Vancouver Granville has emerged as a must-watch riding in Canada’s 2015 federal election.
A statistical three-way tie—depending on what poll you’re looking at and with a margin of error plus or minus a few points—it’s going to be one of the tightest races anywhere in the country.
It’s also a prime example of how Canada’s current political landscape splits the vote on the left. The Liberal’s Jody Wilson-Raybould and the NDP’s Mira Oreck are both great candidates for progressive voters to choose from. But despite those two politicians looking to together pick up more than 60 percent of the vote, the Conservative’s Erinn Broshko could still win it.
Into this heated contest waded Leadnow, a quasi-non-partisan group that’s running a strategic-voting campaign in an effort to see Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper booted out of Ottawa on October 19.
Leadnow is a third reason to watch Vancouver Granville on election night. In that riding, the group has signed up more than 5,400 eligible voters who have said they will cast ballots the way Leadnow tells them to. That’s a big enough number to play a significant factor, if not the determining one.
On October 14, Leadnow endorsed Oreck and the NDP.
This caused a bit of an uproar in certain circles because a number of polls out the same week put Wilson-Raybould in first place. What’s more, Leadnow sets itself apart and above other strategic-voting initiatives by boasting its recommendations are based on scrutinized, riding-specific polling data, while other groups are using inferior, more general information.
So what happened?
“A clear majority of the local Leadnow community has voted to recommend Mira Oreck (NDP) as the candidate who can defeat the local Conservative,” reads an October 14 statement from Leadnow.
You’re probably thinking that a community vote is different from a recommendation based on scrutinized polling data.
“The recommendation followed a standard two-step process for three-way races,” the statement continues. “With local polling showing both the NDP and Liberal candidate ahead of the Conservative, Vote Together pledge signers were asked to decide based on the latest polling data and a comparison of the party platforms on the issues that matter to the Leadnow community.
“A clear majority of Vote Together pledge signers in Vancouver Granville voted to recommend NDP’s Mira Oreck as the best local candidate to defeat the Conservative,” it continued.
Peppered with questions on Facebook and Twitter, Leadnow followed that statement with a more detailed explanation.
“96% voted to make a recommendation,” the organization wrote. “A clear majority (61%) voted to recommend Mira Oreck.”
And so Oreck took the group’s endorsement for Vancouver Granville. Whether that will translate to a win remains to be seen.
Leadnow has so-far published recommendations for 23 of 72 ridings it has identified as swing districts where an NDP or Liberal candidate stands a good chance of defeating their Conservative competitor. More are scheduled to be published on Saturday, October 17.
So far in British Columbia, eight of Leadnow's recommendations have gone to NDP candidates while the Liberals have received zero. However, across Canada, the NDP has 10 Leadnow endorsements while the Liberals have 13.