By Roy L Hales
At best, advance polling and projections depict the situation at a given point in time. The September 8, 2019, projections from 338Canada show the Green party continuing to maintain a healthy lead in four Vancouver Island ridings. However, in the midst of an intense three way race for second place, the data shows support for the Conservatives rising.
The Conservatives could win as many as three seats; however with a very slight shift in the vote two of these seats could go to the NDP.
The battle in our riding, Powell River – North Island, illustrates how close this race is. Our current MP, Rachel Blaney, and her Conservative challenger Shelly Downey are locked in an intense seesaw battle.
A Slight Change Makes A Big Difference
This is the latest phase of the long NDP-Conservative battle for Vancouver Island. While the two parties captured an equal number of seats in 2008, the NDP swept most of the island during the last election. Adding or subtracting a mere 3% to the current popular vote projection (PVP) for either party could result in their winning three seats – or losing everywhere.
The Green Surge
The biggest story of this election continues to be the Green Party’s phenomenal surge throughout Vancouver Island. Confined to Elizabeth May’s riding of Saanich – Gulf Islands up until a few months ago, they are now within easy striking distance of capturing as many as six of the islands seven ridings. A slight rise in the percentage of people voting Green could accomplish this. Regardless, Elizabeth May will most likely have company this next coming term.
The Biggest Losers
The biggest loser in this race, so far, is the Liberal party. Though statistically tied with both the NDP and Conservatives, their support is spread so evenly that they most likely will not win a single seat. Mind you, Vancouver Island has not sent a Liberal to Ottawa since 2008.
Note Regarding Boundary Changes
For the purpose of this study, I oversimplified the identifications of Vancouver Island’s historic ridings in my top chart. As a result of recent boundary changes, most of data for the 2011 and 2008 elections only loosely corresponds to the areas where they are displayed.
- Courtenay-Alberni – was made up of (2011) Nanaimo-Alberni, but also part of Vancouver Island North.
- Cowichan-Malahat-Langford – includes much of (2012) Nanaimo—Cowichan, but also part of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.
- Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke – includes much of (2012) Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, but also part of Saanich—Gulf Islands.
- Nanaimo-Ladysmith – includes much of (2011) Nanaimo-Cowichan, but also part of Nanaimo Alberni.
- Powell River – North Island – was carved out of (2011) Vancouver Island North.
- Saanich—Gulf Islands – boundaries were changed in 2012.
- Victoria – is the only riding whose boundaries have not been altered during the period being studied.
Top photo credit: Viewing the House of Commons from the Opposition side by A Yee via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)