Teddy here with an interesting experiment, an interactive blog post, where you, the reader, are encouraged to participate.
How this will work is I will start with a short post detailing my own theory as to what happened in BC. Readers will weigh in, in the comments section, and at a certain time (in this case, about 4pm eastern) I will take what I think are the best comments, or, the comments I can best reply to, and edit them into the post to analyze and reply to them. I will then continue tracking the comments until the evening, editing them in where needed.
So here is my theory as to what happened in BC:
Everyone had an understanding that the PQ was turning people off due to some of it's policies and campaign strategy. The party wanted to ban Anglos from running for municipal office in Anglophone municipalities, for example. The PQ was seen as running as a hard-sovereigntist campaign, at a time when sovereignty was not popular. People voted against the PQ.
Wildrose was expected to win, but nearly all the "undecided" voters broke towards the PC Party? Why? Wildrose was a new and untested force. People worried about what they would do and how well they could govern. There were concerns they might cut into social programs and sell Alberta's wealth to US. People voted against Wildrose.
So how does this help us understand BC?
A look at the Ipsos exit poll tells us. In particular, page 9 of 65. Of the 1400 people sampled, 280 voted for the BC Liberals because they were against somebody, while 222 voted for the NDP because they were against somebody. The split between the two is 5% and if you reverse the split, you get an NDP majority government.
In short. People voted against the NDP.
The question as to why people voted against the NDP, as opposed to against the Liberals is something that can be left open to interpretation; and this is where I invite you to comment. Why did people tun against the NDP? Why did the Liberal scandals and problems not encourage more people to vote against them? How can we find this trend - IE voting against a party - in future polls?
"(The BC Liberals Party is) an awkward coalition of Liberal and Conservative activists, and their reason for being is precisely to stop the NDP"
I think this has a big point. "Normally", though the research I've done, the right-of-centre party manages to take 60% of the seats, while the NDP takes the other 40%. Based on 85 seats, this would be a split of 51 to 34, very close to the final result. I will detail this below.
"It's all about the conservatives. (too high support and the NDP wins)"
"Most of the seats the Liberals picked up were in the hinterland
"conservatives not yet ready for prime time and Christy Clark figuring out where her base was, small "c" voters"
I think this also is/can be a big part of it. The NDP only really won when the right wing vote has been split. I will examine this, along with the above comment, below.
John T said
"I believe the turning point in the campaign was the decision by Adrian Dix to oppose the Kinder-Morgan pipeline."
"(Interior voters thought that) the NDP would block every proposal, leading to a reduction in jobs."
"(This said that) Adrian Dix communicated that he was against jobs and the economy if environmental activists were opposed to any project."
I think that may have bad something to do with it. As BenKenobi pointed out, most of the gains were in the interior. The maps show that, the entire Interior, between the coast and the kootneys, is now solid red. I think that this did play a role.
Kyle H said
"Dix's campaign focused solely on trying to comfort people that the NDP were not wild-eyed socialists - thereby putting that idea forefront into the minds of voters."
"When the debate came, she showed herself to be the best up there, and Dix nearly fell flat on his face."
"Dix was doomed, we just didn't see it because we focused on the polls said so intently."
"(in) Surrey - there was barely a Conservative presence there in 2009 or 2013, only NDPers. The BCLs took votes directly from them."
I think the NDP's strategy of saying "we are not crazy" but making people remember they are crazy may have something to do with it.
I actually think the Debate may have been the turning point. This reminds me of 2011 Federally, where everyone said the debate was meaningless, with no real winner, but in hindsight it became obvious and clearly that Iggy bombed big-time and Layton cleaned up.
What I really think explains everything is that front-page 24 news ad the Liberals bought. I think the poll in the ad actually could well explain why the Liberals won.
This is the history of elections in BC since the formation of the NDP.
During the Social Credit era, you can easily see and compare what happened. For most of this time, the BC Liberals were not a right-wing party. For part of it (the part where it had 0 seats in particular) it was lead by David Anderson, who was in the Chretien Cabinet. Anderson was known as "the" green member of Cabinet - remember that Stephane Dion was in the Chretien Cabinet. The BC Liberals of this era were not a right-wing party and did not draw away right-wing votes. Note the only NDP victory in this era was the only election where the Tories took more than 5% of the vote.
Next was the early BC Liberal era. This starts with an NDP government, due to the split of the vote on the right. First a 33%-24% split, then a 42%-9% split. This era ends when the NDP is curbstomped in 2001. This also marks the end of Social Credit / Reform / Unity as a real electoral presence.
The latter BC Liberal era had the Greens present. The Greens, despite having some significant left-wing policies, have always stole votes from both sides of the spectrum. These are eco-capitalists. The European term is Green-Liberals, where, in the European sense, Green is associated with the left, Labour, and Socialism. Thus one could truly and literally think of the Green Party of BC as the BC NDP-Liberals, or perhaps, the Liberal-NDP BC Party.
I've also taken all the election results during this period (12) and found the seat share for the NDP, and their main right-of-centre opponent. I've averaged all 12, and, averaged the 6 'middle' elections, removing the 3 best and worst NDP results. The end results however are just about the same. A 60-40 split against the NDP.
So history is important. If still in doubt, check out the popular vote numbers, and tell me how many times the NDP has been above 44%, and how many times the SoCreds/Liberals have been below 44%.