What to watch for in the B.C. election
Residents of British Columbia are heading to the polls today to vote in what has been one of the tightest races in the province’s recent history.
Here are three things to watch after polls close at 8 p.m. PT tonight.
1. Can Christy Clark extend a winning streak?
B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark is hoping to become the first woman to be re-elected as premier in Canada’s history today, and to extend her party’s winning streak to five straight victories since 2001.
Just like her first campaign as leader in 2013, Clark has run on a promise to create and protect jobs, particularly in resource and energy industries in the province’s interior where she has her strongest support.
And just like in 2013, Clark also started this campaign trailing the opposition NDP in the polls before closing the gap.
The results on election night will reveal if Clark has managed — once again — to pull off a come-from-behind victory and continue the Liberals’ winning streak.
2. Can the NDP swing the suburban vote?
NDP Leader John Horgan started the race ahead in the polls, hoping to return the party to power after 16 years in opposition.
But with that gap narrowing, analysts say if the NDP is going to win a majority, they need to capture nine seats from the Liberals, with some of their best chances in swing ridings in suburban Metro Vancouver.
In an effort to woo those metro voters, Horgan has targeted issues like childcare and housing and the Liberal party’s connections to corporate donors.
Tonight’s result will reveal if his promise of change has resonated with voters.
3. Will the Greens hold the balance of power?
B.C. voters are extremely skeptical of pollsters predictions after most polls failed to predict Clark’s 2013 surprise victory, but if the pollsters’ have it right this time, there is a chance B.C. could have its first minority government since the 1950s.
If that happens, B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, who has positioned his party as an alternative to both the Liberals and the NDP, could end up holding the balance of power.
Pollsters say the party’s best chances are in several tight three-way races in ridings on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, where Weaver won the party’s first and only seat in 2013.
But it remains to be seen if voters will give the party the breakthrough it has long hoped for, or if they will stick to the province’s two traditional ruling parties.