Six things to watch for in the B.C. election

·Politics Reporter

British Columbians are just hours away from electing a new government.

While pollsters are predicting an NDP victory on Tuesday, there are still many intriguing story lines that political observers will be watching for.

Here are six things that we'll be tracking on Election night:

1) Did the pollsters get it right, this time?

After embarrassing flops in both the Alberta and Quebec elections, pollsters are hoping to redeem themselves.

During this election campaign, the polls indicate that the Liberals have closed a huge 18 point gap on the NDP. An Ipsos Reid poll released Friday suggests the gap is now at 6 per cent, while an Angus Reid poll claims that it's back up to 9 per cent.

In terms of seats, election analyst Eric Grenier suggests that the NDP will win 48 to the Liberal's 36.

[ Related: B.C. Liberals within striking distance of NDP because of a masterful campaign ]

2) Can an independent win a seat?

The common refrain is that independents can't win seats. Just don't tell that to Vikki Huntington.

In 2009, Huntington became the first person to win a seat as an independent in B.C.'s legislature since 1949. She has a good chance of winning again, but the Liberals are making a push.

Independent MLAs Bob Simpson (Cariboo North) and John Van Dongen (Abbotsford South) could also win their seats back.

3) Will a Green Party elect their first ever member to a provincial legislature?

Jane Sterk's B.C. Green Party have run a good campaign. Most analysts, however, suggest that their only chance of winning a seat is in the Vancouver Island riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

The Green candidate there is Andrew Weaver, a high-profile, internationally renowned University of Victoria climate scientist. Like their federal cousins, the B.C. Green Party has put a lot of their resources — both time and money — on to winning a seat in this region of the province.

Pollsters suggest that it will be a tight three-way race between Weaver, NDP candidate Jessica Van Der Veen and Liberal Cabinet Minister Ida Chong.

4) Will Christy Clark win her seat?

Premier Christy Clark has a fight on her hands in her own riding of Vancouver-Point Grey where she's running against NDP candidate and civil rights lawyer David Eby.

In a 2011 by-election, shortly after winning the Liberal leadership, she defeated Eby by just over 500 votes.

Clark's decision not to participate in the riding's all-candidates debates and the party's general unpopularity in Metro Vancouver could mean that this riding turns NDP orange.

5) Voter turnout?

In the last provincial election, in 2009, voter turnout was approximately 51 per cent, compared to 58 per cent in 2005.

According to 24 Hours Vancouver, voter turnout for the advance polls were up 25 per cent.

Is that a sign of higher overall voter turnout numbers or just a matter of people voting early?

6) If the Liberals lose, will Christy Clark step down as leader?

Should the Liberals lose the election, Clark will be on thin ice. Will she step down as leader immediately, like Michael Ignatieff did in 2011, or will she have to be pushed out?

[ Related: ‘801 movement’ looks to replace B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark ]

According to a Global News exclusive, there is already a movement afoot within the Liberal Party to remove Clark from the proverbial leader's office immediately after polls close on Tuesday.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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