Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Are BC Wildfires Evidence of Climate Change?

Since 2003 we have seen a significant shift in the area burned in BC wildfires.   Is this evidence of climate change?   It seems the most plausible explanation of what is going on.

To note on the graphs below:
  1. Steam trains caused a lot of fires in BC and were phased out in the 1950s
  2. The 1958 season was dramatic and part of that was the Kech fire which burned about 270,000 hectares
  3. Wildfire fighting technology improved rapidly from the 50s though to the 80s.   A lot of fires were caught early and extinguished



Here is a table of area burned by year going back to 1920 which is the first year there is relatively complete data

Year Total Hectares
2016 98,462 - season not year over
2015 280,445
2014 369,169
2013 18,259
2012 111,645
2011 12,604
2010 337,149
2009 247,419
2008 13,240
2007 29,440
2006 139,265
2005 34,588
2004 220,518
2003 265,053
2002 8,539
2001 9,677
2000 17,673
1999 11,581
1998 76,574
1997 2,960
1996 20,669
1995 48,080
1994 30,310
1993 5,183
1992 30,453
1991 24,709
1990 75,783
1989 25,380
1988 11,482
1987 33,850
1986 17,260
1985 236,252
1984 19,908
1983 67,378
1982 348,663
1981 106,593
1980 65,578
1979 29,447
1978 50,081
1977 3,796
1976 57,020
1975 24,911
1974 21,728
1973 33,422
1972 26,087
1971 351,890
1970 105,688
1969 164,688
1968 13,519
1967 99,016
1966 177,268
1965 62,833
1964 3,135
1963 18,756
1962 18,461
1961 115,667
1960 285,820
1959 110,735
1958 835,848
1957 66,724
1956 190,060
1955 18,896
1954 4,172
1953 15,368
1952 61,677
1951 170,354
1950 343,274
1949 58,902
1948 155,544
1947 57,775
1946 122,780
1945 142,811
1944 204,831
1943 38,381
1942 180,710
1941 62,681
1940 198,297
1939 19,730
1938 78,292
1937 288,057
1936 22,196
1935 176,904
1934 19,372
1933 258,464
1932 122,005
1931 170,790
1930 402,646
1929 243,889
1928 368,103
1927 43,913
1926 67,035
1925 414,305
1924 162,767
1923 63,778
1922 634,772
1921 59,017
1920 157,762

British newsreel footage of the 1958 fire season in BC

Monday, August 22, 2016

Early Political Ads in the 2017 BC Election Cycle

I am going to try and look at all the various ads that come out in this election cycle.

Here is an NDP ad from this spring.   Clearly a strong negative campaign against Christy Clark.  This sort ad can work well in suppressing the BC Liberal vote by discouraging their supporters from voting.  It does very little to improve the NDP vote.
The danger of this is approach is that the focus becomes the other party and unless you can control the narrative there is a chance you will do much worse in the election.

Here is BC Liberal ad from August 1st    It is very boring and looks like a bland corporate video, but what it does do well is to put out a positive message about Christy Clark.   This is aimed at people that have supported the BC Liberals in the past and is intended to give them the comfort to vote for the party again.

You want a good ad, this 2012 ad is what people should be looking at.  If you are going to go negative it is best to do it with humour.   Even supporters of the BC Liberals can see the humour in this ad.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kootenay East - is this a Bill Bennett seat or is it now right of Centre?

I am looking at Kootenay East because I was asked why I had not included it and Cariboo North among the 21 most competitive in the province given the circumstances in 2017 will be very different in these two ridings than the 2013 election.

Kootenay East is an interesting riding to look at because in the last 13 elections since 1966 it has been won by the NDP six times, Liberals four times and Social Credit three times.

Kootenay East Election Results from 1966 to 2013


Socred/Ref/Unity Liberal Conservative NDP Green others
2013 10252
6023
2009 8404 1612 5844 549
2005 8060
7339 1389
2001 651 10206
3038 1287 718
1996 3718 5887
6398 363 215
1991 5014 3450
7352
1986 7649 539 499 8000
1983 8829 347
8245
1979 6167 975 5350
1975 7915
7223
1972 1615 4267 4169 6065
1969 4267 2604
4282
1966 3070 2123
3605

The election that really stands out is 2013 because the Liberals won it with more votes than the 2001 NDP blow out election.  This I believe is due to the personal popularity of local MLA Bill Bennett.   So what happens now that Bill is retiring?

The riding was historically competitive between the right and left, it was certainly within range of the NDP to win.   Erda Walsh's strong come back in 2005 gave people hope the NDP could win the seat in 2009 but even with the BC Conservative party leader running there the Liberal vote rose and the NDP vote fell.   Bill Bennett's 2009 win is in fact the third largest margin anyone has won by.   The only better margins are Bill's 2001 and 2013 wins.   This very much speaks to this being a strong vote for Bill Bennett

Bill Bennett is known to have a very strong personal following in the riding and has a strong local BC Liberal organization that is loyal to him.   I think the election results bear this out.

So, what happens in 2017?   
Factors at play:
  1. The NDP has never managed to win a majority of the votes when they won while the Socreds and Liberals managed to win more than 50% of the vote five times.    This says to me that without some form of third party cutting into the Liberal vote the NDP will have trouble winning - that 3rd party could be a Conservative, Green or strong local independent
  2. Bill Bennett will be active in helping the BC Liberal candidate win.   I think a good part of the support for Bill will follow onto the BC Liberal candidate in 2016.
  3. The NDP seems to be getting weaker in rural BC.   They have lost ground over the last three elections.   It is very hard to judge how the NDP could do in Kootenay East when I do not have the fainest idea what the party's election strategy is for 2017.
  4. In the 11 elections since 1972 only once, 1986, was it not won by the government.
I suspect the BC Liberals will hold this seat but with a reduced majority and there is no danger of the NDP threatening to win the seat.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Digging into the details of this week's poll

There is a lot more detail in the Innovative Research poll that came out yesterday than what is out in the media and I thought I would look at some of the more interesting things I can find

Issues

If we group issues into larger broad categories - take the numbers with a grain of salt because I am using the existing rounded numbers and not the raw results

Economic Issues 33% - more than half of this is affordable housing
Govt programs 19%
Environment Issues 13%
Social Issues 6%

They asked how likely people were to vote for a party which I find an interesting measure because it shows if the support is deep or not.

Here are the results for "Definitely" and "Very Likely" versus "Would Never Vote For" for each party

Party     +    -   net
Liberals 26%  22%  -4
NDP      19%  27%  -8
Greens   14%  28% -14
BCCP     11%  29% -18

As you can see the Liberals enjoy a significant advantage

Looking at the two major parties in a couple of sub groups
      under 35  35-54  over 54
Party     +       +       +
Liberals 25%     24%     28%
NDP      24%     17%     19%

Among younger voters the NDP is very close to the Liberals but still behind as you get to older groups the NDP falls behind

by region
       Van/LM North/Int Van Isle
Party     +       +        +
Liberals 29%     23%      21%
NDP      22%     15%      20%

They also have a table looking at how people said they would vote compared to how likely or they were to support the NDP and Liberals

What this table shows is there someone that is willing to seriously consider the NDP but does not vote for them is more likely to vote for the Liberals than the Greens.

Another thing that stands out is the high result for the BC Conservatives in the Not Very/Would Never category for both parties.   It says to me there is a group of conservatives in BC that hate both the NDP and the Liberals.   

The Liberals have a significantly better number for getting the vote or the people that would seriously consider their party than the NDP does.   That together with the size of the category means the BC Liberals have a much larger safe core pool of support than the NDP.

Now if we look at people that are open to voting for a party, Somewhat likely or better in the poll, here are he results.   This is a good measure of the theoretical ceiling for each party

Party     +   

Liberals 55%   
NDP      46% 
Greens   41%  
BCCP     32%  

This is very bad for the NDP.   For them to win they need to get almost everyone open to voting for them to vote for them.   At the same time the Liberals can achieve a win with about 80%

However you slice it, this is a very bad poll for the NDP.   If the data is a good reflection of reality the NDP has to do something drastic to change the landscape to be able to win.

Monday, August 8, 2016

State of Nominations for the 2017 BC Election

I am quite stunned that it is the summer before the 2017 election and there are very few candidates actually nominated to run in the next provincial election.   If you are not the incumbent it takes a long time to build a campaign team that can give you a reasonable chance of winning given an electorate of about 40,000 voters.

The Greens will announce Andrew Weaver's nomination tomorrow which will be their first one followed by Adam Olsen on Wednesday

I believe independent Vicki Huntington will run again in Delta South but I have not yet seen anything to confirm this.

Among the BC Liberals 26 candidates have been nominated - 21 sitting MLAs and five new candidates, though one of those is Marc Dalton who was an MLA, resigned to run federally and lost.  
2013 we saw 18 of the MLAs elected as Liberals not run again which is why we going to see a much smaller number or retirements this time.  As of this time four Liberal MLAs are not running again.

I can only find evidence of a few nominations underway for the NDP with only Jagrup Brar being nominated so far.   I can not find any place on the NDP website showing who the candidates are.   There is no place where they highlight the team for 2017.

Three NDP MLAs have stated they will not run again.  Among the remaining 32 MLAs many of them have said they are running again but I can not find a clear list of who has stated they are running again and who has yet to declare.

In the last three elections the NDP had a lot of candidates nominated by this point in the election cycle.   The party needs to pick up a net of nine seats to get to government.   To have a chance of picking up nine seats the party needs to seriously try in about 20 ridings that it does not currently hold.   The NDP seems to be leaving things late and I can not figure out the strategy behind that.

Interview with Chloé Ellis, candidate for the leadership of the BC Conse...





Chloé Ellis is one of four people running to become the next leader of the BC Conservative party. She is a young urban woman with actual political experience.

I think she can win the leadership because there are so few members of the party and she has a team that can sign up enough new members. Will the current party members accept her?

Link to her website
http://freshstartforbc.wixsite.com/fr...

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/freshstartforbc

Twitter
https://twitter.com/freshstartforbc

Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN5f...

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/freshstartf...