BC Election 2020

The data is in! Our comprehensive breakdown of the 2020 election results

Ad spending, voter turnout and how this would have played out if the Greens' had gotten their proportional representation wishes

BC Election 2020

The data is in! Our comprehensive breakdown of the 2020 election results

Ad spending, voter turnout and how this would have played out if the Greens' had gotten their proportional representation wishes

BC Election 2020

The data is in! Our comprehensive breakdown of the 2020 election results

Ad spending, voter turnout and how this would have played out if the Greens' had gotten their proportional representation wishes

The data is in! Our comprehensive breakdown of the 2020 election results

One week after the election we now have a much better picture of precisely how Vancouver Island voted, how it compared to prior elections and what BC parties spent on a campaign that, all things considered, was one of the cheapest in modern history. Below, the most comprehensive breakdown around of how this election played out in both BC and Vancouver Island.

Graphic by Tristan Pratt

We already knew that Vancouver Island's 2020 election map resembled a carrot, but here we altered the colour shading to show just how strongly the winners were able to claim each riding. Close races like Parksville-Qualicum carry only a whiff of orange, while John Horgan's Langford-Juan de Fuca riding is the colour of sunset.

This was an election that was largely fought online, and it turns out the Google search results could have predicted who was going to win well in advance of Election Day. The BC NDP was consistently winning the Google race, the BC Green Party seems to have gotten way more attention online than in the polls, and it's entirely possible that BC Liberal supporters aren't as online as the other parties.

By calling a snap election in the middle of a pandemic, BC NDP leader John Horgan benefited from an incumbent advantage that has been increasingly evident in pandemic elections held around the world. He also knew that his party had much more money than his competitors. On the day the election was called, the NDP had piled more in its coffers than both of its main opponents combined.

And this is where some of that money ended up. If you seemed to see more of Andrew Wilkinson than John Horgan on your Facebook feed throughout October, this is why. Although it didn't yield the results they were looking for, focusing their campaign resources on Facebook was probably a smart move for the BC Liberals; as compared to the likes of Instagram or Twitter, Facebook is much more popular among older, working class British Columbians that are typically more likely to vote BC Liberal.

Graphic by Tristan Pratt

This was an election that was mostly decided on the mainland because, as this graphic shows, almost every Vancouver Island riding is now a safe seat for whoever holds it. Of the 14 winners, only Sonia Furstenau and Adam Walker would have been justified in doing some nail-biting on election night.

It turned out to be very good news for the NDP that the proportional representation referendum failed. Both the BC Liberals and the BC Greens will be going to a legislature where they have a smaller share of the seats than they did of the 2020 popular vote.

Graphic by Tristan Pratt

This is what a blowout election looks like in Canada. While fewer than half of all Vancouver Island voters cast their ballot for the NDP, they utterly trounced their competitors. And on Vancouver Island, at least, the BC Liberals are now definitively the third party.

It's no secret that a disproportionate amount of 2020 ballots were marked by British Columbians still wearing their pajamas, but political scientists may ponder for years afterwards what effect this had on the final results. Do voters cast their ballots differently in their living room as opposed to in a high school gymnasium?

Despite being one of the easiest elections in which to vote, this latest one actually some of the lowest turnout of recent years. That may not necessarily be a bad thing. Right now, voter turnout in the US presidential election is currently exceeding anything seen in decades; an indicator that sometimes low voter turnout is a sign of satisfaction with the status quo.

Graphic by Tristan Pratt

And here is a quick history lesson on how Vancouver Island has voted since 1996. This Island was firmly in Liberal hands in 2001, but the last 19 years have progressively seen every patch of red painted over with orange and green.

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