Are we seeing a Wildrose Party type collapse in the B.C. election?

·Politics Reporter

A lot of us will remember the Alberta provincial election in 2012: Just days before voters cast their ballots, pollsters told us that Danielle Smith's Wildrose Party were poised to form government.

Something happened on the way to the victory party — Albertans changed their minds and decided to give Alison Redford and her Progressive Conservatives a convincing majority.

Are we seeing the same thing happening in B.C.?

According to a Forum Research poll, conducted after Monday night’s leaders debate, Christy Clark's Liberal Party is now within four points of Adrian Dix's NDP.

Q: If a provincial election were held today, which party are you most likely to vote for?

A: NDP: 39 per cent; Liberal: 35 per cent; Green: 12 per cent; Conservative: 9 per cent

No, this isn't a Liberal Party sponsored ad, like the one we saw on the front page of a well-read Vancouver newspaper on Wednesday.

But could it actually be true?

Could the Liberals be in the midst of an epic comeback — just two weeks ago, polls suggested they were down by 18 points.

[ Related: B.C. Premier Christy Clark didn’t get the knockout punch she needed in leaders' debate ]

Maybe Liberal supporters shouldn't get too excited.

According to Sun News Network analyst Warren Kinsella, Forum was one of the outfits that forecast a Wildrose majority, the Quebec Liberals being wiped out and Rocco Rossi winning the Toronto mayoralty.

(In Forum's defence, they had a lot of company on all of the above. Moreover, the Toronto Star and the National Post refer to them often.)

A more interesting analysis, however, is one by polling analyst extraordinaire Eric Grenier.

Grenier — who operates threehundredeight.com — recently wrote about the potential collapse of the NDP, a la the Wildrose Party, for the Globe and Mail.

Unlike in Alberta, where the Wildrose party was relatively new, untested and fielding a slate of unknown candidates, the New Democrats in British Columbia have formed government before and Adrian Dix is well known to the public. The comments from a few of Wildrose’s candidates that seemed to confirm the fears some Albertans had of the party (compounded by Danielle Smith’s initial defense of them) gave voters second thoughts, whereas with the NDP most British Columbians know more or less what they are going to get.

Grenier adds that Premier Redford had much higher approval ratings going into the Alberta campaign than Premier Clark did going into this election.

The Liberals do have some advantages going in to the final two weeks of the campaign: They have a lot more money than the NDP to invest in negative advertisements and Clark is a far better campaigner than her counterparts.

[ Related: B.C. NDP candidate chided for 'chinkasaurus' comment but stays in race ]

Clark could make this a closer race, but are we really going to see a Wildrose type collapse by the NDP?

It's possible but not likely.

According to Grenier's most recent analysis — prior to the Forum poll — the Liberal's odds of winning the popular vote still stand at only 4.6 per cent.

Interestingly, those are about the same odds that 'Vegas' gives the Toronto Maple Leafs for winning the Stanley Cup.

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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