The project team here at electionprediction.org finds it unfortunate that many of the battles were decided without much local considerations, and we feel sorry for the handful of decent NDP MLAs who will without a doubt be defeated (notably: Waddel, Hartley, and Zirnhelt; and mostly likely losing: Evans, Bonwick, John and Hammell.). We are will watch keenly the shape up of the Liberal Government. We are hopeful that the progressive bright minds on the Liberal bench (notably: Clark, Hansen, Reid and Plant) will play pivotal roles in the Cabinet.
Here are the constituencies where the "79 Gordon Campbells" theory may fall apart.
Joy MacPhil in Vancouver Hastings and Jenny Kwan in Vancouver Mount Pleasant are the NDP best bets in the province. Both of them were visible and high profile as minister of the crown, and should be fairly safe. Vancouver Burrard and Vancouver Kensington will be the battleground in Vancouver.
The campaign in Burrard was a competition of mud slinging. Stevenson, first openly gay government minister in Canada, faces challenge from a high-profile (whether respected or not is another issue) gay Liberal. This election will put the "affluent-gay vote" (That wealthy gays will put fiscal issue ahead of equality and social justice issue) theory to a test.
In Kensington, Premier Ujjal is having a tough time defending his own seat. BC (especially Vancouverites) have a history of defeating heads of government in their own turf. His challenger Patrick Wong, though low profile, is scoring points by projecting a "normal, honest person" image (along with his Chinese card in this heavily Chinese riding) and his massive campaign machine backed by central party operatives. The homophobic comment he made will probably have no effect in this riding, but may hurt the Liberal in other battleground races.
In the surrounding cities, the NDP only have chances in Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain and Surrey-Whalley, and remote chances in New Westminster and Surrey-Green Timbers. They are not at all competitive even in former strong hold Burnaby (especially Edmonds which unlike Willingdon and North, remains rather poor).
Port Coquitlam-Burke Mountain received the most submissions in this project, most of the blatantly partisan. The Liberal candidates in the Tri-cities benefited from the "Super Star Effect" of Christy Clark. Without that Manhas probably did not even have a fighting chance. Unlike other Liberals, Manhas is facing one of the most visible ministers in the NDP government. He also has to deal with the vote split cause by Unity leader Chris Delaney. Most agreed that he was "muzzled" by the central party to prevent further damage midway through the campaign. Whether the strong liberal campaign machine (keep in mind that Farnworth’s campaign is one of the few NDP that is fully functioning) will overcome Manhas personal weakness will determine the result.
Joan Smallwood has a good name throughout his tenure as NDP ministers and MLA. However that may not be enough to keep her seat in Surrey-Walley. Her challenger is not particularly notable or strong. Smallwood biggest opponent is the change of demographics in Surrey. If she retains her seat, it will be because of her personal appeal.
Sue Hammell has similar problem as Joan Smallwood in Surrey-Green Timbers. However, she is nowhere as high profile or as popular as Smallwood. She gained prominence when she quitted Glen Clark’s government, but the Liberal machine and candidate (Locke) in her riding is much stronger that in Whalley. The odd is against her.
Graeme Bowbrick finally got some momentum behind him in the final days of the campaign. But that might be too late to save his seat in the labour strong hold New Westminster. He won his seat by surprise in 1996 and his challenger this time around is much weaker than last. However the provincial trend might be too much for this soft-spoken minister to handle. The odd is against him.
Fraser Valley and Interior
A Liberal clean sweep (or NDP wipe out) in the Fraser Valley and Interior BC is predicted. However, we think there is some remote chances that Cocky Evans may retain his seat and the NDP may mobilize enough vote to keep North Coast.
Corky Evans is well liked by supporter of both side, and has achieved high profile through his two leadership campaigns and his solid tenure as a minister. However the surprisingly strong Green campaign in Nelson Creston may split enough votes to cost him his seat. It was interesting that none of the predictions made for a Liberal win mentioned anything about the Liberal candidate. Evans’s defeat will be purely cause by larger trend.
Dan Miller won North Coast with large plurality in 1996. However the anti NDP sentiment is vivid in the area. Traditionally the NDP can count on the NDP to back them up, but with First Nation Party in the mix, the chances of NDP holding this seat is remote.
NDP is putting a lot of hope on the Island as all media reported that they polled best in the capital region. The latest round of polls put them in the high twenties in the capital region. If one takes away the Liberal strongholds of Oak Bay and Saanich North (plus Saanich South since Andrew Petter is not seeking re-election), the NDP's chances look even better in Victoria. There are also interesting races going on in Powell River Sunshine Coast and Malahat-Juan de Fuca.
NDP is placing a lot of hope and resources to make sure Steve Orcherton in Victoria-Hillside and Carole James in Victoria-Beacon Hill hold the civil servant turf for the party. Orcherton is facing his challenger from 1996 Sheila Orr. Although Orcherton is not particularly competent as a legislator and administrator, he is popular as a local representative and have strong union operative behind him. James is (rightfully so) portrayed as the star candidates for the NDP. She inherited the constituency from the highly respected Gretchen Brewin. James has the image of a hard working, competent public servant, which is identical to what her opponent Jeff Bray has to offer. The strength of the Green campaign may be the deciding factor in Victoria. They have been very strong during the 27 days, but whether they have the experience that NDP and Liberals have to operate a good e-day campaign remains to be seen.
In Esquimalt-Metchosin, the campaign is about how much appeal Moe Sihota still have without being on the ballot. He took 59% of the vote in 1996, and is campaigning hard for Maurine Karagianis, his former minister assistant who is carrying the NDP banner. However the provincial trend may again be too big to overcome.
Powell River Sunshine Coast is the only constituency our project believes have a chance to electing Green. Let it also be on the record that the project team is unanimously glad that Gordon Wilson’s political career is coming to an end. Recent polls point to a healthy lead by the Liberal candidate, but the Green is putting a lot of effort to the riding. Since the Premier conceded that they will not win this riding publicly, Green leader Carr may get a significant share of the NDP vote.
We were confident, before the election was called, that Malahat-Juan de Fuca will return an independent member. However Rick Kasper’s campaign lost its momentum and failed to convince the NDP to hold off their effort. Both NDP Richard Hughes and Liberal Brian Kerr ran strong campaign in this area. Will be a close three way races.