Soutar, Ian Donnelly
|Deviation from average:||11.10%|
|Geographical Area:||620 sq km|
|2013 Election Result ||
Previous Prediction - 2013 Provincial Election
Previous Prediction - 2009 Provincial Election
|In the last parliament, the NDP won Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam in by-elections, only to lose both on election day 2013. With the highly motivated and organized NDP vote, it is easy to pick up seats like this to 'send a message to the government' when it will not sway the balance of power in the legislature and where a victory can be plucked with a third or less of the votes you'd need to turn out on election day. It's much harder to win a seat like this one on election day when the stakes are high and you have 86 other battles to fight around the province. This will be an easy Liberal win back.|
|Clearly, Mr. Prediction would more appropriately be named Mr. Projection - he accuses others of rationalizing the outcome, yet he declares - without further explanation or analysis - that the demographics have shifted enough to erase a 21-point margin that existed when this was an open seat only 8 years ago. I have made my case for why this riding still tilts BCL based on empirical observations of byelections and normal fluctuations in partisan support in this highly-polarized province, and this district just doesn’t look like a bellwether. Although a former BCL supporter, I haven’t volunteered in any campaign since 2009. I am a current BC Green member and supporter but not involved with any campaign. I have no reason to rationalize a BCL win over the NDP here or anywhere. Can Mr. Projection say he has no horse in this race?|
Although the NDP is leading the BCLs by a small margin, we have already observed Christy Clark and her well-funded party erase a much bigger deficit in 2013. That's because the NDP don’t win when they have a lead in the polls. They outperform their polling - and have even won twice - when trailing (1972, 1996, 2001 (surprisingly), 2005, 2009) and underperform when leading (1979, 1983, 1986, 2013). 1991 is the only example where they led polls and still won, but there was a realignment of the entire centre-right during the middle of the campaign. When centre-right voters think the NDP can’t win, they are comfortable staying home or protest voting; when they think the NDP has a shot, they vote for the most viable alternative.
The NDP also only wins when the centre-right is divided. If you look at the NDP’s best 5 elections in terms of vote percentage (1979, 1983, 1986, 2005, and 2009), they won between 41-46% and lost. The NDP has only won elections with 39-41% when the SoCreds, Liberals, PCs, Reform and/or PDA divided a combined 57-60% of the vote (1972, 1991, and 1996).
In 2013, the NDP are facing a generally undivided centre-right. The BC Conservatives won 4.8% last time with a former MP as their leader, even though polls placed them in double digits during the campaign and even tied with the BCL in 2012. Although polling double-digits again, they are now leaderless, have candidates nominated in only 6 districts with candidate “interviews being scheduled” or “recruitment underway” in only a handful more. There is no such candidate activity to speak of whatsoever in Burnaby-New West or the Tri-Cities even though they won 5.5% in this district in 2013. I would be shocked if the BC Conservatives did better anywhere than they did in 2013, except maybe Peace River.
At the same time, the NDP have a serious centrist/centre-left opponent. The Greens have more candidates already nominated (70) than they ran in 2013 (61), a high-profile and elected leader, and substantially more money. The NDP is trying to hold both the labour and environmental vote, but the BCLs know how to use wedge issues like ride-sharing and pipelines to break up that coalition in favour of either the Greens or themselves.
Under these conditions, I can't see the NDP winning, let alone holding their byelection gain in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.
|So here's the reality with this riding: South Islander's prediction makes a lot of assumptions and statements to fit a narrative that produces a Liberal. Voters don't go groveling to the government because they were given better transit options (they might punish the government for not, but they don't exactly go 'Oh wow Christy Clark brought us skytrain therefore we're going to vote for her'). Also the assumption that the Liberals are campaigning here should be followed with the assumption that the NDP MLA is as well. Who knows how hard either are working? One would think their both working hard and running big campaigns.|
This is a riding that has exploded in size and is probably moving more from being a naturally Liberal riding to more of a battleground riding.
So the outcome of this riding comes down probably to who forms government and who puts on the better local campaign.
I'm a little bullish on John Horgan's chances and I think if he forms government this riding will be one he keeps.
Whoever the previous MLA was resigning isn't going to factor into the election outcome.
|There may be demographic changes and transit users as Mr. Prediction mentioned, but residents have been well-served by the government (the Evergreen Line). That's why only last year, they voted against a government 3 years into its 4th straight term by a mere 8% in a byelection. A narrow byelection gain by the opposition never bodes well for their chances of holding in the general.|
I mentioned the 2012 Chilliwack-Hope byelection in an earlier post, but neglected to mention the byelection next door in Port Moody-Coquitlam. Trasolini gained the district by 24% and still lost by 2% the following year. One of the reasons for the huge swing compared to 2009 - from a 12% BCL margin for a total swing of 36% - was backlash against the BCLs for Iain Black's opportunistic decision not to complete his term so he could take a position as president and CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade.
If you also look at the 2008 byelections in Vancouver and compare to the general in 2009, there was a swing back to the BCLs of 13%: from a 10% NDP margin in the byelections in the 2 ridings to 3% BCL margin in the general. Compared to 2005, the NDP had improved their margins in the byelections relative to the BCLs by 14% in Burrard but only 3% in Fairview. The main reason for the difference is that they benefited from 'opportunism backlash' in Burrard - where BCL MLA Mayencourt resigned to seek the CPC nomination - but it worked against them in Fairview - where NDP MLA Robertson left 3-years into his term to seek the mayoralty.
In 2009, the BCL even managed to win Fairview back. Despite McGinn's incumbency, she faced MacDiarmid - who was able to continue campaigning for 7-straight months after the byelection - in the rematch. In this district, Wickens was elected in February 2016, but her opponent Isaacs was renominated the following May and has been campaigning ever since. Incumbency advantage and name recognition don't exactly help when you have such a short term to get anything done before a rematch with an opponent who has been campaigning non-stop since your election.
If the post-byelection swings to the incumbent BCLs were 23% (C-H) and 26% (PM-C) in 2013, and 13% (Van) in 2009 (a swing reduced by 'opportunism backlash' for Robertson's departure) then a byelection win in 2016 by a mere 8% - despite any opportunism backlash for Horne's federal run - looks like a very likely BCL gain in May. After all, this is a district that went BCL by over 20% (with no incumbent) as recently as 2009, and demographic changes don't erase natural partisan tilts that big in under a decade.
| ||17 03 12
|I think a lot of predictions here discount just how much the riding has changed. CQB was created in 2009 and has boomed in population. Lots of transit oriented renters and young families make up the riding. Not at all the case in 2009 and not as much in 2013. The NDP also seem to be increasingly organized since the last provincial and federal election. Add to that an incumbent MLA with some name recognition and you have the possibility of an NDP win.|
Ultimately the riding will be a bellwether for whoever forms government. If BC dumps Premier Clark expect this to be one of the ridings part of the NDP's wins.
| ||17 03 09
|This is naturally a solid BCL seat (21% margin in 2009; 13% in 2013) that went NDP in a byelection a year ago. A 15-year incumbent government losing a seat by only 8% in a byelection isn't exactly a bad sign for the BCL though. In a 2012 byelection, the NDP picked up Chilliwack-Hope - which had gone BCL by 20% in the 2009 general - by 10%. They still lost it in the 2013 general by 13%. I doubt the NDP will do well enough during the campaign to hang on here.|
| ||17 02 25
|The BC NDP won this riding in February, 2016 during a by-election, which saw just 20% voter turnout - the lowest by-election turnout in decades. The BC NDP won this seat by 633 votes while ~12,000 2013 voters stayed home.|
The riding caan be broken down, generally speaking, into 3 areas:
1. Westwood Plateau - mostly upper-middle class single family dwellings. The BC Liberals won the vast amount of polling stations here in 2013.
2. Coquitlam Town Centre - older area with a mix of BC Liberal and BC NDP polling station wins here in 2013. More importantly, a major building boom is occurring here in terms of new condo tower developments. These are owner-occupiers who trend BC Liberal in their voting intentions and located where BC Liberals won 2013 polling stations.
3. Burke Montaain - a relatively new area experiencing a building boom in terms of both single-family dwellings and townhouses. The BC Liberals won all polling stations here in 2013.
The recent Stats Can census numbers released confirm that Coquitlam had the 3rd highest population growth rate at 9.8% (after Langley and Surrey). Most of the population increase in Coquitlam can be attributed to the condo tower construction in the Coquitlam Town Centre and SFDs/townhouses on Burke Mountain. Again, this trend favours the BC Liberals.
During the 2013 election, the BC Liberals won this riding by a 12.5% margin. Moreover, the BCCP, which is now leaderless and insolvent likely won't be running candidates, if any, in 2017. The BCCP candidate here won 5.5% in 2013, which should provide the BC Liberals with an extra cushion.
All demographic and historic voting patterns in this riding indicate a somewhat safe BC Liberal win in 2017.
| ||17 01 07
|Will byelection winner Jodie Wickens get re-elected in May? It's a tough one as this seat has NEVER voted NDP before, but now Jodie is the incumbent. A lot will depend on how Clark is doing provincially, but I got to go with historical results and say the Liberals will snag this seat back.|