show that there may be a shift going on in that community. Other ridings that showed a high swing to the NDP include Nanaimo, Juan de Fuca, Port Coquitlam and Powell River-Sunshine Coast.

In looking at the swing map, the most obvious pattern is that for the most part, Liberal held seats swung towards the Liberals while NDP seats swung towards the NDP. There are many exceptions of course, but this is the overall trend. What this shows is that incumbency matters. Ridings that the Liberals notionally won in the 2005 election on average had a swing of 1.3% towards themselves, while ridings that the NDP notionally won in 2005 had an average swing of 2.3% towards themselves.  This is food for thought for anyone wanting to do a prediction.

For the record, ridings where the NDP notionally won in 2005 but saw swings away from them include Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, Nelson-Creston, Vancouver-Fairview (a riding they would lose in 2009), Kamloops-North Thompson (a notional loss of a seat, as they didn’t in actuality win a seat in Kamloops), Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge-Mission (another notional loss of a seat), Cariboo-Chilcotin (seat loss), and Burnaby North (another loss). One thing that this proves is that even though a seat may have notionally gone NDP in 2005, a lack of an NDP incumbent plus actually having a Liberal incumbent is a good indicator of a swing towards the Liberals. Meanwhile, 2005 notional Liberal ridings that swung NDP include Peace River North, Abbotsford West, Chilliwack, Parksville-Qualicum, Vancouver-Fraserview, Stikine, Oak Bay-Gordon Head, Burnaby-Deer Lake (NDP gain), Boundary-Similkameen, Saanich South (notional loss with an NDP incumbent), Saanich North and the Islands and Vernon-Monashee.

Trend map

The second map is the trend map. This map is almost identical to the swing map, as all it shows is the swing in a riding (to the NDP) minus 0.3%. The trend shows how the riding swung compared to the provincial average. Another way of looking at it is how the riding would have swung if the provincial swing was exactly 0%. Since the provincial swing towards the NDP was 0.3%, this is how much was taken off the swing in each riding to calculate the trend. Because the swing was so close to zero in the first place, the trend map isn’t very different from the swing map. In elections with huge swings however, trend maps are useful to see which areas are less susceptible to large swings than others.

The biggest change to look for on the trend map is the ridings that swung NDP but trended Liberal. There are only three of these ridings. They are Parksville-Qualicum, Boundary-Similkameen and Vancouver-Hastings. Out of all the ridings in the province, Vancouver-Hastings was the riding that was the closest to the provincial average in terms of its swing. Its trend towards the Liberals was less than 0.1%.  BC electoral geographers like to point to Kamloops as the provincial bellwether (as goes Kamloops, as does BC), but perhaps Vancouver-Hastings, a safe-NDP seat in Vancouver’s east end is the best indicator of BC vote swing?

So what does this all mean for next week’s election? Well, let’s take a look at the eight ridings I identified in my last blog post as the next eight ridings to go NDP with a uniform swing. These are the 8 ridings the NDP would win first en route to a majority government with a uniform swing. Presently, polls are showing an average swing of 6% to the NDP. This would give the NDP these eight ridings plus an additional six more.

Maple Ridge-Mission: As mentioned, the NDP notionally won this riding in 2005, but in reality it did not win the riding then known as “Maple Ridge-Mission”. With its current borders, the NDP won the seat by just 0.4%. With its borders in 2005, the Liberals won it by 0.7%. In 2009, the Liberal incumbent did not run again, but the Liberals were buoyed by at least being the incumbent party in the riding. This gave the Liberals a very small swing, enough to win the riding despite its new, more NDP-friendly borders. It was close though, as the Liberals won by just 0.3%. Given recent polls, even a modest pro-incumbency boost will not be enough to keep the NDP from winning this seat based on this very small trend.

Cariboo-Chilcotin: This riding is the successor riding of Cariboo South, a riding that the NDP won in 2005. Despite the re-name, the NDP still would’ve won the riding on its new 2009 borders by about 3%. While this is close, with the power of incumbency, and small province-wide swing towards the NDP, there was no reason for the NDP to lose the seat in 2009. However, the party did lose the riding, by a razor thing margin of 0.5%. This translated to a 3% trend to the Liberals. This was the third largest trend to the Liberals out of all NDP notionally-held seats. If this pro-Liberal trend continues, the NDP might find it hard to win this seat, despite only having lost it by 78 votes in 2009. The NDP is running the same candidate in Charlie Wyse, so if his record as an MLA hurt him last election, it could hurt him again.

Saanich North and the Islands: According to the map, most of Vancouver Island is trending towards the NDP, and polls show the NDP with a large lead on the Island. One of the few ridings they do not hold there is Saanich North and the Islands. This riding is formerly a safe one for the Liberals, having won it even in the 1990s when the NDP was winning majority governments. However, it has been trending heavily towards the NDP over the last 20 years, and the party cam within striking distance in 2009 when they lost it by 0.8%. It was one of only a small number of Liberal-held ridings to trend to the NDP. Only three other notionally Liberal ridings had higher swings to the NDP. Given polls, this riding would be a shoe-in for the NDP to win based on trends alone. However, the riding is held federally by Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and the provincial Greens are polling quite well on the island. This is one of their targeted ridings, and if they take more votes away from the NDP than the Liberals, they BC Liberals would still win.

Oak Bay-Gordon Head: This is another Liberal-held riding on Vancouver Island that is trending NDP. Despite holding the seat since 1996, sitting MLA Ida Chong seems to have no incumbency advantage behind her. She won the seat by 2.2% in 2009, but had notionally won it by 3.3% in 2005. Again, given trends and polls this riding should be ripe for the NDP to win, but is again complicated by the Green Party. The Greens are running their biggest campaign in this riding, and there is no reason to suggest they don’t have a good chance of winning it. This riding spans Elizabeth May’s riding and the federal riding of Victoria which just had a by-election a few months ago. If you recall the result of that by-election, the Greens very nearly doubled their seats in Parliament to 2 by almost winning it. And the polls in Oak Bay-Gordon Head? They went Green.

Kamloops-North Thompson: One area pundits like to call a bellwether in BC politics, is Kamloops, so there is no surprise in finding a Kamloops riding on this list. (It should be noted that this riding isn't the perfect bellwether, having voted for the opposition Liberals in 1996). This riding was one of those ridings that the NDP notionally won in 2005, but in reality did not. In fact, in reality, the Liberals won the Kamloops-North Thompson seat by over 8 points. On the 2009 boundaries however, the NDP would have won the seat by 2.1%. However in 2009, the Liberals won the seat by 2.4%. They were bolstered again by party incumbency. While their sitting MLA retired, it was no matter. The Liberals in reality held the seat and that gave them an advantage. The area may also be trending to the Liberals. Indeed, it did trend to the Liberals by 2.5% between 2005 and 2009. If the riding continues to trend Liberal, it might be difficult for the NDP to win it, despite how close it was last time.

Burnaby North: It might come as a surprise to the casual observer that this riding (and neighbouring Burnaby-Lougheed) are Liberal-held ridings. Especially considering the federal seat that spans both ridings has gone NDP in every election since 1979. No matter, the north end of Burnaby is the least NDP friendly part of the city. However, the NDP still held their own in the 2009 election, losing the seat by just 2.7%. In 2005, the NDP actually notionally won the seat by 0.5%. But the Liberals won the riding in reality and again, were boosted by having the incumbent. The riding had an overall trend of 1.9% to the Liberals. If that is repeated again in this election, it might just be low enough for the NDP to win it back.

Burnaby-Lougheed: Next door to Burnaby North is the very similar riding of Burnaby-Lougheed. It is also a marginal northern Burnaby seat. However, unlike Burnaby North, its 2005 notional results had the Liberals winning it, albeit by just 2.8%. Burnaby-Lougheed had a smaller trend to the Liberals than Burnaby North, at less than 1%. In 2009, MLA Harry Blow (who had previsioulsy represented the now defunct riding of “Burquitlam”) won the seat by 3.6%. All things considered, the trend may be low enough for the NDP to win this riding as well.

Vancouver-Fraserview:This riding has been a good bellwether in its history, having voted for the majority party in every election since its creation in 1991. And, it's a riding trending NDP (albeit narrowly). In 2005, the Liberals won the seat by 5%. This was narrowed down to less than 4% in 2009. One thing that helped was the Liberal incumbent, Wally Oppal was not running again. Also at play is the large South Asian community in this riding. We know the South Asians in Surrey are partly responsible for ridings trending NDP there. While we haven't seen that to a large degree in Fraserview, it is not inconceivable to see South Asians go NDP here as well. It would not take a large swing in this riding for the NDP to take this riding, and if you factor in the small trend to the NDP, this riding will probably go NDP on election day.

If the NDP can't win all 8 of those ridings, they could have difficulty winning the next lowest hanging fruit based on trends alone. Of the next 5 ridings on the swingometre, only Vernon-Monashee saw a trend to the NDP between 2005 and 2009. However at this point, polls show the NDP can overcome most of these trends.