Well folks, it’s been quiet on the polling front, especially with British Columbia. Insights West has done its first poll on British Columbia in six months. In November, the last time they were in the field, the NDP was leading the Liberals 39% to 34%. Following the two major parties were the Greens with 16%, the Conservatives with 7%, and Independents/others with 4%.
Not much has changed since then. The NDP have ticked up one point to 40%, the Liberals have stayed at 34%, the Greens have gone down 2 points to 14%, the Conservatives have gone up 3 points to 10%, and the Independents/others have gone down to 2%. Much of this variation on the aggregate level could very well be noise.
Last time around, my model projected 49 NDP seats, 25 Liberals, 8 Greens, and 3 Independents/others.
Here is the latest projection with my model:
Vancouver: 39% New Democratic (14 seats), 37% Liberal (9 seats), 13% Green (2 seats), 9% Conservative (0 seats), 2% Independent/Other (0 seats)
Vancouver Island: 52% New Democratic (13 seats), 22% Green (1 seat), 21% Liberal (0 seats), 5% Conservative (0 seats), 0% Independent/Other (0 seats)
Rest of BC: 35% Liberal (22 seats), 33% New Democratic (15 seats), 18% Conservative (6 seats), 13% Green (3 seats), 1% Independent/Other (0 seats)
Total: 40% New Democratic (42 seats), 34% Liberal (31 seats), 14% Green (6 seats), 10% Conservative (6 seats), 2% Independent/Other (0 seats)
Despite the relatively small changes at the aggregate, the NDP’s projected seat count has gone down to 42 out of 85, which almost certainly means a minority government (unless the Liberals can somehow cobble a coalition with Greens and Conservatives, which is unlikely). The Liberals have gone up almost the same amount (6 seats) to 31 seats, a healthy opposition caucus. The Green caucus has been projected to go down to 6 seats, but this is still miles ahead of the 1 seat they have. The Conservatives are now projected to enter the legislature, also with a 6 seat caucus. The Independents/Others are no longer projected to have any seats.
With these results in mind, one thing is clear: the NDP cannot rest on its progressive laurels in the cities. Having highly concentrated support gives it a boon in Vancouver Island, but much of it is swallowed by diminishing returns. The NDP also has to open up a wider lead in Vancouver. However, concentrating its support in urban areas is not enough – while it is unlikely they will open up a lead in rural BC, they have to keep the Liberals from taking as many seats as possible.
Conversely, the Liberals, if they wish to take a 5th term, need to break the NDP’s narrow lead in Vancouver and start racking up a lead. It might as well forget about Vancouver Island for the moment, which does not have much opportunity for seats. It also needs to definitively win in rural BC, which can at the very least deny the NDP a majority.
The Greens, if they are serious about increasing their presence, appear to be doing well. However, they need to eat into the NDP’s lead in Vancouver Island, where they have been in 2nd place and actually have a rather decent chance of getting a few seats.
The Conservatives, if they wish to get into the legislature and increase their presence, should probably forget about the cities for now. They can court those voters at another time. Right now, their goldmine is in Rural BC.