Voters go to the polls in British Columbia on Tuesday to elect a new Provincial Parliament and vote for a second time on changing the electoral system in the province to the Single Transferable Vote system (similar to Tasmania’s Hare-Clark system).
The governing conservative Liberal Party is running for a third term in office, led by Premier Gordon Campbell. After winning in a massive landslide in 2001, the Liberals won a second term with a comfortable, but much smaller, majority in 2005.
There has been substantial polling on the election race, with four polls already out since the beginning of May. There appears, however, to be much less polling coming out about the referendum.
Most recent polls have put the Liberals around 47%, up from 45.8% in 2005, while the NDP has mostly been polling in the high 30s, down from 41.5% in 2005. There has been one poll, however, that put the race neck-and-neck. The Green Party has been recently polling in the low-to-mid teens, up from 9.2% in 2005, although this has dropped in the last two polls last week, which had the Greens back to 10%.
An Ipsos Reid poll that came out yesterday, while showing a status quo result in the provincial election, showed a massive shift away from STV in the referendum vote, with 52% supporting the status quo and only 33% supporting STV. This is a dramatic shift from the previous Ipsos Reid referendum poll in March, which showed a 43-41% split in favour of STV. This does suggest that the swing is exagerrated, but does indicate that, even if the polling overly favours the status quo, it will be extremely difficult for the “Yes” vote to reach the 60% threshold, and a victory in current circumstances would be to win a simple majority of the vote, which would be enough to keep the electoral reform debate alive.
You can download Google Earth maps for British Columbia from my Maps page. I have posted both the new set of boundaries for Tuesday’s election, as well as the boundaries that will be used in 2013 if STV is successful on Tuesday. I was unable to determine the notional status on the redistributed boundaries, but I plan to post newly coloured maps (showing both election results and referendum results) on Wednesday once the count has concluded.