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

BC leaders debate

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.

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

So, how did it happen?

Well, the fact that the party has a hardworking, energetic leader with charisma and a broadcast background is certainly helpful. 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 the foot. The B.C Tories have lost four candidates since the beginning of the campaign, three 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. Marissen, who is Clark's ex-husband, is one of the sharpest political minds in the province, if not the country. He was the 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 Liberal 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 that has the best 'ground game.' In other words, they often have the most election day volunteers and the best E-day practices.

That, coupled with a six point gap just 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 Liberal 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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