By Roy L Hales
P.J. Fournier is a political analyst for CTV Montreal and CJAD 800, as well a contubutor to Maclean’s and L’actualité magazines. After a “certain degree of success” predicting the outcomes of the 2018 provincial elections in Ontario and Quebec, he turned his attention to the national scene. On his website, 338Canada, Fournier gives weekly projections for each of Canada’s 338 ridings. His most recent projection shows the Greens leading in four Vancouver Island ridings, and closely trailing in the other three. The Greens lead on Vancouver Island.
Greens Lead on Vancouver Island
This is not an exact science. While the Greens also polled well in 2015, most Canadians finally chose the candidates they thought had the best chance of beating Stephen Harper. However, in this remote corner of British Columbia – the Greens are currently the party to beat. Fournier’s projections suggests the Greens are way in front with a 32.8% support, The second-place NDP have only 24.2%. Canada’s two largest political parties – the Liberals and Conservatives – are battling it out for third.
These statistics are almost the total opposite of Fournier’s current national election projections, which suggest the Conservatives are slightly ahead in the popular vote: PC (34.4%), Liberal (32.7%), NDP (14.6%) and Greens (10.4%). However in terms of ridings, the Liberals currently lead in 163 ridings, CPC in 143, NDP 16, Bloc 12 and Greens 4.
“The Conservatives are ahead in Western Canada while the Liberals are ahead in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The races are relatively close in B.C., Ontario and the Atlantic. The New Democrats are on track to lose most or all of their seats in Quebec, while the Greens are holding double-digits in B.C., Ontario and Atlantic Canada.” – Canada Poll Tracker
A similar picture emerges across British Columbia, where the Conservatives (30.4%) appear to have supplanted the Liberals (28.7%). The NDP shrank back to 19.8%. This brings them dangerously close to the fourth place Greens (17.1%), who appear to have more support than at any other time in their history. The CBC’s Canada poll tracker suggests the gap between the Greens and NDP is even narrower, 17.1 to 17.9% – a statistical dead heat.
Of course, much will change before Canadians go to the polls on October 21. So Fournier releases a new projection, incorporating more recent data, every Sunday.
Ridings Where The Green Party Leads.
The Green party is leading in four ridings. A whopping 60% of the Saanich–Gulf Islands electorate is expected to return Elizabeth May. Fournier also projects comfortable margins for (recently elected incumbent) Paul Manly in Nanaimo- Ladysmith (+13%) and Racelle Kooy in Victoria (+6%). The race is tighter in Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke, where the Green’s may lead by a little over 2%. Given that there is a margin of error for these statistics and the numbers will change over the course of the next two months, Fournier classifies these four ridings as a “Safe GPC,” “Likely GPC,” “Leaning GPC” and a “Toss Up”.
Ridings Where The Greens Are Within 5%
Greens trail closely in Vancouver Island’s other three ridings, all of which are held by NDP MLAs. Lydia Hwitsum is a little more than 3% behind in Cowichan–Malahat–Langford. Though Rachel Blaney is still leading in North Island – Powell River, the Conservative candidate Shelley Downey and Green Mark de Bruijn are both within 5% of her. The widest gap is in Courtenay-Alberni, where Sean Wood trails by a little more than 6%. Fournier classifies all three of these ridings as “Toss ups”.
These are ridings where the Green Party has never been a serious option. How will voters respond when they realize a radically different scenario is unfolding?
Top photo credit: Elizabeth May by Laurel L. Russwurm via Flickr (CC BY Sa, 2.0 License)