One of the constant questions heard on the streets of Golden and across British Columbia since the news dropped that the BC Liberals had won a majority government in the Provincial Election has been…How did this happen?
Repeatedly during the lead up to voting day, polls said the BC NDP had things well in hand. But if recent history in Canadian Politics has taught us anything, it is that we should expect the unexpected when people vote in Canada.
Polls are a useful tool to gage where the mindset of the population is when heading to election day. However, they seem to have lost some of their accuracy over the years.
When the percentage of people voting was higher, polls were much more accurate in predicting who would win. In this election only 52 per cent of the people who could vote actually did. When people are polled, they state who they would likely vote for but when only about half of these people are going out to cast their ballot everything get bungled.
Elections are not about polls. They are about bodies in the voting box. The Liberal party got more votes and in the end it is all that matters. The NDP should have realized this could have happened. Just look at the last Canada wide election as an example of great upsets in politics.
The orange crush surge in Quebec for the federal NDP party was something that no one saw coming. Suggesting it at the start of the last election in Canada would have made people think you had very serious issues or no idea what you were talking about. But the fact is, under the leadership of Jack Layton, the NDP pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Canadian political history.
The lesson that should have been taken from this event is that anything is truly possible.
Of course there is another side to this election as well.
The Liberal party in B.C. spoke as much about how terrible life would be under an NDP reign, as they did about what they would do if they were elected. It has been proven time and again that people who are scared will head out to the ballot box.
From that perspective, the people running the Liberal campaign made a great play to get their people elected. When the campaign started many people in B.C. and certainly many local people talked about how tired they were of the Liberal party. If you cannot make people like you for who you are heading into a campaign, then your job is to try to figure out a new strategy to get your people elected.
That is what the public relations machine of the Liberal party did. They found a weakness and exploited it. In this case it was enough to get their people back in power when no one saw it coming.
Watching the election on the television, when the Liberals jumped out to a early lead, one thing was said over and over again. “It is only early” was repeated by many of the people watching the story develop.
Early became later and eventually the truth was there for all to see. As we all now know, the change predicted never did come and the supporters of the NDP have to be left with what must be a sour taste in their mouths.