By Roy L Hales
Green Party Andrew Weaver received an incredible surprise when he heard the results of Check TV’s online election survey two days ago. A Vancouver Island poll suggests the Greens could pick up two seats.
Greens Could Pick Up Two Seats
Chek TV asked its’ viewers, “if the provincial election were held today which party would you vote for?”
As you can see in the chart at the top of this page, 52% responded “Greens.” While the BC Liberals poor showing is understandable, the Greens were also trouncing the NDP (who had 32%).
This is a very different result than what Mainstreet Research reported in the Vancouver Island-wide-component of their March 11-12 poll. The NDP have increased their lead to 31%, the BC Liberals have 24% and the Greens trailing at 16%. (If you include votes “leaning towards” a party, the numbers are: 40% NDP; 32% BC Liberals; 22% Green; 6% BC Conservative.)
The discrepancy between these two polls may arise because Chek TV’s core viewing audience is largely in Greater Victoria and Southern Vancouver Island. This is also where the Greens are strongest. Mainstream’s data does not consider this region apart from the rest of Vancouver Island.
Mainstreet Polling’s Province-Wide Findings
Most British Columbians see this election as a contest between the province’s two major political parties. In their first poll, taken February 18-19, Mainstreet Research found they were tied at 37% in terms of decided and leaning voters. Since then, the BC Liberals have slipped back to 36% and the NDP have increased their lead to 40%.
Province wide, the Green Party’s numbers have dropped from 17% to 13%.
I suspect this number could significantly change if voters decide that the Greens are a serious option. Given the BC Liberals current energy policies, it is difficult to believe that anyone who takes the threat of climate change seriously would vote for them. The NDP would address some of the province’s issues, such as the highly controversial Site C Dam, but their endorsement of the proposed emissions heavy LNG terminal expansion makes them a questionable choice. Only the Green party endorses a truly low emissions future (including options like geothermal energy, which could meet all of the province’s future energy needs). It is not certain how many of the Green party’s potential supporters intend to vote NDP for strategic reasons (“Anybody else is better than the BC Liberals!”), but 40% of the NDP’s supporters told Mainstream the Greens are their “second” choice. The Greens were also popular with 15% of the Liberals and 40% of the BC Conservatives.
Support For The Green Party
We appear to be witnessing the situation that was evidenced in the last Federal election. When you include the number of voters “considering” them, the Greens appeared to be on the verge of becoming a major contender in August 2015. These voters eventually went to the Liberals or NDP, who were better positioned to defeat Stephen Harper.
A similar situation is occurring in this election. The Chek TV survey suggests the Greens could pick up two seats in Southern Vancouver Island. This is the region that has already elected Elizabeth May (Federally) and Andrew Weaver (Provincially).
Top diagram: Chek News’ online Vancouver Island Poll (which I interpret as suggesting the Greens could pick up two seats in Southern Vancouver Island.