VICTORIA -- During the last provincial election, the NDP warned voters that marking an "X" by a Green Party candidate would essentially be a vote for the BC Liberals, but fortunes have changed since that campaign three years ago.

On Election Night 2017, Christy Clark was one seat shy of a majority.

In Courtenay-Comox, the NDP and Liberal candidates were less than 200 votes apart, and the Conservatives took more than 2,000.

Now the warning is coming from the Liberals, who say a vote for the Conservatives is like voting for NDP Leader John Horgan.

"They got burnt by vote splitting in that riding. That perhaps cost them the government," said Hamish Telford, an associate professor of political science at Simon Fraser University.

This time, the Liberals can't afford to take any chances; poll after poll suggests the NDP is way more popular.

Leader Andrew Wilkinson's take?

"The Conservative Party needs to look at itself and whether it's worth splitting the vote to do their very best to elect the NDP," he said.

But the Conservative leader had a different view.

"I've heard that all over the province – what's going to ensure the NDP win is that people don't trust the Liberals anymore," Trevor Bolin said Monday.

"In the last election in 2017 the Liberals lost eight seats to the NDP."

The Conservatives are running 19 candidates, and Bolin thinks they could be a factor in five to seven ridings.

The party has a former MP's son running in Langley East, and in Chilliwack, a local politician who initially planned to run for the Liberals.

"Diane Janzen was lining up for a nomination battle against John Martin, the sitting MLA for the Liberals, when the election was called and the nomination battle was called off. But Diane Janzen decided to run for the Conservatives," Telford said.

And the Liberals are still reeling from recent controversies and questions about sexism and homophobia.

"With the Liberals running such a weak campaign and Andrew Wilkinson personally being out of favour with many voters, it's possible some voters may defect to the Greens as well," Telford said.

If that happens, even more Liberal seats could be in jeopardy.

With a report from CTV News Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan