BC Election: Clark pulled off an upset for the history books…

British Columbia Liberal Leader Christy Clark pulled off an upset for the history books on the West Coast Tuesday night, confounding every pre-election poll and prediction, retaining power for her centre-right coalition. Clark entered the 28-day campaign almost 20 points behind New Democrat Adrian Dix, who ran an error-free, but timid, campaign trying to ensure that voters here would feel no fear of switching to a party which had only governed in the province three times before.

Yes, British Columbia had surprised, as it has before. Ninety minutes after the polls closed, it was being declared the “West Coast miracle.’’ But the Clark victory marked the second time in two years that major pollsters got an election in Western Canada wrong — brutally wrong (Toronto Star, May 14, 2013)….

The election was a stunning turnaround for Premier Christy Clark, although she lost her own seat in Vancouver-Point Grey. Polling had for months put her far behind NDP Leader Adrian Dix, and many thought a change was inevitable after 12 years of Liberal rule.

Voters appeared to have grown tired of the governing Liberals. And Ms. Clark, who came back to win the party leadership after leaving her job as a radio hotline host, was never regarded seriously by many. Her critics, including some in her own party, believed she lacked the gravitas necessary to continue as leader.

On the campaign trail, however, she connected with voters, putting on hard hats, hugging heavy equipment operators and repeatedly saying that more than anything she wanted to put British Columbians back to work.“Tonight we have received a mandate from the people of British Columbia,” Ms. Clark said after fighting her way through a jubilant mob to take the stage and give her acceptance speech. (The Globe and Mail, May 14, 2013)

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