B.C.'s 2013 election is down to the wire. (Or not.) - Macleans.ca

B.C.’s 2013 election is down to the wire. (Or not.)

Who is going to win? Depends which pollster you trust


Just weeks ago, pollsters in B.C. believed the SoCreds’ 1991 demise could be repeated this spring. Its Liberal heirs would be similarly routed, some predicted, reduced to a handful of seats.

With days to go before British Columbians head to the polls, it’s still far from clear how exactly they plan to vote. But that Liberal rout, it’s become clear, is no longer in the cards.

The yawning, 20-point lead the NDP once held over the governing Liberals has evaporated. But by how much depends on which polling outfit you trust.

An Angus-Reid poll for the Globe and Mail-CTV released yesterday had it halved, giving the NDP a nine-point edge.

But a Forum poll for the National Post released a day earlier put the NDP and Liberals in a dead heat: 43 per cent, compared to 41 per cent for the Liberals.

Then Ipsos-Reid came in down the middle, putting the NDP lead at six per cent.

So who’s right? Who knows. Remember that Wild Rose majority Alberta pollsters were predicting just three days before Albertans instead handed the majority to the Conservatives? Pollsters were similarly oblivious to the Orange surge that gave Quebec to the NDP in 2011, and the Liberal rout next door, in Ontario in that same election.

As response rates to telephone surveys have plummeted, polls have become increasingly unreliable. Pollster Allan Gregg blames the profession for having “fallen in love with the sound of its own voice,” and rushing out flimsy results.

So B.C.’s 2013 election is down to the wire. Or not. Whatever happens Tuesday, pollsters won’t be blamed for getting it wrong. With results all over the map, one at least will have to have got it right.

As for the race, it’s been a weird one. The NDP opted to run a “positive” campaign, à la Jack Layton. This has allowed the public, once so desperate to flog the Liberals for their many sins to have forgotten what it was they were so mad about in the first place.

Both the Conservatives and NDP have had to turf candidates for conduct unbecoming, though the NDP is inexplicably standing behind one, who once labelled Chinese-Canadians “chinkasaureses,” and was repeatedly caught padding her resumé.

The premier, an incredibly polarizing figure in B.C., has somehow been able to keep the conversation firmly turned to jobs and the economy, and has starkly defined the choice: four years of sound fiscal management with the Liberals’ free enterprise coalition, or runaway social spending that would send the B.C. back to its darkest era.

Christy Clark has done this despite playing fast and loose with claims of having balanced the budget, and a face-palm worthy gaffe as the campaign was in full swing—running a red on a dare from her son with a reporter along for the ride.

Adrian Dix, by flip-flopping on the twinning of an existing pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver, played into Liberal fear-mongering, scaring off centrist voters. The NDP leader is also pledging to put fracking to an environmental review, kill at least one mining proposal that has government support, and reverse the go-ahead on a new all-season resort in B.C.’s Kootenay region. Small wonder the Liberals have dubbed him Mr. Nix.

But there are some areas in which he is inclined to say yes. His party is promising new spending totalling $2 billion, including $210-million per year on a “family bonus,” for low- and moderate-income families and $100-million a year to hire more teachers (in a province which continues to see declining enrolment).

And yet Dix, who’s shown no interest in balancing the budget, somehow continues to present a moderate face. He’s gone to lengths to dampen organized labour’s heady expectations, at least for the short term, and has burnished his business credentials by making inroads in Vancouver’s business community.

He’s not unlike Stephen Harper, a plodder, methodical in his approach. He didn’t marry until his 40s. His approach to politics is equally deliberative. Just as Harper has slowly moved the country to the right, a Premier Dix could eventually push B.C. several clicks to the left. That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll know Tuesday whether British Columbians are willing to let him take them there.


B.C.’s 2013 election is down to the wire. (Or not.)

  1. Sorry Nancy, but Dix is no more likely to be successful in shifting BC to the left, than SH has been in shifting Canada to the right. Neither are remotely charismatic enough to be classified as transformative politicians. They’ll both be successful for a season or two, but that’s it.

    • So much is being said to try and show Dix as a moderate, but so long as the unions pay and run the NDP, everything they do will need to be OKd by Jim Sinclair of the BCFed. It’s difficult to see Dix trying to be “pro resource jobs” on the one hand, but preserve the wilderness on the other. He has to decide whether to sacrifice the green sect, or the private sector blue collar “old school” NDP support…..all the while not taxing and spending us into oblivion. It never works out well for the Dips, too many masters to serve, too little time to radically change the world, and it never happens fast enough.

      • Some people never pay attention to the analysis that has been done about the Liberal debt. Balanced budget, my foot. The Liberals have now got us into $100 billion debt. The NDP can’t possibly be bigger spenders than the Liberals have been.

  2. The facts show during the past 2 decades, that the economy only grew under the NDP government (when they were in power back in the 90’s). When the libs took over, the economy shrunk. http://thetyee.ca/Views/2009/04/23/BCEcon/

    The thing is.. the Libs represent the views of a small set of people but do not help the province. The NDP represents a larger population of views, and helps out the province.

    So people have a choice.. either vote for who make their life better, or vote for who makes the province better. Realistically, people should be voting for who makes the province better, because that is what’s going to be left to your kids.

    Much like the HST fiasco, it was better for some people, but did no good for the province, nor did it work out with a majority of people. The amount of people it negatively affected vastly outnumbered those it helped…

    Same with the election.. the Libs only help a small minority of people, while the NDP helps out a larger majority. Like Romney / Obama.. Romney helps out a small chunk, while Obama is better for America as a whole.

    These are the things people need to think about.. how are you leaving the province for your children? NDP was the only time the economy grew, and it completely shrunk under the liberals.. something to think about.