PEI·PEI Votes

Here's how much time P.E.I. party leaders spent campaigning in home districts

If you want to be premier of P.E.I., the first step is getting yourself elected to the legislature.

'They have to be in all places all the time'

Party leaders have to balance knocking on doors with leading a province-wide campaign. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

If you want to be premier of P.E.I., the first step is getting yourself elected to the legislature.

So while leaders need to lead their parties, they also have to make sure they get elected in their own district.

It's a lesson the Progressive Conservatives learned the hard way in 2015. The Tories increased their number of seats in the house, but leader Rob Lantz did not win in his district, launching the party on a four-year quest to find someone to lead them into the next election.

"Lantz was the first one to say that after that, that he wishes he'd spent more time in his riding and that was his mistake," said UPEI political science professor Don Desserud.

"That's a problem for a party that's trying to work its way back. They have to be in all places all the time. It's practically an impossible job, but it's all about finding a balance. You have to be able spend significant time in your riding and significant time across the province."

How we kept score

CBC News has been tracking how much time each leader has spent campaigning in their own district from Day 2 of the campaign, March 28, to Thursday.

The leaders weren't campaigning on Good Friday, and then campaigns were suspended following the death of candidate Josh Underhay.

Each day the leaders scored one if they spent part of the day in their district, and two if they spent the whole day. The total was divided by the number of days we had records. There was no record of Joe Byrne's activities for three days, and no record for one day for Dennis King.

The closer the number is to 2, the more time the leader spent in his district.

Here are the results.

  • Joe Byrne: 1.21.
  • Dennis King: 1.14.
  • Wade MacLauchlan: 0.91.
  • Peter Bevan-Baker: 0.91.

It's not surprising Byrne and King are spending more time in their districts, said Desserud. Those two, as the newest leaders, have the biggest job of getting voters familiar with them.

While Bevan-Baker's and MacLauchlan's scores are the same, MacLauchlan has more evenly spread the time spent in his district, while Bevan-Baker has not campaigned there since April 12.

"I'm not sure whether that's a strategy or that's just the way things worked out," said Desserud.

"I suspect that once they realized that the Green Party's polling numbers were strong enough there's a possibility that they can win even the most seats, that's within the realm of possibility now."

More P.E.I. news

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. Kevin has a specialty in data journalism, and how statistics relate to the changing lives of Islanders. He has a BSc and a BA from Dalhousie University, and studied journalism at Holland College in Charlottetown. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

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