The vast majority of Canadians want political change and a new federal government to emerge from the October 19th general election.

Polls indicate 40% of Canadian voters are prepared set aside political loyalties for the good of the country and cast their ballots strategically to VOTE HARPER OUT.

Harper’s waning ‘majority’ government was based on 39% of total ballots cast in 2011, and because of low voter turnout, on the support of just 24% of registered voters.

Minority Government Probable

CBC’s Poll Tracker, as of September 17th indicates a 3-way race to the finish as follows:

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Note: A majority government requires a minimum of 170 seats

It is probable that we will have a minority government after October 19th, but which party will be in the lead on E-Day will only emerge following the counting of the ballots.

It is understandable that the Liberals, NDP and Greens seek to distinguish themselves from each other and from Harper’s Conservative in the minds of Canadian voters. It is also important to maintain civility and respect between parties, candidates and supporters. Under a minority government, Canadians will rightly expect all parties to cooperate with each other for the good of the nation. We’re going to have to learn to get along!

Why Strategic Voting?

Under our out-dated first-past-the-post electoral system, vote splitting between progressive candidates can allow an unpopular right-wing candidate to win despite widespread opposition. In close contests, such as our riding of West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea-to-Sky, even a small percentage of people voting strategically can help to minimize vote splitting and determine the outcome.

In West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea-to-Sky strategic voters must use the best available polling data to determine which candidate is most strategically placed to defeat Conservative John Weston and deny Harper another seat. All three opposition parties have put forward good candidates, but only one can win, and defeating Weston and Harper demands we focus on the single most strategic candidate to bring about the change Canadians want and need.

In close ridings, strategic voting is more a mathematical calculation as to who is best placed to defeat the Conservative candidate than it denotes support for a particular candidate or party.

Polling Data for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea-to-Sky

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DOGWOOD:  Insights West – based on 302 live calls, with a margin of error =/- 5.6%, 19 times our of 20
LEADNOW:  Environics– based on 582 IVR – Interactive Voice Response calls, with a margin of error 4.1%

Another good data source is Eric Grenier’s CBC Poll Tracker and associated website’s national projection is a complex poll-of-polls that has proved reliable in past elections. It only counts decided voters – it does not have an “undecided” column.  However, the riding-by-riding projections are extrapolated down from national polling data and as such are based on limited samples and therefore carry significant margins of error.

Who’s in the lead?

The polls currently show Pam Goldsmith Jones – Liberal in a two-way race leading John Weston – Conservative, with Larry Koopman – NDP and Ken Melamed – Green trailing in that order.

The latest Dogwood Initiative Insights West poll, conducted Sept 9 – 13, for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea-to-Sky has Pam Goldsmith Jones leading with 28% over John Weston with 25%.  Larry Koopman is in third place, but not out of the running, with 18% and Ken Melamed is in fourth place with 9%. A full 20% are undecided or supporting minor parties.

It should be noted that the Liberals’ small 3% lead over the Conservatives among decided voters is less than the margin of error is +/- 5.6%.

Between now and E-Day, the two-way race could become a three-way race, depending on how the various national campaigns catch fire or fizzle, however a four-way race is statistically very unlikely.

Without strategic voting the Conservatives could again eke out a win in West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea-to-Sky and help Harper cobble together a minority government. We cannot let this happen!

Undecided and Strategic Voters

Approximately 20% of voters remain ‘undecided’. This could be genuinely undecided and/or strategic voters.  We simply don’t know. Therefore it behooves us to encourage as many people as possible to register to and get out and vote and to vote strategically when they do.

If the current polls hold through to E-Day, supporters of the third and fourth place parties face a difficult, but necessary choice. Do they vote with their hearts and risk a renewed Conservative mandate or do they vote with their heads and defeat Harper’s Conservatives. Following their defeat we will need to hold the new government’s feet to the fire to ensure our outdated first-past-the-post is replaced with some form of Proportional Representation for the following election, which will create a genuinely representative parliament and render strategic voting irrelevant.

All Canadians should respect the individual electoral choice of the voters, but we have an obligation and an opportunity to encourage as many people as possible to consider strategic voting. Our collective future depends on it.

If any significant fraction of the people that have committed to vote strategically do so and if numbers of those who would rather vote with their hearts decide to vote with their heads then John Weston will be voted out, Stephen Harper will be denied another seat, and Canada will be better off for it!

And the answer is…

So the answer to the opening question is ‘Yes, not only can strategic voting can work in West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea-to-Sky, in fact, it will be critical!’

Canada First! Stop Harper! Vote Smart!

Alliance 4 Democracy – Sunshine Coast