Some tidbits on the B.C. election

2013-05-23

in Canada, Geek stuff, Politics, The environment

Some articles about the recent election in British Columbia:

I was hoping the NDP would win and immediately kill the Northern Gateway pipeline. Regardless of the outcome, the fight against fossil fuel expansion (pipelines, fossil fuel export terminals, etc) will need to continue.

One item from the first piece caught my eye: “voters 55 or older made up half of all voters” (they represent 35% of the population). These people will be dead long before the worst effects of climate change are felt. If today’s young people are going to stop serving as a punching bag for older people, they are going to need to get active politically.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan May 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Also, almost everyone went to the polling booths with a false expectation about what was going to happen:

In the Ipsos-Reid exit poll (recall that it was taken during election day before the results were known) fully 48% of voters expected the New Democrats to win a majority government. Another 28% expected a minority government of one shade or another, while a bare 11% correctly thought the B.C. Liberals would win a majority.

Even among Liberal voters, only 22% thought they were casting a ballot for the party that would form the next majority government, while 60% thought they voting for a losing cause or, at best, a minority government. New Democrats went in with much more confidence, of course, with 75% expecting a majority and only 1% thinking the Liberals would pull off the win.

More significant, however, may be what the British Columbians who cast a ballot for the Greens and Conservatives thought would happen. A majority of Greens thought the NDP would win outright, while a plurality of Conservatives thought the same. A significant number of Greens and Conservatives thought the next government would be a minority one, giving a Green or Conservative MLA a lot of influence. But only 11% of Conservatives and 2% of Greens thought the Liberals would win a majority. Considering that, according to the poll, 72% of Green voters and 87% of Conservative voters thought that Christy Clark did not deserve to be re-elected, would they have voted differently if the polls were predicting a majority victory by the Liberals?

This suggests to me that polls might significantly influence elections, in terms of shaping the expectations of voters about how they are going to go.

alena May 23, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I was also disappointed that the NDP did not sweep the election and put an end to the pipeline and other things. My friend and I had a good rant about it on our walk this morning and we felt better. However, I do not think that you can blame the over 55’s for the apathy of the young. Our freedom to vote is one of the basic privileges and responsibilities of the democratic process. Also, don’t forget that some of the oldies fought and continue to fight for social justice, gender equality, the environment and many other causes. We are not all greedy and thoughtless sponges.

Milan May 23, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Individually, voters over 55 may well be admirable in their environmental concern and personal efforts to encourage sustainability. That being said, the policies that continue to be endorsed by the electorate – in which older voters are disproportionately represented – are consistently those that directly threaten the futures of today’s young people, along with generations to follow.

If young people understood the degree to which their futures were being traded for continued cheap fossil fuel use, it seems likely that they would vote in greater numbers and agitate more effectively for policy changes.

alena May 25, 2013 at 10:10 am

Many voters over 55 truly hate the present government. I have never voted for the person who is Canada’s Prime Minister. I had more luck in the US where I voted for Clinton and Obama. Young and old, we need to seek a better future for the next generations and the young people need to engage in much bigger numbers and with a lot more enthusiasm. The world changes one person at a time, but there sure is a strength in numbers.

. May 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm
. July 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

The BC election surprise “boiled down to one issue: low turnout among young voters”

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/07/08/angus-reid-what-went-wrong-with-the-polls-in-british-columbia/

Angus Reid: What went wrong with the polls in British Columbia?
The veteran pollster reviews the lessons of the BC election

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