It's proof that in politics that it's not over till the fat lady sings as Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals have not just survived the provincial election, but thrived, as voters return them to the Legislature, with a majority, plus five more seats than they had when the election began four weeks ago. And this morning, even the most astute politicos from coast to coast to coast, myself included, are forced to eat crow for calling this race over a touch too early.
So what the heck happened? Even conservative polls pegged a Liberal loss, the party suffering from a myriad of scandals, not to mention just plain fatigue after some 12 years in power. But the sudden Election Day shift seems reminiscent of last year's Alberta election where Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Party was a lock to win until Alison Redford's Conservatives pulled out a major coup winning back 60 seats to Wildrose's 17. So are polls just terrible at predicting provincial election results?
"The last polls I saw over the weekend said it was about 20 per cent of the electorate was undecided. It would appear that that undecided broke heavily for the Liberals," Hamish Telford, a political scientist at the University of the Fraser Valley, told CTV News.
The B.C. results may reverberate cross-country for Ontario politicians looking to go to the polls. While opinion surveys show that the Ontario Liberals and the PCs are practically running neck and neck, the number of undecided voters sits around the 16-17 per cent mark. Typically undecideds go with what's known ("the hold your nose and vote"constituency), so if the numbers break that way for Ontario's Liberals, it would mean another minority government led by Kathleen Wynne if a vote happens today.
The B.C. vote should also give Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath pause. In the post-game, many are saying that B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix may shown his cards to early in pushing for a more left-wing agenda. Economic concerns still weigh heavily on the minds of many Canadians, and to that end, voters in B.C. went with a more business-friendly party. The future of Dix meanwhile is somewhat uncertain. Should he stay or should he go? I say stay, it's easier to build a base when you've already begun than tear it all down and start again from scratch. One might also brand what happened a freak act of political nature that won't be repeated a second time.
The Liberal victory was somewhat muted by the fact that their leader didn't win her own seat back. Clark lost in the riding of Vanouver-Point Grey to NDP challenger David Eby by a mere 785 votes. Don't expect the Liberals to jettison Clark though because a lot of people credit the party's miraculous turn-around to her campaigning and likability, so what's likelier is a snap by-election somewhere for Clark to secure seat.
Of the third place parties, only the Greens enjoyed success electing their first government member on a provincial level in the person of Andew Weaver of the Victoria riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head. Meanwhile, the voters of Dealta South returned independent Vicki Huntington to power, beating the Liberal challenger by 2,500 votes. The Conservative, meanwhile, remain in the political wilderness winning zero seats, and leader John Cummins came in third place in his Langley riding losing to Liberal Mary Polak, who secured more than three-times the number of votes as Cummins.
To see the full B.C. electoral map, HuffPost has a great interaction graphic on their election page.