May. 4, 2019

One piece of advice for Monday – get out and vote

Monday night, shortly after the polls close at 8 p.m. we will know who will represent us in Parliament for just a few months.

The prediction game is a tough one– those who dabble in politics have various methods of determining which way the wind is blowing. Polls are not enough, they appear to be off base more than they are accurate.

It’s also harder to predict in a byelection when the rest of the country is not contributing to the general atmostphere. Byelections have a reputation of getting poor turnouts. The advance polls in this byelection may be a barometer of how voters are reacting to what many see as an unnecessary vote because the real thing is coming up in October.

This byelection, about 9,000 turned up at the advance polls, compared to close to 16,000 in the 2015 federal election. That’s 44 per cent lower. If that’s the trend, we could expect a turnout lower than 50 per cent, possibly even as low as 35 per cent.

Statistical research shows that some parties have more loyal supporters than others, especially parties with a cause. Those on a mission get more dedication from their supporters. That usually favors the NDP which is a dedicated cause or political movement more than just a party seeking your support in the last 35 days before an election.

The NDP used to have this market all to themselves, but now the Green Party has attracted a zealous, almost religion-like following. Not only are their supporters dedicated, they turn out to vote. It’s their investment in the cause.

It’s difficult to read the mood even now one day before the byelection. Who will have the best success in getting supporters to actually get off their duff and mark their X on the ballot? After that, the mood of the electorate won’t matter – all that will matter are the number of votes invested in each candidate.

Combining the mood and the poll results can give us a feeling of knowing how it will turn out, but again, those account for nothing. Gauging the general feeling of the campaign so far, the Green Party and Paul Manley have put on a tremendous drive to capture the seat. But the NDP are not out of the race, yet.

Now for those polls that are so often wrong, the start of the campaign had the Greens ahead by a narrow margin with the NDP and Conservatives within the so-called margin of error. That widened a week later, and now just days before the vote, the Greens have further widened their lead to five points ahead of the NDP with the Conservatives dropping further back.

One bit of advice, if you don’t agree with the opinion poll numbers for your party then get out and vote to prove them wrong. The pollsters have told us what they think you will do, now the voters will tell us whom they want in Ottawa. Whoever wins is really on probation because he/she will get judged in about four months or less when the general election campaign gets unofficially under way.

As unwise as it is to predict, I have a feeling Kermit will be celebrating on Sesame Street on Monday evening.

Your comments are invited – editor@nanaimonet.com