Friday, October 26, 2012

A first pass at predicting the Victoria by-election

We are five days into the Victoria by-election and I am actually amazed at how quiet things are.  I thought I would take a moment and make an estimate of how the by-election might play out.

By-elections are very hard to predict for many reasons.   We do not have local polling data, there is no national campaign going on, and the turnout will be much lower.    The easiest prediction I can make is that I am reasonably certain that Murray Ranking of the NDP will win.

The Candidates
Murray Rankin is a respectable NDP candidate but he is not Denise Savoie.   The public do not know him and have no idea how good an MP he will make.    Denise was a popular MP even with a lot of people that do not support the NDP - if Patrick Hunt, a friend and someone I have lot of time for, had not been running 2011 I would have voted for Denise.

Murray Rankin will draw fewer supporters than Denise did.  I think we need to look to 2004 and 2006 for guidance for the NDP vote.

Dale Gann for the Conservatives is a bit better known locally than Patrick Hunt was in the 2011 election, but not enough to make much difference to the election in my opinion.

Paul Summerville has some following but lacks the degree of local recognition that former Oak Bay mayor Chris Causton had in the 2011 election.   The Liberals are down a bit from the candidate perspective.

Donald Galloway is definitely a serious step up for the Greens in Victoria.   As much as Jared Giesbrecht, Adam Saab and Ariel Lade were great guys, they went into the elections really as complete unknowns with no standing to boost the Greens.   Donald Galloway certainly will increase the Green vote.

The Money
In the last four elections the NDP, Conservatives and Liberals have all basically spent the limit of what they were allowed to other than the Liberals in 2008.  The Greens have spent less than half of what they are allowed to.

This time all four parties are likely to spend the limit of what is allowed.   This is only an electoral advantage for the Greens as things have not changed for the other three.

We have no local polling but there has been national polling which gives us some idea of the mood in BC.    In the 2011 election the BC result was CPC 45.5%, NDP 32.5%, Liberals 13.4% and Greens 7.7%.    The latest polling in BC seems to indicate the Conservatives are down from the election, the NDP and Greens up marginally, and the Liberals up moderately.

Elizabeth May
She is popular locally and it is rubbing off on Donald Galloway

Taking these factors into account here is my current estimate
  1. Murray Rankin - NDP   13,500  37.5%
  2. Donald Galloway - Green  8500 23.6%
  3. Paul Summerville - Liberal  8000  22.2%
  4. Dale Gann - Conservative 6500  18.1%
Jumping from fourth to second may seem like a stretch for the Greens, but they have the most factors working in their favour.
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