The B.C. NDP are having their best election in more than a decade. They're leading in the polls by as much as 20 percentage points. The B.C. Liberals haven't been able to affect those polls since late 2011, dogged by scandal and unable to gain traction with voters.
B.C. voters are rather unforgiving when it comes to scandals. It's a lesson the B.C. NDP know all too well after two consecutive leaders resigned in the late 1990s, embroiled in scandals of their own. The party went from 51 seats left in 1991 to just two by 2001.
This interactive tracks that change: from a narrow win in 1996 to near oblivion in 2001 and back again. Each circle represents one riding, with its position determined by the amount of support between either party. For example, if constituents voted exclusively for the Liberals, they would appear on the far right. Some ridings fade away and appear because ridings were redistributed as the population changed.
The NDP narrowly won the election in 1996, losing 12 seats to the Liberals and other parties. Premier Glen Clark was chosen to replace Mike Harcourt, who resigned after a fundraising scandal erupted under his watch.
NDP leader Ujjal Dosanjh wanted to rebuild the party after both of his predecessors resigned over scandals. But he faced a 50-percentage-point deficit in polls and conceded defeat before the campaign was over. Liberals were swept to power, winning all but two seats — the most lopsided result in the province's history.
The NDP were re-energized in 2001 under rookie leader Carole James. The Liberals won a majority, but it still felt like a loss: they gave up 31 seats to the NDP, who trailed by only 5 percentage points in the popular vote.
For the first time in 26 years, a B.C. premier won three consecutive terms. The Liberals held their majority by a small margin in a close race. But voter turnout was at an all-time low and the NDP floundered in their handling of a new carbon tax and the global recession.