Byelection Blast! Two campaigns triple support; two increase it by 50%; over 10% of voters cast Green ballots

Jim Harris

The Green Party's four by-elections candidates and their campaign teams exceeded all expectations! Two by-elections tripled the level of support from the 2006 general election and two increased Green Party support by 50%! No other party can claim these advances.

The party won 10.2% of all votes cast in the by-elections. (85,375 votes were cast and the Green Party candidates collectively won more than 8,700 votes) -- more than doubling the Green Party's support in these ridings from the 2006 general election!

In the urban centres -- Toronto and Vancouver -- the Green Party won 11.2% of the vote.

Trends: GPC on the Rise
The by-election results highlight the continuing trend made clear by Harris Decima's most recent poll on March 4, 2008. Below is the firm's trailing three-poll-average, from January 2005 to March 2008 showing the GPC rising from 5% to 12% while the Bloc has fallen from a high of 14% to 8% and the NDP has fallen from a high of 24% to 14%.

The GPC's rise continues unabated. This highlights the continuing trend of polling companies showing the Green Party ahead of the NDP -- see or in a 'virtual tie' with the NDP -- as in this case, as both parties are within the margin of error. In the two Toronto races -- when you add up the Green Party result in both ridings the Greens won more votes than the NDP's combined support.

Greens Draw Support from Across the Political Spectrum:
In Toronto Centre both the NDP and Conservative vote fell while the Green Party's support grew dramatically.

Toronto Centre
Toronto Centre candidate Chris Tindal almost tripled the percentage vote to 14% from the 5% result in the 2006 general election!

Meanwhile the NDP vote was almost cut in half from 24% in 2006 to 14% while the Conservatives fell from 18% to 12.6%. At 1:15 am in the morning, the Green Party was just 36 votes out of second place just behind the NDP. It's been a see saw all night for second place. We'll have to wait till final numbers come out to see if this changes.

The Toronto Centre campaign is all the more impressive given that Chris Tindal was running against Bob Rae – a former Premier of Ontario – and Liberal Party leadership contestant.

See Chris' election night speech at
See Chris' victory blog at
And see Campaign Manager Jeff Brownridge's blog at which makes the essential point that the Green Party is really shaking up Canadian politics!
And this final blog is killer funny as it reveals the high tech secret of the success in Toronto Centre

Vancouver Quadra
Vancouver Quadra Candidate Dan Grice was at 14% – almost tripling the 5% vote the party won in the 2006 federal election. Dan and the team ran an excellent campaign.

The team focused on canvassing, the virtual phone bank and in the last few days main streeting. The results are all the more impressive given that the Green Party is within 1% of the NDP and the Vancouver Quadra race was a very, very tight one between the Conservatives and Liberals (just 151 vote margin of victory).

Read Dan Grice's victory blog at
For photos from the campaign see
For a great blog about the experience of the last week of the Vancouver Quadra campaign read Mark Kersten's post at

In Willowdale, GPC candidate Lou Carcasole increased the GPC vote by 50% to win six per cent of the vote, placing third ahead of the NDP. Congratulations Lou!

The NDP support fell from more than 11% in 2006 to less than 5%. This makes Lou's 50% increase all the more impressive.

The Liberals increased their vote by 7% while the Conservatives increased by 1%.

With Toronto Transit stations in the riding Lou’s campaign team reached thousands of voters with Green literature! Well done.

Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River
In this riding the Green Party was late off the starting blocs, nominating our candidate Robin Orr just before the close of nominations deadline. But even as such Robin increased the Green Party support by 50%.

Hundreds if not thousands of Aborignal voters may have been disenfranchised because of new rules brought in by the Conservatives regarding ID requirements to vote. More on this later.

By-elections Served as Campaign Schools
The Toronto Centre was an excellent campaign focusing on identifying Green Party support and we had a great get out the vote (GOTV) effort. We pioneered new IT systems that are going to help in the general election and new campaigning tactics and techniques.

Vancouver Quadra like Toronto Centre served as a campaign school for Vancouver and the Lower mainland in BC. The campaign focused used the new voter ID system and the virtual phone bank.

You can download the entire Harris Decima study at

To see the final update on the preliminary by-election results go to

For historical results you can go to