Another big Vision win

So it is over.  And the result was predictable.  Predictable, that is, if you don’t pay attention to the media’s predilection to focus on the small beer like the “Occupy Crisis”.

Polls over the last year have all pointed to a significant Vision win, not because time and again they showed Vision far ahead in the horse race, but because they showed that people were happy with the way Vision handled the fundamentals.

From civic services to the green agenda and the vow to end homelessness, polls showed that Vision rated highly on the issues that mattered to residents.

That means there was no natural room for the Rob Ford style campaign the NPA ran.  Crabby and small, the NPA campaign was designed to appeal to NPA activists who were unhappy not so much with Vision but with the fact that they were reduced to a powerless rump.

How angry this made the NPA:  The natural governing party, not governing.  Their city manager, gone.  The doors that were open, now closed.  It made the NPA mad when they should have got smart.

But mad won out.  And the NPA campaign focused on issues that mattered to the NPA but not necessarily to residents.  The NPA were mad at bike lanes, mad at kids growing wheat, mad at chickens and finally, mad at Occupy Vancouver.

Election night showed that Vancouverites were thinking about different things, like homelessness, affordable services and the environment, all issues that supported the Vision brand.

Yesterday the NPA got its core vote out and not much more.  With twenty thousand more voters this election the Vision and NPA share of the electorate remained pretty much the same as in the 2008 wipeout.  The final margin for Mayor Robertson was 13% not the 6% the fake NPA poll showed.

Three years of rebuilding and all the NPA have to show for it is one more Councillor? In any other year this would be called a disaster.   Time for a big NPA rethink.


Besides the NPA there are two more big losers in Saturday’s election – COPE and Vancouver’s media.

One can never call COPE dead, but with the election of just one school board trustee voters pretty much pulled the plug this time.  Again, a somewhat predictable result after the debacle of the nomination process and an underfunded campaign.

Replacing Cadman with Louis reminded me of the purge mentality of the seventies – a search for ideological purity that often ended with parties with a membership of one.

But purity has limited electoral appeal.  Few voters see it as a good governing strategy.

In the 2005 campaign I ran, Louis’ negative numbers stood out from the crowd.   And it wasn’t just the right wing who disliked him.  Centrists and too many on the left shared the perception that Louis was an impediment to an effective centre left government.

I don’t believe that has changed.  This time around I can’t tell you how many people told me they were voting slate minus Louis.

My only evidence is the election result but I believe that Louis’ nomination hurt the COPE slate. Louis’ nomination told voters that COPE was about opposition not governing.

But who needs two oppositions?  The NPA had that covered and COPE never established its place in a governing coalition.  Clearly too few people on the centre left found a reason to vote COPE.  Unlike the NPA COPE has fewer options to rebuild.


And Vancouver’s media…  Has there ever been a bigger gulf between what the media was interested in and what voters cared about?

If you only followed the media the last month you’d think the election was about the Occupy encampment at the Art Gallery.  Before that it was about the Stanley Cup riot and bike lanes.

And of course there was always the horserace story, focusing on how close Anton was getting to Robertson.  A highlight was the Sun splashing an NPA poll across the front page, showing growing momentum for Anton in the last two weeks.

The NPA poll turned out to be wrong – very, very wrong, undercutting the Sun’s decision to publish it on the front page.  Anton never came close to defeating Robertson.

Like the NPA poll the media’s take on the election bore little relation to the results.  What Vancouver’s media cared about apparently mattered little to the electorate.

What did matter to voters was competency, progress on environmental and transportation issues and above all progress on homelessness.   But few stories appeared on those issues and almost all were buried quickly in the news cycle.

For the first time I can remember the media was almost irrelevant to this election.  There’s another group that needs renewal if they want to be relevant again.

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5 Responses to Another big Vision win

  1. BC Mary says:

    Quoting you, Ian:

    For the first time I can remember the media was almost irrelevant to this election.

    I hold the news media in high esteem … when it’s functioning to inform the public on how public affairs are being handled. But that just doesn’t happen anymore in B.C. … the stenography we get in BC isn’t the “news” media … and this needs explaining too. Thanks for helping us understand that … and understand why bloggers are proliferating and working harder than ever.

  2. Shane McCune says:

    I found my way here via friends on Facebook. A very good analysis, especially on the news media. Seems not much has improved in the nine years since I “took the buyout” and fled the city.
    Your blog is a sane and pleasant standout amid the angry crap on the web. So altruism isn’t my only reason for wishing you a recovery, or at least a standoff, with cancer and many more years among us.
    Shane McCune, Comox

  3. Andy says:

    I agree that 1) tossing Cadman over the side and 2) replacing him with Louis really hurt COPE. I voted Vision/COPE all down the line and I held my nose to vote for Louis in the voter’s booth after not intending to. As for the latest Pro-NPA spin, I’ve seen people say Carr’s election is a good thing for them. Talk about lowered expectations!

  4. Brooster15 says:

    You say the media stuck to stories that mattered little to voters during the municipal elections .. true, but I would say we know the party (NPA) the Sun/Province, cknw, etc. were pushing for to win.

    They were only to happy to publish that phony NPA poll showing 6% gap .. was likely designed to have people think – “oh the NPA is gaining ground, people are starting to like what they say, there must be something I don’t know” .. you know that kind of thing and hoping they could get sheep to follow. Didn’t work, but we know they’re into twisting/spinning numbers like that; look at the phony numbers & BS they were spouting about the HST, and look what happened in the end!

  5. e.a.f. says:

    Tim Louis calls it as he sees it. However, not many people share his vision anymore. Yes, Cadman was demoncratically left off the ballot but now COPE doesn’t have anyone at the table. If this is what Mr. Louis wanted, than fine; but it does not serve COPE well or Mr. Louis’s social goals. Unless his goal is to destroy COPE from within.

    Mr. Louis comes off as a very angry person. Yes, he has a right to be angry. There are many inequities in society and government/the people must do better. However, sometimes you have to bend a little to survive the wind, as they say.
    This election will give COPE 3 yrs. to think about where they are going and do they want to continue going. I do believe COPE has something to offer Vancouver. Yes we need extreme positions to move forward, because almost all main stream changes have started as “extreme” ideas.

    The main/lame stream media didn’t quite get it right. I was left with the impression they wanted to make Susan Anton look better than she was doing.

    Now I always liked to think the job of the press to report the news, not report it as they would like it to be. What the press did this time was just another example of how out of touch they are. People can see what the main stream press is trying to do. It doesn’t work any more. It is a long way from 30, 40 yrs ago when people actually looked to the press and its editorials. People today have other methods of educating themselves on issues, politics, politicians. Alternative press, bloggers, etc. provide another point of view. Their facts and figures are frequently much better than the main stream press. It is a shame big business has taken over the press because a free/unbiased press is essential to democracy.

    I learnt to read, by reading newspaper. It gave me a view of the world, well outside of my community. There were columnists who really researched, wrote, shared opinions but Marjory Nichols, Bruce Hutchinson, Sima Holt, etc. are long gone and so is the credibility of the main stream press. It is good to know the alternative press has stepped up to the plate. At the rate things are going they will become the main stream press while papers like the Sun, Province, and many community newspapers owned by large corporations will simply become advertising sheets.

    Loved the column

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