THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – If strategic voting is embraced in the Thompson-Okanagan, the NDP will likely see a significant jump in their final numbers when polls close Oct. 19.
That's according to a popular website for voters who want any candidate but Harper to win in this year’s general election.
StrategicVoting.ca gives a riding-by-riding breakdown of which party is most likely to offer the strongest opposition to the Conservative Party. According to the website, the recommendations are made based on opinion polls and previous election results and predict that the NDP have the best chance of winning.
Known as ABC – Anybody But the Conservatives – the strategy of casting ballots for the party most likely to win, is controversial. At a recent all candidates forum in West Kelowna, Robert Mellalieu, the Green Party Candidate for the new Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, says vote splitting is nothing but fear-mongering.
“There is no evidence to back up vote splitting,” he says. “I go to the door and people say 'I love Elizabeth May. I love what the Green Party stands for. I am voting NDP.' And I say 'what the heck?' Because people read about this and believe this stuff at first blush.”
According to StrategicVoting.ca, however, voters in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton should vote NDP if all they want is to get rid of Harper.
Last election, Conservative candidates won each of the ridings in the Thompson-Okanagan’s four largest cities and recent polls suggest a repeat this time as well.
Maria Tokarchuk, the campaign manager for the Kelowna-Lake Country NDP candidate Norah Bowman, says they do expect to get more votes as a direct result of strategic voting, but that doesn't mean they are promoting it.
"We’re hoping and we are anticipating that, just from what we’re hearing at the doorstep," she says. "But from our point of view we’re working to get Norah elected. We haven’t been focused on strategic voting. We do see in Kelowna-Lake Country that there are people who are disgruntled with Conservatives and are voting NDP but our philosophy is everyone should have the right to vote for whoever they want to vote for."
Kelowna-Lake Country's Liberal candidate Steven Fuhr says strategic voting will indeed have a significant impact this election, but the website's prediction that votes in Kelowna-Lake Country against Harper are better cast with the NDP are dead wrong.
"We knocked on nearly 10,000 doors and made nearly 4,000 phone calls so our sample size is pretty big," he says. "I can get the Conservative swing vote a lot easier (than the NDP). They can't ever win Kelowna... because they can never get the Conservative swing vote that I can get. I think the (Anybody But Conservative) NDPs will swing when they realize they can't win Kelowna. (Voting NDP) makes sense in Kamloops and West Kelowna because the NDP is fairly strong there but the NDP was never strong here."
Will vote-splitting factor into your decision on Oct. 19? Leave a comment below.
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