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Model predicts solid NDP majority, Conservative rise

With the official election campaign set to begin, the New Democratic Party is poised to win around 60 of the 85 seats in the British Columbia legislature and the Conservatives may make a major breakthrough, according to an online prediction tool.

The government relations and communications firm Hill+Knowlton Strategies designed its tool to track how changes to the popular vote would shift the result in each constituency compared to the 2009 general election or more recent byelections.

Using the results of an Angus Reid poll released March 21, the model predicts 60 NDP seats, 13 Liberal, 10 Conservative, two independent and no Green.

Applying the tool to the results of an Ipsos poll released March 15 predicts an outcome of 61 NDP, 18 Liberal and six Conservatives, with no independent or Green MLAs.

Polls from Ekos and Mustel Group in February and January respectively suggest the NDP would win 52 seats. Both show big gains for the Conservatives, though they'd still trail the Liberals, while just the Ekos poll suggests a Green candidate will win.

The forecasts of an NDP majority government are in line with what other election prediction sites are anticipating. As of March 31, Éric Grenier's had the NDP at 63 seats, the Liberals at 21 and one independent getting elected.

And on April 15, the UBC prediction market, which allows people to essentially bet their money on the election outcome through a futures market, foresaw an 54 NDP MLAs, 22 Liberals, five Conservatives, two Greens and two independents.

Premier Christy Clark is set to visit Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon on the morning of April 16 to ask her to disolve the legislature, setting in motion the official campaign period for the May 14 election.

Update, 6:20 p.m.: Grenier pointed out on Twitter that the Hill+Knowlton model does not appear to account for the fact the Conservatives only ran 26 candidates in 2009. He suggests multiplying recent poll results for the Conservatives by 0.28 before putting them into the model to get a more accurate prediction. Doing so with the latest Angus Reid data gives a seat count of 66 NDP, 17 Liberals and two independents.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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