The 2008 election results have some information useful to Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada if they know where to look. We have just come through an election with mixed results, so it’s time to learn our lessons, and start preparing for the next election. After all, it looks to me like it’s less than a year away. Even if we have to wait until 2010, that isn’t too much time to prepare.
Elizabeth May, and the Green Party of Canada do not have enough money to simply spread it evenly across the country. Targets, and objectives need to be set, and resources allocated to meet those objectives. I think that most GPC members, and the electorate at large would agree that the Green Party needs to get some representation in Parliament. If that is to be the primary objective in the next election, we need to decide where this can be made to happen, and develop a plan to get there.
The Green Party simply will not manage to win a majority of the electorate in any single riding, unless of course Elizabeth May were to climb down from her perch in Central Nova, and run in a riding that would be a slam dunk. The most likely ridings to win in, are those where the possibility exists for a slim plurality. The list below ranks the 20 ridings across the country where the race between the top three party’s was the closest, ranked from closest margin (3.9%) to the widest (27%).
- Gatineau: Bloc Quebecois
- Welland: NDP
- Nunavut: Conservative
- Vancouver Kingsway: NDP
- Sudbury: NDP
- Thunder Bay–Superior North: NDP
- Newton–North Delta: Liberal
- Pontiac: Conservative
- Guelph: Liberal
- Esquimault–Juan de Fuca: Liberal
- South Shore–St. Margaret’s: Conservative
- Louis Hebert: Bloc Quebecois
- Vancouver Centre: Liberal
- Essex: Conservative
- Brossard–La Prairie: Liberal
- Ottawa Centre: NDP
- Kenora: Conservative
- Scarborough Southwest: Liberal
- Churchill: NDP
- Central Nova: Conservative
(Updated Dec 18, 2008 to replace broken links with wikipedia links to Riding information. Sorry)
Based on the polling data supporting this Toronto Star Article, “The survey identifies the Greens as the number two choice for 28 per cent of Conservative voters, 27 per cent of Liberals, 34 per cent of New Democrats and 19 per cent of Bloc supporters.” This implies that the Green Party has positive responses amongst a large section of the electorate, and can actually make headway against any, and all of the three main Party’s. There were a plethora of Polls supporting this contention through the early part of the election, before voting intentions solidified. A seperate poll supporting this CTV article stated:
“Voters in Battleground Ridings from all three provinces who said they were likely to switch their vote to their second choice:
- Conservative: 20 per cent
- Liberal: 38 per cent
- NDP: 38 per cent
- Bloc: 24 per cent
- Green: 41 per cent”
Target ridings need to be scientifically polled by the GPC to ascertain if this data will hold true for the specified targets. If it does then clearly the GPC should target ridings with a stronger Liberal and NDP vote, with a campaign theme and message tested, and tried. The GPC also needs to have a strong GOTV organization in place to retain the vote, and really really slam the advance polls hard, to lock in support early. Our own support is too soft to take for granted until election day.
From the list of prospective Target ridings, Nunavut is the most intriguing of them all. The voter turnout was ridiculously low, the overall number of electors was so small, and the margin between the first and third place party’s was only 7.3%. The GPC would only need to add 2,200 votes to their total from 2008 to win the seat, out of the 72% of voters who didn’t even cast a ballot. That equates to a 10% increase in voter turnout.
Guelph is the most realistic opportunity, and is winnable without putting the Leader in. The split is fairly even, with a margin of 6,500 votes between 2008 GPC vote, and the winning Liberal Candidate. It will be essential that the National Campaign target Conservative and Liberal voters equally, because the close Lib/CPC split must be maintained if the GPC is to run up the middle and win a plurality. The EDA is very well organized, and there is a strong ground war present. All these factors mitigate for an all out effort starting today until election day, whenever that may be.
I don’t have the time or space for a riding by riding analysis, but each riding must be evaluated based upon the strength of the incumbent, and the perceived strength, (amongst the electorate), of the prospective GPC candidate. The volunteer strength in the local EDA, and money, means, and methods should be evaluated by objective criteria, and pre-election plan integrated with the Campaign plan. Above all, full time paid staffers must be put to work in these communities, building bridges to existing stakeholder groups in the communities. Get the ground war in place!
If you are interested in Politics, and think that you would like to volunteer your time, money, or simply register your support, I encourage you to Join the Green Party of Canada Today!