Monday, July 25, 2016

Half a million extra Millennials voted in 2015, what will they do in 2017?

Close to an 500,000 extra people voted in BC voted in the 2015 federal election, this is the most dramatic rise in voter turnout that we have seen in BC.  Almost all these people were Millennials and they overwhelmingly voted for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.  What will they do in the 2017 BC election?

Total vote in BC Federal and Provincial elections from 1991 to 2015
Once someone has voted once the chances of them voting again is likely higher than otherwise.    The fact they voted in the 2015 federal election means they are going to open to voting in the BC election but how will they vote?

Most of these people voted for the federal Liberals and did not choose the NDP, Greens or Conservatives.   This is important to keep in mind because if the primary goal was to get rid of Conservatives, in almost all cases in BC the voters should have supported New Democrat candidates.   Something else was going on to get all these Millennials to vote.   What drove these people to vote matters a lot when considering how they may act in 2017.

There are four options possible in the 2017 election:
1) Some are likely to vote to Liberal because the name is the same and the policies are similar
2) Some are likely to vote Green because it is something different
3) Some are likely to vote NDP because they have to get Christy Clark out.
4) Some will not vote

Voting Liberal
As much as people on the left want to say Christy Clark and the BC Liberals are some sort of far right Harperesque type of political party this is simply not the case.   The policies of the BC Liberals are broadly the same as the federal party.   If the federal policies are acceptable so then should the BC Liberal ones.  The problem the BC Liberals have is that there is no serious party to the right of them.

The parties share a common brand name, this does matter.  Some people will vote for the BC Liberals because they voted for the federal Liberals.

When it comes to age of the leader, Trudeau and Clark are only six years apart in age.   The difference is that Trudeau has a young rock star image and Clark does not.

Trudeau was not government whereas the BC Liberals have been in power since 2001.   Being a long term government is not likely to work in the BC Liberals favour.

What is comes down to is can the BC Liberals market themselves to Millennials?   

My estimate is that 100,000 to 200,000 will for the BC Liberals

Voting Green
The BC Greens are working hard to attract the people that voted Liberal in 2015 to vote Green provincially.  The BC Greens could sell the Millennials on the party being something different

Much depends on how effective the Greens are getting their message out and convincing people beyond Vancouver Island that the party is a serious contender elsewhere.    I am not convinced this will happen.

My estimate is 50,000 to 150,000 will vote Green

Voting NDP
In BC the only logical choice to defeat the existing Liberal government is the NDP.   If there is a get rid of Clark movement the NDP should benefit.

Most of the people that voted NDP provincially in 2005, 2009 and 2013 also voted for the NDP federally in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2013.     There is no strong correlation in the last 15 years of people voting Liberal federally and NDP provincially.   

I have trouble seeing the NDP getting a lot of Millennial support because the core values of many  Millennials do not fit well with the old school values of the NDP.   Millennials seem to be somewhat more libertarian at heart and generally do not expect the government to be an active beneficial part of their life.  The NDP is not resonating with Millennials federally or provincially.

My estimate is that the NDP will get 50,000 to 100,000 Millennial votes.

Not voting
Trudeau could be a one off boost to voter numbers and they will not vote in 2017

My estimate is that 150,000 to 250,000 will not vote

Impact on the Election
What is the upshot of all this?   My best estimate is that the Millennials will make it harder for the NDP to win the election but it is all very much unclear.  

If a party can find a message that resonates with the Millennials it becomes possible for the BC Liberals or the NDP to comfortably win the election.  For the Greens, even if they manage to bring in almost all the new votes, the problem is that these votes are too evenly distributed across BC.   Even with 600,000 votes the Greens could end up only winning 4 to 10 seats.

The reality is that the Millennials are a factor in this election and at this time no one has a clear strategy to get their vote.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The BC Conservatives have FOUR candidates for leader

For such a long time it looked like no one was going to step forward to bc leader of the BC Conservatives, but now after the close of nominations and vetting by the party there are four candidates

  • Dan Brooks - the leader that resigned in January of this year.  I can not find any online presences for his campaign.
  • ChloĆ© Ellis -  She is still in her 20s, though that does not mean she is any less qualified to be leader than the guys running.  Her website 
  • Konrad Pimiskern - It is hard to get past the fact he is using webpage that looks like it was made in 1999.  His website tells me nothing
  • Jay Cross - a PhD statistician who seems to mainly focus on the lack of fundraising by the BC Conservatives.   No details of how this would happen or any details on how he would act as leader.
Who should the Conservatives choose?  
Jay Cross and Konrad Pimiskern do not strike me as people that have any skills to a function as a useful leader.   I really do not get why either one is running.

Dan Brooks will have to overcome resigning and then wanting to come back.   I have also been told that the Brooks era of the party was not exactly the most open organization, various good people were frozen.  Some of these people have political experience and are very ethical conservatives.   If the party chooses him it is sort of like an admission that 2016 was not important for the party.  Dan Brooks would be a signal to the media the party is not serious.

This more or less leaves ChloĆ© Ellis.   I know very little about her.  She ran for the federal Conservatives in 2015 in the riding of New Westminster Burnaby.  Win or lose she will benefit simply by running and building up a following.   She is also the only candidate for which I know the names of anyone that is a supporter.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Interest in the 2017 BC Election is low and this could mean a bad turnou...



Four years ago we saw a lot more interest in the 2013 BC Election than we are seeing now for the 2017 election. In many ways it feels more like the run up to the 2009 BC election.

Without a compelling reason to vote it seems likely that younger voters are going to sit this election out.

When there is strong interest in a vote younger voters do come out to vote:

  • 2013 BC Election
  • Scottish Independence referendum - they lowered the voting age to 16 and it seems like the youth vote was a reason for the close result
  • 2015 Federal Election - it is not that Harper lost a lot of support that decided this election, but that a lot of younger voters were motivated to get rid of him and decided to vote.
  • The Brexit referendum - turnout was high and it is the younger voters that voted to remain that made the result close.
I see nothing compelling on the horizon that will cause people to come out and vote - hatred for Christy Clark is lower than in 2013.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016



In Canadian politics the leader of a party sets the tone and direction of the political party. When there is no permanent leader the party is adrift and this is not good for Canadian politics.

The Conservatives are not choosing a new leader till May 27th 2017, 11 months from now and more than 18 months after Stephen Harper resigned.

The NDP is waiting even longer. The party will not have a new leader till October 2017 which is almost two years after the last election. The NDP has not even finalized the rules for their leadership race.

Without leaders for the two primary opposition parties there is very little serious parliamentary opposition to the Liberal government. A weak opposition makes for a weak government. Governments need a force within parliament that holds their feet to the fire.

More concerning about the leadership races is that because they are so long there are very few candidates in the race yet. Not only do the parties have no leader, they have no serious candidates to give anyone a sense of where the parties might be headed.


Among the Conservatives the gulf between the potential direcitons for the party are huge. The party could become very libertarian, socially conservative or Trump-like populist.  The Conservatives have three candidates so far but none of are ones I would call serious heavy weights.   The best known is Maxime Bernier and if he were to win the Conservatives would be a very different party than under Harper, it would be tending towards libertarianism.   

Among the NDP the leader will define if the party is a pragmatic social democratic party trying to be government or a significantly left of centre party that is there to raise issues but not govern.  At the moment there is a single candidate in the race, Cheri DiNovo.   If she were to win it would be a move to the left by the NDP.



Monday, June 27, 2016

Nelson Creston - a possible battle ground riding in 2017

On the surface Nelson Creston looks like a safe NDP riding but that is not the whole picture.    This is an area where the Greens have a reasonable amount of support and could threaten to win the seat in 2017



In every election other than 2009 the Green support in Nelson Creston we much better than
overall provincial level of support for the party

In 1986 the NDP had lost the seat to Social Credit

Howard Dirks, the Socred MLA 1986-91 now ran as a Liberal and his support remained static from 1991
The 1996 result was by far the best results for any Green in Canada to date
Corky Evans lost but in relative terms he did not much better than most of the NDP in 2001
The Greens put a lot of energy into trying to get Collen McCrory elected

Best 2005 come back by a New Democrat

Greens put very little effort into the election

Greens managed to break 20% but spent a lot less money than the NDP or the Liberals
What happens in 2017 if they spend what they are allowed?

Current boundaries of the riding


Friday, June 24, 2016

BC Election 2017: Looking at the Okanagan Shuswap

I want to look at all the regions of the province over the next few months as a baseline of what is going on before the campaign really gets underway.

In this region four the the MLAs were elected in 2013 for the first time, two in 2009 and Christy Clark was elected in a by-election in Westside Kelowna in 2013.   Since 1996 the Liberals have won every seat in this region and I do not expect this to change in 2017.


Regional Results from 1991-2013
2013 Liberals 51.1% NDP 32.0% Cons     10.1% Greens  4.6%
2009 Liberals 42.4% NDP 31.9% Cons     11.9% Greens 11.9%
2005 Liberals 47.1% NDP 36.5% Greens    8.1% Cons    4.0%
2001 Liberals 63.1% NDP 15.1% Greens    9.8% UNity   8.2%
1996 Liberals 40.3% NDP 29.7% Reform   16.4% PDA    10.6%
1991 Socred   34.1% NDP 32.8% Liberals 31.8%
2009 and 2013 the Liberals won 7, 1996 to 2005 the Liberals won 6, 1991 NDP won 3, Socreds won 2 and Liberals 1

Riding Results for any candidate that got more than 10% of the vote
Boundary Similkameen - Linda Larson MLA elected in 2013 for the first time
2013 Liberals 46.6% NDP    39.0%
2013 Liberals 46.0% NDP    39.4% redist to 2017 boundaries
2009 Liberals 37.5% NDP    32.9% Cons     20.2%
1996 Liberals 38.9% NDP    38.2% Reform   15.4%
1991 NDP      48.8% Socred 25.8% Liberals 25.0%
2001 and 2005 riding did not exist

Penticton - Dan Ashton MLA elected in 2013 for the first time
2013 Liberals 45.4% NDP      40.3%
2009 Liberals 44.0% NDP      31.2% Greens 15.7%
As Penticton Okanagan Valley
2005 Liberals 50.2% NDP      37.5%
2001 Liberals 67.2% NDP      15.6% Greens 14.2%
as Okanagan Penticton
1996 Liberals 42.8% NDP      37.0% Reform 12.0%
1991 NDP      34.8% Liberals 32.9% Socred 30.5%

Kelowna West (formerly Westside Kelowna) - Christy Clark MLA - elected in a 2013 by -election
2013 by Liberals 62.7% NDP 29.7%
2013    Liberals 58.1% NDP 30.8% Cons 11.1%
2009    Liberals 53.3% NDP 29.2%
As Okanagan Westside
2005    Liberals 54.4% NDP 30.8% Green 10.1%
2001    Liberals 68.1% NDP 15.2%
before 2001 there was no riding like this

Kelowna Mission - Steve Thomson MLA first elected in 2009
2013 Liberals 56.9% NDP 25.8% Cons  12.7%
2009 Liberals 53.9% NDP 26.1% Cons  11.9%
2005 Liberals 53.7% NDP 31.8% Green 12.9%
2001 Liberals 64.6% NDP 12.9% Green 10.9%
There was no comparable riding before 2001

Kelowna Lake Country - Norm Letnik MLA first elected in 2009
2013 Liberals 56.8% NDP 24.8% Cons  11.0%
2009 Liberals 52.1% NDP 26.6% Cons  11.4%
2005 Liberals 50.4% NDP 30.4% Green 10.5%
2001 Liberals 63.2% NDP 13.9% Green 11.7%
no equivalent riding existed before 2001

Vernon Monashee - Eric Foster MLA first elected in 2013
2013 Liberals 46.3% NDP 34.2% Cons     11.7%
2009 Liberals 37.3% NDP 31.8% Green    16.7%
2005 Liberals 43.2% NDP 33.6% Cons     11.6%
2001 Liberals 56.5% NDP 14.4% Unity    13.1%
1996 Liberals 39.1% NDP 30.0% Reform   21.4%
1991 Scored   38.0% NDP 34.0% Liberals 26.7%

Shuswap - Greg Kyllo MLA first elected in 2013
2013 Liberals 47.9% NDP      29.6% Cons   12.9%
2009 Liberals 46.6% NDP      30.5% Green  11.0% Cons  10.3%
2005 Liberals 47.0% NDP      35.3%
2001 Liberals 56.3% NDP      16.5% Unity  12.4% Green 10.5%
1996 Liberals 34.6% NDP      31.4% Reform 22.6%
1991 NDP      35.5% Liberals 33.6% Socred 28.9%

Thursday, June 23, 2016