A handful of pivotal ridings in British Columbia are just too close to call, a Simon Fraser University political scientist says.
And Patrick Smith believes the province will be the kingmaker once election results come streaming in at the end of an interesting campaign.
“British Columbia will decide the election, it’s as simple as that,” Smith said. “I don’t think we’ll have a winner by the time we get across the Rockies, and there are 10 ridings that are so close.”
Those swing ridings include Vancouver-South (where Ujjal Dosanjh won the last election by just 22 votes), Saanich-Gulf Islands (where Elizabeth May, the Green party leader, has run a hyper-local campaign against Conservative incumbent Gary Lunn at the expense of the national party) and two hotly contested Surrey ridings.
“They’re interesting because they’re all close but they could swing in completely different ways,” Smith said. “Some are Conservative-NDP battles, some are Conservative-Liberal and some are Liberal-NDP, so there will be upsets.”
At the end of the day, Smith predicts voter engagement will be higher this time around because the public has shown they’re tired of political attack ads and mudslinging — which is why the NDP has enjoyed a massive surge in the polls, he said.
“The election has taken on a life of its own. The retrospective of this election will be about how the public took back the narrative. It will force parties to do some soul-searching when it comes to negative ads.”