Further election number crunching that suggests the centre-left vote split is myth.
By Tom Barrett
May 31, 2013
The Green Party’s biggest gains in the May 14 election seem to have come at the expense of the Liberals.
During the campaign, the New Democrats seemed obsessed with losing votes to the Greens. The Liberals even tweaked the NDP by running a pro-Green newspaper ad in Victoria near the end of the campaign.
Maybe the Liberals should have saved their money.
The final count shows the five ridings where the Green vote increased the most were all in southern Vancouver Island. And in four of those ridings, the Liberal vote dropped more than the NDP vote.
One popular theory holds that the Greens steal votes from the NDP. If that were true, you’d expect the Greens’ gains to come at the expense of the NDP in these ridings. But that doesn’t seem to have happened.
In Oak Bay-Gordon Head, where Andrew Weaver won the Greens their first seat ever, the Greens picked up 8,392 more votes than in 2009. At the same time, the NDP vote dropped by 3,780.
But the Liberals, who won the seat in 2009, saw their vote drop by 4,110. Those votes don’t seem to have gone to the Conservative party, which is usually assumed to be the biggest vote-splitting threat to the Liberals. The Conservative vote increased by only 492 over 2009.
The numbers suggest that the Greens pulled a lot of support from former Liberal voters.
Libs suffered in Island ridings
Now, it’s possible that a whole lot of Liberal supporters stayed home May 14 and a whole bunch of new Green supporters turned out for the first time. Or a lot of Liberal supporters switched to the NDP and some NDP supporters switched to the Greens. But, given the size of the Liberal collapse, it seems likely that plenty of former Liberal supporters went Green.
The overall number of valid votes in Oak Bay-Gordon Head increased by 994, or four per cent, suggesting that Weaver’s support didn’t all come from new voters.
The Greens’ other big increase came in Saanich North and the Islands, which also went Liberal in 2009. This time, after all the ballots were counted, the NDP took this riding in a close three-way race.
The Green vote increased 6,913. The NDP vote dropped 2,363. The Liberal vote dropped 2,784. There was no Conservative candidate.
Overall, the vote in Saanich North and the Islands increased by 2,365, a hefty eight per cent over 2009. Continue reading