Recycling, Reusing, Re-electing MPs in BC

Incumbency had an impact on seat retention for the parties in BC, with all four parties re-electing members.  The CPC did not do well retaining seats, but did even worse retaining seats where they did not have an incumbent MP.

Recycled MPs tend to do better for their political parties than otherwise

27 of 42 BC ridings had incumbent MPs

  • Only 7 of 15 CPC (47%) MPs re-elected
  • 7 of 9 NDP (77%) MPs re-elected
  • The 2 Liberals and 1 Green re-elected (100%)

Of the 8 defeated CPC incumbents, 6 were defeated by Liberals (five in Metro Van and 1 in Kelowna), 2 defeated by NDP (both outside Metro Van).  The NDP lost two incumbents to the Liberals in Surrey.

CPC lose their advantage in 15 non-held seats

Of the 15 seats with no incumbent MP, the Conservatives did the best in 2011 when transposing those results onto the new boundaries.

  • CPC had advantage in 12 of 15 seats; the NDP had advantage in 3/15.
  • CPC only won 3 of 12 seats (25%) in their advantage areas, a much lower percentage than in seats where the MP ran for re-election.
  • In non-incumbent seats, the NDP were 3/3 in seats where they held the advantage from 2011 and won 2 from the CPC.
  • The Liberals picked up 7 seats where the CPC held the advantage in non-incumbent seats.

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Geographic differences

The CPC incumbency advantage and 2011 vote advantage was under attack in Metro Vancouver by the Liberals and outside Metro Vancouver by the NDP (except in Kelowna where the Liberals stole a seat).

With 47% of CPC incumbents holding on, why not 47% of Conservatives in seats where they held an advantage?  Arguably incumbents did make a difference.  Would retiring MP James Moore have lost in a close 3-way fight?  Likely not.  Would Randy Kamp have held on in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge if he had ran again?  Quite possibly.  CPC incumbents in Cloverdale and Mission-Matsqui may have helped CPC hold those seats, but since the ridings were new, they didn’t have that luxury.

On the NDP side of the ledger, two NDP MPs in Surrey lost in blowouts.  No stopping the Liberal wave there (a South Asian Liberal wave?)  But in Burnaby-South, Victoria, Port Moody-Coquitlam, and Vancouver Kingsway, incumbency may well have been the key factor in saving those seats.  The political map of Metro Vancouver has a stubborn contiguous orange centre between East Van and Port Moody that is glued together by five NDP ridings, four of them with incumbent MPs and the other being Jenny Kwan, a longtime elected NDP MLA.  They won nowhere else in Metro Van.

Overall, the NDP withstood the Liberal wave in BC but failed to make necessary gains. They gave up two seats to the Liberals but took four back from the CPC.  Arguably, they held up to the Liberal onslaught due to incumbents, but also held their vote in seats where they had the underlying advantage.

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