Painful Truth: Election busted B.C. voting myths

We learned a lot about how B.C. politics really works right now from Tuesday’s election.

It will be a few weeks until we have certainty about this election.

When the recounts and absentee ballots are counted, it may yet prove to be a Liberal majority (barely) or an NDP-Liberal tie.

But while we wait for the final, final results on May 22, we can still say that some of the myths around B.C. politics have been busted. Here’s a few:

• The Green Party is part of “the left”

One reason many suggested the Liberals would win was because “the right” was united but “the left” was divided between Greens and NDP.

But across the province, while the Greens polled higher than ever, they took from the Liberals much more than from the NDP.

The numbers tell the story: the NDP’s final vote tally was almost identical to that of 2013. The NDP got 39.71 per cent then, 39.86 per cent this time. The Greens picked up disaffected former Liberal voters – and that allowed the NDP to pick up seats.

• Third parties have no chance

Unless they get three seats and hold the balance of power in a minority government.

• The suburbs are Liberal territory

North Surrey this morning is a sea of orange, as is Burnaby and much of the land north of the Fraser River. The suburbs have a lot of the problems of big cities now – transit and homelessness are big issues – and they voted more like Vancouver than ever before.

• The Green vote collapses

Every election, the Greens poll at between eight and 10 per cent, and then drop to half that in actual votes.

Every election but this one.

• Voters want change

The voters who jumped to the Green Party may have wanted change, but otherwise there was minimal movement in voters.

• Negative campaigning doesn’t work

The NDP learned their lesson from 2013’s happy-happy campaign. They slammed Christy Clark’s Liberals – and the Liberals slammed back to stay in power.

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