Strategic voting campaign is a myth

"'Strategic' voting is not at all a sure thing ... votes can shift suddenly".

For the past month the “need to vote strategically” has been trumpeted, culminating in a large ad in a local paper asserting that — in our riding — the “strategic” way to ensure a Conservative defeat is for Reds and Greens to bite the bullet and turn Orange.

Assertions in that ad, and by our riding’s Orange candidate, are based on outdated statistics gathered after the election in 2011, for a deceased riding. The new riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay is a very different entity. Times have changed significantly, too.

After knocking on thousands of doors, Team Trudeau reports that the conservative element in the South Okanagan sector of the new riding is increasingly turning Red, out of disgust at Harper – while in West Kootenay those who once might have favoured the NDP are bewildered, to say the least, by Mulcair’s bolt across the spectrum into the land of the tight-fisted Blues.

“Strategic” voting is not at all a sure thing, in other words. Votes can shift suddenly. Polls have become notoriously unreliable, as the recent election in British Columbia demonstrated. Recent articles in the Huffington Post and Macleans have both made the point that past elections are not necessarily indicative of future results. Bryan Breguet of TooCloseToCall.ca, which analyzes public polling, advises, “Stop worrying about splitting the vote and simply cast your ballot for your first option.”

In Liberal Connie Denesiuk, we have a candidate who has travelled the riding exhaustively for the past 17 months, listening to people in coffee shops, around campfires, in hostels and shelters, and sleeping with the homeless under a bridge in Trail.

She has attended every public forum, and answered hundreds of letters.

And while I respect both her Orange and Green opponents, Connie is the one with the experience in governance and public administration to carry the needs of our new riding back to Ottawa.

Barbara Lambert

Penticton

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