B.C. Liberals within striking distance of NDP because of a masterful campaign

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

The polling numbers are pretty incredible.

On Friday, Ipsos Reid released their latest report on the B.C. election just days before voters go the polls on May 14. As it stands now, Adrian Dix's NDP are pegged at 43 per cent while the Christy Clark Liberals are projected to earn 37 per cent support.

[ More B.C. election coverage: Elections B.C. now allowing prescription bottles for voter ID ]

It's an amazing feat for Clark and her party who just three weeks ago were written off for dead.

How did it happen?

Well, the fact that the party has a hardworking leader with a broadcast background, that is charismatic, and energetic helps. Clark has the ability to excite and motivate people in a way that Dix can't.

The Liberals also got some help from the Conservatives who kept shooting themselves in their collective foot. They’ve lost four candidates since the beginning of the campaign, 3 candidates didn't register in time to run officially under the Conservative banner and John Cummins performed poorly in both leaders' debates.

Finally, and more importantly, the Liberals have run a textbook perfect campaign that political strategists across the country should try and emulate.

Their success starts with the team.

Veteran B.C. Liberal insider Mike McDonald heads the talented group that includes Mark Marrissen and Don Guy. Mark Marissen — who is Clark's ex-husband — is one of the sharpest political minds in the province if not the country. He was national campaign co-chair for the Liberals in the 2008 federal election.

Don Guy, of course, is known for running all of Dalton McGuinty’s campaigns in Ontario.

The experienced team has been able to raise more money than the NDP, get more high profile endorsements and win the battle on social media.

They've also implemented the right strategy: Attack attack attack.

Quite simply it's what we learn in Marketing 101. If you say something often enough people are going to start to believe it. The Liberals have been trying to sell the narrative that Dix is a flip-flopper, that he lacked integrity (see: memo-gate), and that it's the "same old NDP" of the 1990s.

Every chance they had — on TV, on radio, on social media, at debates and on YouTube — all candidates repeated those messages.

Were the messages always truthful? It didn't matter. People listened and it's working.

[ Related: B.C. Liberals go 'in the gutter' with new Internet-only attack ad ]

The next test for the Christy Clark campaign team will come over the next few days during the all important 'get out the vote' effort

Historically in B.C. — and across the country — the NDP are the party have the best 'ground game.' In other words, they often have the most election day volunteers and best E-day practices.

That, coupled with a six point gap four days before an election, means an NDP victory is still likely.

But for almost overcoming an 18 point deficit since the start of the campaign, this campaign group deserves a lot accolades.

If they can somehow win the election on Tuesday, they deserve the respect of political observers everywhere.

(Photo courtesy of Canadian Press)

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