Monday, October 13, 2008

Election Oracle 2008: BC and the North

British Columbia is a true three-way race. Polls have showed buoyant Conservative numbers here. The Liberals, which many polls showed in fourth place in mid-campaign, have recovered somewhat, while the NDP, traditionally very strong in BC, are likely down in some parts of the province and up elsewhere.

Greater Vancouver/Lower Mainland

In greater Vancouver and the lower mainland, there are 21 seats and, of these, eight elected Conservatives, eight elected Liberals, and five elected New Democrats. Liberal slippage, much of it to the Greens, will likely mean Conservative gains in suburban Vancouver: namely, in North Vancouver, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast and Richmond. This will mean the loss of Liberal Don Bell, turfed Liberal-turned-Green Blair Wilson, and Liberal Raymond Chan. The NDP should win the same five it won before, while Liberals will likely fend off strong challenges in Newton-North Delta (Sukh Dhaliwal), Vancouver Centre (Hedy Fry), and Vancouver-Quadra (Joyce Murray). Many expect David Emerson’s former riding of Vancouver-Kingsway to go NDP, but I think Wendy Yuan of the Liberals will eke out an extremely narrow win.

2006 result: Con 8, Lib 8, NDP 5
2008 prediction: Con 11, Lib 5, NDP 5

BC Interior

There are nine seats in BC’s interior and, in 2006, they split 7-2 Conservative-NDP. The NDP should easily hold its BC Southern Interior and Skeena-Bulkley Valley seats, plus are likely to present a strong, but ultimately unsuccessful, challenge in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo.

2006 result: Con 7, NDP 2
2008 prediction: Con 7, NDP 2

Vancouver Island

There are six seats on Vancouver Island: 3 NDP, 2 Conservative, 1 Liberal. With the NDP candidate withdrawing in Saanich-Gulf Islands, the Liberals and Greens are both eyeing this seat. The race will be closer than ever, but I think the Conservative will prevail as the opposition vote splits.

Neighbouring Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca is also a close race, perhaps too close to call. Liberal – once Reform Party – MP Keith Martin is fending off very strong challenges from both the Conservatives and NDP, the latter team of which gained a pile of volunteers following the events in Saanich-GI. I will call this race narrowly for the incumbent.

In Vancouver Island North perennial competitors Catherine Bell of the NDP (currently the MP) and John Duncan of the Conservatives (formerly the MP) are again facing off. A mere 600 votes separated the two last time. I predict slight momentum for the Conservatives here, meaning that John Duncan will likely regain his seat.

2006 result: Con 2, Lib 1, NDP 3
2008 prediction: Con 3, Lib 1, NDP 2

BC Provincial total

2006 result: Con 17, Lib 9, NDP 10
2008 prediction: Con 21, Lib 6, NDP 9

Northern Canada

I’m also including the three northern seats (one for each Territory) here. The Liberals will easily hold the Yukon, while the NDP will easily hold Western Arctic. The wild card is Nunavut, where prominent candidates for all four parties are running. I place my bet on former territorial cabinet minister Leona Aglukkaq, who is running for the Conservatives.

2006 result: Con 0, Lib 2, NDP 1
2008 prediction: Con 1, Lib 1, NDP 1

1 comment:

Michael Watkins said...

Vancouver-Kingsway: The CPC candidate has been doing a heck of a lot of work in the riding, far more than a "token" candidate would. It would seem he's on a mission to prove himself to the higher ups in order to earn a better riding, for the next election. As a result I think he'll easily increase his vote, perhaps by several thousand, which should provide for a very interesting race indeed between the Liberal and NDP candidates.

I'm going out on a limb and am calling it for the NDP. I'm unaffiliated but watching closely.