Justin Trudeau, left, Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh. (CP)

Justin Trudeau, left, Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh. (CP)

Spotlight on B.C.: Liberals need at least 10 B.C. ridings to take the election

Black Press Media presents a four-part series into how B.C. will affect the federal election outcome

By Bruce Cameron

Two friends of mine who were born and raised in Eastern Canada, but who now live in Western Canada (one in Calgary and the other in Kelowna), lamented the choices they face in this election.

“Do I vote for the guy I’m not sure about, to keep the guy I don’t like from becoming prime minister?” one said. The other complained, “I wish I could finally vote for someone I want, rather than against who I definitely don’t want.”

On Oct. 21, many Canadians face such a “no-win situation.”

Traditional polling methodologies can accurately measure popularity and approval ratings for party leaders.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is slightly ahead of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as preferred PM, while the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh trended upward a bit since the English-language debate.

However, “horse race” polling questions, such as who will you vote for, are far less accurate in assessing the no-win trade-offs that are on the ballot Monday.

In a close election, regions like the suburbs of Toronto or the Greater Vancouver area become crucial battlegrounds to determine the outcome.

From the outset of the campaign, pollsters have argued about which party is leading in one crucial area: the 905 belt of suburban ridings surrounding Toronto.

Some argue that, due to the unpopularity of Scheer ally and fellow Conservative, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the Liberals lead there. Others, who have measured a positive reaction to Scheer’s tax policies, refute that.

One thing all pollsters can agree on, however, is that Canada is likely to have a minority government.

Electoral forecast models have consistently shown the Liberals leading the Conservatives because they can more easily convert their voter support (roughly equal between the two main parties as of Oct. 17) into enough seats to form government.

Although the Liberals maintain an edge in many of those forecasts, the late surge by the Bloc Quebecois and the slight rise in NDP support have eroded that theoretical Liberal lead.

Another factor working against the Conservatives throughout this campaign is leadership. Despite Trudeau’s missteps, at no time has Scheer ever led polling on the question of who would make the best prime minister.

If, as I expect, the Conservatives fall short of forming government Oct. 21, much of the blame for failing to seize the opportunity will be placed at Scheer’s feet.

Two events shaping the B.C. political landscape, and therefore the outcome of the federal election, are the late bump in polling support for Singh, and the inability of the Green Party, led by Elizabeth May, to build momentum as the third-party alternative.

Most seat projection models expect the Conservatives to pick up seats in B.C., adding to the 10 they currently hold. But could they double their seat count here? Not if the NDP rise in support makes them unexpectedly competitive in ridings like Kootenay–Columbia.

READ MORE: Have Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Furthermore, given the uninspired campaign run by the Greens, formerly safe Conservative seats like Courtenay–Alberni , which the NDP won in 2015, may remain in the New Democrat column.

As for the Liberals, remember that they unexpectedly won some seats in Greater Vancouver in 2015, despite being heavily outspent by NDP and Conservative opponents.

With the Liberals raising and spending much more money in 2019 in ridings like Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam and Burnaby North–Seymour, they hope to retain at least 10 and perhaps up to a dozen B.C. seats.

But the party will need more than just money to hold onto government. It might be so close on election night that the final result hinges on whether the Liberals can fend off independent challenger, former Liberal cabinet minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, in Vancouver Granville.

ALSO READ: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

In a no-win situation, which many Canadians feel they are in at the moment, the outcome appears “too close to call.” But I will venture out on a limb and call it: The Liberals will win more seats than the Conservatives, requiring NDP or Green support to govern.

For that to happen, the Liberals need to win at least 10 seats in B.C., and the NDP must retain some seats initially thought vulnerable to the Conservatives or Greens at the outset of the campaign began.

Campaign predictions can be subject to frequent change. This piece was published on Oct. 18, 2019.

Bruce Cameron, Black Press Media’s polling analyst, is the founder of Return On Insight. Follow him on Twitter @roitweets

Read our other stories in this series:

Spotlight on B.C.: How will the province affect the federal election?

Spotlight on B.C.: Setting the agenda on key election issues

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read