Thursday, November 10, 2011

How're the Other Two Western Incumbents Doing?

Since the elections in Manitoba and Saskatchewan reconfirmed the hegemonies of the Manitoba NDP and the SaskParty with massive wins, people have tended to forget that the two provinces immediately west have incumbents on shaky ground, especially so in the case of the BC Liberals and Premier Christy Clark, and the still-unknown position of the Alison Redford PC's in Alberta.

I've taken the liberty to run rolling averages/projections of these two provinces, and up to this date, here's what I've gotten so far, starting with Alberta:

Prog. Conservatives - 42.5% - 67 seats
Wildrose Party - 22.2% - 10 seats
Alberta Liberals - 18.5% - 5 seats
New Democrats - 13.1% - 4 seats
Alberta Party - 1.9% - 0 seats
Others - 1.8% - 1 seat (Ind. in Edmonton-Manning)

Obviously, as can be seen, the Redford PC's are handily ahead in both the popular vote and the seat count, though that's a drop from 2008. Polls have put the PCs consistently under 50% and the Wildrosers maintain a healthy advantage as the second choice, while the ALP is trending downwards, shedding four seats from it's current nine. The NDP, meanwhile, are trending upwards, gaining two seats since 2008.

Some notable riding-level results:

The Wildrose Party, which currently has four seats, gains six, including two in Calgary (Calgary-North West and Calgary-Hawkwood, on top of Calgary-Fish Creek and Calgary-Glenmore), three in southern Alberta (Cardston-Taber-Warner, Airdrie, Little Bow), one in central Alberta (Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills), and one in the north (Dunvegan-Central Peace). Their leader Danielle Smith falls short in Highwood (33.7% to the PC's 50.7%), but I didn't apply anything to her numbers, and I would otherwise give her the seat if I could. One of their incumbents, Guy Boutellier in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, loses his seat. It's notable that the Wildrosers are second in Calgary (29.0% to the PC's 36.1% and the ALP's 22.8%), but fourth in Edmonton (just 6.8%).

The Alberta Liberals hold on to only core seats - Edmonton-Centre, Edmonton-Riverview, Calgary-Buffalo, Calgary-Mountainview, and Calgary-Varsity. Only two of those - Mountainview and Buffalo - are "safe." Their current leader, Raj Sherman, who I did apply a vote booster to (since he's an incumbent, vs. Smith not being an incumbent), falls far short in Edmonton-Meadowlark with just 30% to the PC's 42%.

The New Democrats pick up two low-hanging fruit in Edmonton, Edmonton-Beverly-Clearview, and Edmonton-Calder. But they're surprisingly close in a few other ridings, including Edmonton-Centre, Edmonton-Ellerslie, Edmonton-Glenora, and Edmonton-Manning. Glenora would see former NDP leader Ray Martin elected, if the vote was just a bit higher. However, outside of Edmonton the NDP is a pointless entity, their only impressive result coming out of Peace River where they earn 31% to the Tory's 43%, and that's only because of the lack of a Liberal candidate in 2008.

Finally the Alberta Party, whose numbers I essentially grabbed from the Greens (who no longer exist in Alberta), with their only incumbemt - former Liberal MLA Dave Taylor in Calgary-Currie - losing horribly with just 9% of the vote, compared to 37% for the PCs, 26% for the ALP, and 19% for the Wildrosers.

What does it all mean? Well, Redford's victory - or at least the ejection of Ed Stelmach as Premier - has helped push the PCs back into the dominant position. Meanwhile the Opposition, made up of right-wingers, centrists, and left-wingers, is battling over each other to see who represents the best option against the PCs. It's a recipe for disaster for the Opposition.

Now, moving on to BC, where the BC Liberals and Premier Christy Clark are in big trouble:

BC New Democrats - 41.4% - 47 seats
BC Liberals - 35.9% - 35 seats
BC Conservatives - 12.6% - 2 seats
Greens - 6.3 % - 0 seats
Others - 3.8% - 1 seat (Vicki Huntington)

The presence of a heftier BC Conservative Party is definitely having an impact on BC politics as 10% that would have likely gone to the Liberals are instead bunched up with John Cummins' party. Case a point: the NDP, who have lost support since 2009 (they had 42.1%), would be losing 50-34 if that extra 10% shifted back to the Liberals.

The two seats the Conservatives would win are Boundary-Similkameen and Chilliwack. They're also competitive in in Kelowna-Mission, Kootenay East, and Penticton. Outside of the southern Interior region, they're not doing too well, but they take away enough votes to matter.

I expect that in the Surrey-Richmond-Delta region, where John Cummins hails from and the Conservatives are strong federally, will probably shift a little bluer than it currently is (10.5%, compared to 39% for both NDP and Libs), but the Conservatives are stuck until they move above 15% or so. Some polls show that, some don't, so who knows.

The Greens are pretty much dead in the province, despite Lizzy May's win federally. Their best riding is 19% of the vote.

Interesting ridings? None really. Clark's riding of Vancouver-Point Grey is tied (44-43), and several of Clark's ministers are losing (Kash Heed, for one).

It's pretty clear however that the shine has come off of Clark, who, while not trailing anywhere near as badly as Campbell was, is facing a bit of raiding on the part of the Conservatives. Really, if you take away the 10% from Cummins, the vote totals are remarkably similar to 2009 - 45.9% Libs if you add the 10% compare to 46% in 2009, 41.4% for the NDP to 42.1% in 2009, 6.3% for the Greens to 8% in 2009, 2.6% for the Cons to 2.1% in 2009, and so on. Clark needs to start taking away from the Conservatives or gobbling up the Green vote if she wants to position her party back on top and keep Adrian Dix away from the Premier's office.


  1. surely the presence of a semi-credible tory party in bc has the effect of drawing people into the electorate, no?

  2. Maybe - it's not exactly as if John Cummins is the most inspiring of people. Look at the semi-credible (well, to others) NDP in Ontario, which didn't really help bring many people out.

    Look at the leaders - Christy Clark, Adrian Dix, and John Cummins, and throw in Jane Sterk for a giggle. Not exactly an inspiring bunch, no?