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Swing ridings favour BC NDP, says political scientist

Last Updated Oct 20, 2020 at 6:43 pm PST

Summary

It's unlikely the provincial election will be as close as the last one: UBC prof

UBC political scientist Richard Johnston expects some tight races involving incumbents, mainly in Metro Vancouver

In swing ridings, voters tend to cast ballots for the party, not candidates, prof says

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s unlikely the provincial election will be as close as the last one, with swing ridings favouring the BC NDP this time, according to a UBC political scientist.

In 2017, the BC NDP won 41 seats in the legislature and needed an agreement with the BC Green Party to form a minority government, as the BC Liberal Party took 43 ridings.

University of B.C. political scientist Richard Johnston suggests the current election is unlikely to be as close, but expects some tight races involving incumbents, mainly in Metro Vancouver.

He said swing ridings will again play into the final results, but this time the NDP is out front, with the Liberals on defence.

“Any riding the Liberals hold by a modest margin is a riding at risk,” he added.

Those now favour the NDP, he said.

“It’s Liberal-held ridings that are primarily at risk, just simply because of the province-wide shift in sentiment as indicated by polls.”

An Angus Reid Institute poll last week put the NDP out in front with 49 per cent support after the televised debate, followed by the BC Liberals at 33 per cent, and the BC Green Party with 14 per cent.

Johnston still expects many close ridings, especially in Metro Vancouver, in particular where NDP candidates are trying to unseat Liberals — Langara-False Creek, Richmond-Queensborough, Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, Surrey-Cloverdale, and Fraser-Nicola.

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Last election, 20 ridings were decided by fewer than 10 percentage points.

“In general, swings tend to be fairly uniform,” Johnston said, in that voters cast ballots for the party, not candidates.

“Given the larger context, which is a net swing toward the NDP and seriously away from the Liberals, it seems to me we really need to be focused on the ridings the Liberals are defending.”