it clever how the NDP is being careful not to peak too early.
The latest Ipsos-Reid
poll shows the NDP with 35% support, the Liberals with
46% and the Greens with 15%.
2005 the Greens finished with 9.2% of the overall popular
vote; in 2001 they had 12.4 % and in 1996 they had only 2.0%.
It would be surprising if they hold on to the 15% shown in
the poll. In the Vancouver
by-elections held last October, Green leader Jane Sterk
won just 7.4% of the vote; in Vancouver-Burrard her colleague,
Drina Read, won only 5.3%. Some pundits call the Greens B.C.'s
biggest parking lot, a lot that empties on voting day.
is interesting to look back to see what happened the last
time a provincial election finished with an eleven point gap
between the first and second parties. The 2001 sweep has to
be ignored; that's when the Liberals won 57.6% of the vote,
more than double the NDP's 21.6%. Other than that, B.C. elections
have been surprisingly close. We have to go back to 1975,
when Bill Bennett defeated Dave Barrett, to find a ten point
gap, Socreds 49.3%, NDP 39.2%. The legislature only had 57
seats in 1975. Social Credit won 35, the NDP 18, the Liberals
1 and Conservatives 1. Those who claim that it is necessary
to change how MLAs are elected in order to help small parties
should examine those results, or the results from 1972 or
1969 or earlier when the Liberals managed to join the Socreds
and NDP in winning seats.
James should give serious thought to dusting off the campaign
strategy that worked for Dave Barrett in 1972 - elect a strong
opposition. If the 11 point gap holds to voting day on May
12th, the NDP would likely lose a dozen seats. Of course that
is a big "IF", in the sense of if pigs had wings
they could fly unless they were like penguins. Campaigns matter
when the major parties swamp the media with millions of dollars
in advertising. Adding what was spent by both the central
parties and at the constituency level, in 2005 the Liberals
spent $7.76 million, the NDP $5.88 million and the Greens
$281,000. Those differences might say something about the
Green parking lot.
voters have yet to begin to think about politics, let alone
what will sway their vote. The only poll that counts is on
May 12th. New Democrats have to hope that the Liberals continue
to underestimate Carole James right through to the final vote