B.C. Liberals appear to be doomed in upcoming provincial election
The window is closing on the B.C. Liberals' chance of pulling off a major upset victory in the 2013 provincial election.
A new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll shows that the governing party has not received a boost from the recent throne speech and provincial budget.
If an election were held, the B.C. NDP would capture 47 percent of the vote, compared to just 31 percent for the B.C. Liberals.
B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix has a 43 percent approval rating, compared to 31 percent for Premier Christy Clark.
Female voters prefer the B.C. NDP by a 20-point margin: 47 percent to 27 percent. Among men, the B.C. NDP is up by 12 percent.
The B.C. Greens are at 10 percent, followed closely by the B.C. Conservatives at nine percent.
The B.C. NDP is also ahead in every age category, every household-income group, and in all four regions of the province.
One of the very few bright spots for the B.C. Liberals was a dent in Dix's popularity. Over the past three months, 28 percent of respondents reported that their opinion of the B.C. NDP leader had worsened, whereas only 21 percent said it had improved.
The poll reported that 28 percent also had a worse view of B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins. Only four percent said their opinion of Cummins had improved.
However, Clark suffered an even worst fall in the eyes of respondents: 45 percent stated that their view of her had gotten worse, whereas only nine percent cited improvement.
The B.C. Liberals appear to be on the verge of obliteration on Vancouver Island, where they trail the B.C. NDP by 31 percent. There are 16-point and 15-point margins in the Interior and the North.
Only in the Lower Mainland, where it's 44 percent to 35 percent, are the B.C. Liberals even mildly competitive.
If these results hold through the election, expect most of the cabinet and the premier to go down to defeat in their constituencies.
Already, the B.C. Liberal vote appears to be hemorrhaging in large numbers to the Greens on Vancouver Island and to the B.C. Conservatives in the Interior and the North.
If this pattern isn't reversed by election day on May 14, the B.C. Liberals will be lucky to hold more than a dozen seats. But because the Greens and B.C. Conservatives don't have a lot of money, they'll probably concentrate their firepower on a few constituencies in the hope of achieving a breakthrough.
This may offer the B.C. Liberals a chance to pick up a few extra seats, based on the strength of the candidate in certain constituencies.
I'll go out on a limb and predict 18 seats for the B.C. Liberals after the May 14 election. Here they are:
1. Andrew Wilkinson (Vancouver-Quilchena)
2. Sam Sullivan (Vancouver–False Creek)
3. Jordan Sturdy (West Vancouver–Sea to Sky)
4. Ralph Sultan (West Vancouver–Capilano)
5. Jane Thornthwaite (North Vancouver–Seymour)
6. Rich Coleman (Fort Langley–Aldergrove)
7. Mary Polak (Langley)
8. Stephanie Cadieux (Surrey-Cloverdale)
9. Gordon Hogg (Surrey–White Rock)
10. Teresa Wat (Richmond Centre)
11. John Yap (Richmond-Steveston)
12. Simon Gibson (Abbotsford-Mission)
13. John Martin (Chilliwack)
14. Mike Bernier (Peace River South)
15. Bill Bennett (Kootenay East)
16. Norm Letnick (Kelowna–Lake Country)
17. Steve Thomson (Kelowna-Mission)
18. Ben Stewart (Westside-Kelowna)
If this prediction turns out to be true, it would mean the defeat of some of the best-known names in government, including Clark, Finance Minister Mike de Jong, Health Minister Margaret McDiarmid, Environment Minister Terry Lake, and Justice Minister Shirley Bond.