Published: Wed, May 10, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

After bruising campaign, voters head to the polls in BC

After bruising campaign, voters head to the polls in BC

Polls opened at 8 a.m. and Green Leader Andrew Weaver was among the first in line at a middle school in his Victoria-area constituency of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

That Weaver is spending his last day on the island is not surprising, given that pundits estimate the seats he has the greatest chances of winning are his own, plus Saanich North and Cowichan Valley. Horgan is at -15 (with 34% saying they now have a worse opinion of him) and Clark at -29 (with 36% saying they now have worse opinion of her). Horgan pledges billions to create 96,000 jobs and restore public services, while the B.C. Greens pledge to update labour laws and promote the use of green technology. The level of undecided/no preference has dropped a little as well (down 4 points from 20%). Horgan accused her of being out of touch with average people on issues such as the cost of housing and inadequate education funding.

Premier Christy Clark's Liberals were able to close a 10 point gap with the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the past two weeks, helped in part by the revival of a thorny trade dispute between Canada and the United States. "On that metric, Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals have done a pretty good job over the last few years", submitting balanced budgets and keeping unemployment low. The B.C. Green Party opposes the project as well. The Green Party has 17% support, while 4% support other parties.

The biggest factor on Election Day (and advance polls) is which voters actually turn up to cast their ballot.

Weaver started Monday in Vancouver and ended it in Saanich North with candidate Adam Olsen, who finished third in 2013 - but only 400 votes behind the victor in a riding that resulted in a photo-finish three-way race.

Voters can check the Elections BC website for more details on where and how to vote, but some users were having trouble accessing the site on Tuesday morning. Three-in-four federal Conservatives (76%) intend to vote for the BC Liberals, while four-in-five federal NDP supporters (81%) will vote for the BC NDP.

"I strongly believe that Sue Powell is going to win this election because the disenfranchised Liberal voters are defecting and she's picking up some of those votes and the Greens are picking up the other ones, but our base is very very strong", said NDP supporter Scott DeLong.

It is important to note that only 5% of decided voters say their main motivator for their vote is the party leader.

Regardless of the election's outcome, the province is staunchly divided.

- This election has 87 seats up for grabs, but at dissolution the Liberals held 47 seats in the legislature, the NDP 35, and there were three Independents including Weaver, the first Green to be elected to the house.

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