New poll gives B.C. NDP a huge lead in support
The B.C. Liberals have shown improved results in a new poll conducted after a flurry of departures from cabinet. Angus Reid Public Opinion has reported that the B.C. NDP still enjoys a huge lead, with the support of 46 percent of decided voters, compared to 25 percent for the B.C. Liberals.
However, the governing party’s support went up by three percentage points over the previous month—the first increase by the party seen since January in an Angus Reid online poll. And the B.C. NDP’s support fell by three percentage points compared with the August poll.
The B.C. Conservatives ranked third with 19 percent, followed by the B.C. Greens at eight percent in the online survey of 800 B.C. adults conducted on September 10 and 11.
In the preceding three weeks, former cabinet ministers Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, Mary McNeil, John Les, and Blair Lekstrom; Speaker Bill Barisoff; and MLAs Joan McIntyre and Rob Howard—all from the B.C. Liberal party—announced they won’t be seeking reelection.
“I don’t think we should read too much into one opinion poll taken near the end of the summer,” Hamish Telford, head of the University of the Fraser Valley political-science department, told the Georgia Straight by phone. “I think the numbers here—the changes here—are all within the margin of error. It doesn’t change the relative position of the parties.”
However, Telford still characterized this as an “interesting poll”.
“And what we would want to do is compare it to other polls, and if we get other polling firms over a period of time picking up changes of this nature, then it’s possible that we are witnessing a shift in public opinion,” he added.
In the Angus Reid poll, the B.C. Liberals enjoyed a boost in support among female voters, going from 15 percent last month to 21 percent this month. The B.C. NDP’s female support fell from 53 percent to 51 percent over the same period. Among male voters, 42 percent favoured the B.C. NDP and 30 percent preferred the B.C. Liberals.
Retired University of Victoria political-science professor Norman Ruff told the Straight by phone that based on the poll’s 3.5-percent margin of error, a three-percent increase for the B.C. Liberals is “within a normal variation”.
“There’s no shift in the trend that we’ve seen before,” Ruff stated.
He added that it looks like the polling numbers have “stabilized”, which is bad news for the B.C. Liberals because they were hoping to make some gains after Clark shuffled her cabinet.
“I mean, the premier was quoted as saying, ‘It’s a fresh start.’ It’s a well-worn cliché when it comes to cabinet shuffles,” Ruff noted. “I think [Bill] Vander Zalm had four or five fresh starts in shuffling his cabinet.”
NDP Leader Adrian Dix has the highest personal-approval rating at 45 percent, followed by Premier Christy Clark at 28 percent. B.C. Conservative Leader John Cummins and Green Leader Jane Sterk are tied at 22 percent. Clark’s disapproval rating of 62 percent matched last month’s Angus Reid poll results.
Dix was deemed the leader best suited to dealing with crime, health care, the economy, the environment, education, and federal-provincial relations when compared to the others. However, the greatest response in four of these categories—crime, the economy, the environment, and federal-provincial relations—was “not sure”.
When it came to who would make the best premier of B.C., Dix was named by 28 percent of respondents, down from 32 percent in August. Only 15 percent chose Clark and nine percent identified Cummins, whereas 43 percent answered “none of these” or “not sure”. The remaining three percent chose Sterk.
The B.C. NDP’s greatest strength was on Vancouver Island (where it had the support of 53 percent of respondents), in the north (50 percent), and in Metro Vancouver (49 percent), while it only had the support of 34 percent of respondents in the B.C. Interior. The B.C. Liberals’ level of support was fairly consistent across all four regions, ranging from 24 percent on Vancouver Island to 28 percent in the B.C. Interior.
With files from Carlito Pablo.