May 2nd 2013: Do we have a race?

With the latest Abacus poll showing a reduced lead for the BC NDP, one may wonder if we may finally have a race in this election. Adrian Dix and his party are still heavily favored to win the next election, but for the first time since this campaign started, there is a small chance of a Liberal victory.

The latest projections (on the right column of this blog for the picture) are based on the latest Angus-Reid and Abacus polls, both conducted before the debate. They show relatively the same situation, even though Abacus has the NDP lead slighlty smaller. But as stated above, the probability of victory for the NDP is now "only" 99%. There is also a small chance of a minority government.

Looking at these two polls only, the Liberals would only have a 1% chance of winning the most seats. However, there are several factors that lead me to believe that the race is actually closer than expected. First of all, there is a slight upward trend for the Liberals (and a slight downward one for the NDP). But more importantly, I wouldn't be surprised to see the BC Conservatives fall quite a lot. Why? Well there aren't running a candidate in 29 ridings, including some where they really should (Boundary-Similkameen). In these ridings, the Conservatives voters will likely choose either not to vote or to vote for the Liberals. Additionnally, the post-debate Ipsos-Reid poll clearly shows that John Cummins is seen as having performed poorly at the debate. So all together, I think it's reasonable to assume the Conservatives will drop further and the Liberals will benefit from it.

Coupled to the fact the BC Liberals are quite high among voters above 55 (the kind of voters who actually cast a ballot on election day) as well as the surprising good hold of the Liberals candidates in a couple of riding-level polls, we could well have a final result much closer than what most would think. It's mostly conjecture of course at that point and we'll have to wait and see when new polls will be released.

Nevertheless, if the BC Liberals were to benefit from a drop of the Conservatives (while the NDP couldn't enjoy the same from the steady Green party), then we'd definitely have a race. Christy Clark and her party are in the "paying zone" where every additional percentage point can bring a lot of seats. If you use the simulator, you see for instance that a 3-points exchange from the Conservatives to the Liberals could reduce significantly the BC NDP's lead in term of seats.

The Green are projected at 0 seat but they are very close in the riding of Oak-Bay-Gordon-Head, mostly thanks to some changes I made to the model. First of all, I added a bonus for the "star candidate" Andrew Weaver in this riding. Second of all, as the Conservatives, the green aren't running candidates in 24 ridings. Therefore, if they REALLY are at 10-12% provincially, it means that they must be experiencing quite a strong swing in the ridings where they are running candidates. See that as a redistribution of the Green vote. However, this is contingent on the Green being at 10-12% provincially. The lack of a candidate in many ridings could well hurt them there.