Gary Lunn has been the MP since 1997 and I am not convinced he is in danger of losing this riding. Gary is a great guy, he supports electoral reform, he works hard and he has a dedicated constituency staff that get things done for people. Yes, he had narrow wins in 2004 and 2006, but not wildly narrow and not that low. Given the polls in BC, he is vote will be up in this election and should be back over 40%.
Briony Penn is somehow the darling of a whole segment of the population that believe she can win based on everyone that voted NDP and Green voting for her. In fact the core of her campaign has been that the Greens and NDP should be out of the race so that she can defeat Gary Lunn. This ignores the fact that in BC in the fortunes of the NDP are in anyway connected to the Liberals.
In the last five elections the Liberal vote in BC has been static - 28%. In the last six elections the NDP vote in BC has been as high 37.5% and as low as 11.3%. If there was some sort of a transition between the two parties, as the NDP vote fell, the Liberal vote should have risen. What the past shows us is that the people that vote Liberal in BC are not the same people that vote NDP. In 1993, 1997, and 2000 a good part of the NDP vote went to the Reform/CA.
Given that there is no NDP candidate in the riding, by his name is still on the ballot, how many votes will he take? I am estimating the NDP will still get 10% to 15% in this riding as many long term New Democrats are not going to vote for anyone else.
Andrew Lewis of the Greens did well here in 2004 come fourth but close to the NDP, not badly in 2006 but a distance fourth with 10% of the vote. His campaign is not nearly strong enough on the ground to make the sort of difference that he needs to make a break through. I see him getting 15% of the vote.
With the Greens and NDP still taking 25% to 30% of the vote in the riding and Gary Lunn at a minimum of 40%, this only leaves 30% to 35% for Briony Penn.
But what about strategic voting? Yes, that will be going on, but this represents only a part of the population. Many people are not willing to strategically vote. Typically you can not ascribe more than 5% of the vote to this category. It also ignores that there are people strategically voting to keep Briony Penn out because she is too left wing for them, people that have voted Liberal in past elections.
There are other candidates running in this riding.
Jermey Arney of the Canada Action Party
Dale Leier of the Libertarians
Dan Moreau of the Christian Heritage Party
Patricia O'Brien of the Western Block Party - thier only candidate in this election.