Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Victoria 2012 By-Election - Poll-by-Poll

My apologies for putting this out so late, I just hadn't gotten around to fixing up the required data I needed. I'll endeavour to get this kind of stuff out earlier.

You may or may not remember, but last November the New Democrats nearly lost an ultra-safe riding centered on the City of Victoria, British Columbia, to a surging Green Party. Over half a year later, we know for a fact that Greater Victoria is the best chance for yet another Green breakthrough among its three ridings, one of which is already held by Green Leader Elizabeth May. We can be doubly sure thanks to a win in the provincial riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head for the Greens in the recent provincial election, where star candidate Andrew Weaver swept away a popular incumbent BC Liberal cabinet member in a section of the city that has always leaned more towards the conservative side of the spectrum.

So, what exactly happened last November? Like with my review of Calgary Centre, lets start off with a basic overview of the numbers:

Victoria 2012 By-Election
Murray Rankin (NDP): 14,507 votes (-16.2K) - 37.2% (-13.6%)
Donald Galloway (Green): 13,389 votes (+6,374) - 34.3% (+22.7%)
Dale Gann (Conservative): 5,654 votes (-8,621) - 14.5% (-9.1%)
Paul Summerville (Liberal): 5,097 votes (-3,351) - 13.1% (-0.9%)
Other: 385 votes - 1.0%

Turnout: 39,032 voters (-21,385 voters) - 44.0% (-24.5%)

The topline numbers show that while the Green's Donald Galloway tripled his support over the Green's 2011 showing in the riding, he still didn't quite make it. The NDP, despite losing over 16,000 voters, still managed to hold on. It also goes to show that most of the NDP's supporters, as well as Conservative and Liberal voters, probably became non-voters for the by-election. That means that a repeat of this race in a general election is unlikely when all those non-voters come back home to roost for whichever party.

On to the poll-by-poll map.

Compared to the 2011 results, which you can see here, there is definitely a lot more Green dominating the riding. In fact, I'm fairly certain that the Greens won more polls across the riding as a whole, though usually with closer races or less populated polls. But that isn't a rule, given that there are many exceptions.

Knowing what we know now about Oak Bay, its somewhat surprising to see that it was closely fought between all four parties, despite the Greens winning most of the polls in the community. Instead, most of the Green's support came from Victoria proper, winning quite a few polls in Fernwood, Rockland, and Fairfield (they're not noted on the map, but both communities are directly south of the downtown core and Fernwood). The Greens also did well on polls bordering and within the City of Saanich, probably a lot to do with Elizabeth May's influence on the area.

The NDP saved themselves by having strong polls throughout Fernwood, Burnside, Hillside (just north of Fernwood), and James Bay (the small peninsula west of downtown), as well as coming in second to the Greens in most polls throughout the riding. Near as I can tell, these areas also suffered some of the largest drops in turnout (as did many of the apartment polls), which means increased turnout in the next general election will benefit the NDP.

The Liberals and Conservatives, meanwhile, won a few polls each, though suffered from being irrelevant in Victoria proper.

So yeah, that wraps this up for now. We're going into a by-election season soon, with three of them in Ontario, one federally in Quebec (and now in Toronto!), and another in Newfoundland and Labrador, so politicos will have lots to keep an eye on as we head into summer.


  1. Interesting how the Greens did "worst" where their MLA is from. Evidence, I say, that provincial=/=federal and local issues matter. ~Teddy from work.

    1. Well, it probably should be pointed out that the Gordon Head part of OB-GH is in Saanich, and was swamped by Lizzy May in 2011. Its entirely possible that the BC Liberals won Oak Bay in the provincial election, while the Greens dominated Gordon Head. However, I suspect that with an +11% lead that Weaver probably swept everyone everywhere.

    2. Perhaps, but look at some of the other provincial results VS these federal results. While there will be some similar patterns, people make too much out of provincial VS federal results.

    3. Results by poll for BC 2013 can be found here

      The Greens won most polls

    4. Here we are, I made this somewhat crude quick map from the federal-overlay that the greens made for OBG.

      made from this one

    5. Thats great Calivancouver, thanks a lot!

      You can see that the general situation seems pretty similar, except for the fact that the BC NDP seemingly won more support in Gordon Head in the provincial race - though that part of the riding is in Lizzy May's riding federally, and the NDP candidate back in 2011 barely registered.

      In Oak Bay specifically, the NDP also won more federal polls in Oak Bay proper, though it was a four-way race in that community in 2011. Looking at the provincial results at the poll level in Oak Bay, it seems the provincial NDP didn't play much of a factor at all and many races were either between Weaver and Chong, or overwhelmingly went to Weaver.

      Interesting stuff, though I don't know quite why yet. Thanks for the info though, appreciate it!

    6. Here's a great resource if you're interested, Calivancouver. It has all the BC election results going back to 2005 at the poll-level.

  2. I am surprised by the wide distribution of Green polls. I really am scratching my head about how it would play out in a general election. Normally I would say that the GPC will benefit most from the much greater turnout, but generally the GPC has such a crappy GOTV that their own efforts at GOTV have zero impact on the electorate. In that case any big jump in turnout will disproportionately benefit those with a weaker GOTV. What will happen here next time out will very much depend on the resources the GPC would devote to it. And the Victoria EDA is sitting on a pile of cash now. And OB-GH will have been worked over by Weaver for awhile. In a year or so it will be ripe for pre-election assessment.