A new poll by Angus Reid Strategies has made it official: Gordon Campbell is the least popular premier in recent B.C. history.
He only scored a nine percent approval rating, which is worse than former NDP premier Glen Clark's 11 percent approval rating at the depth of his unpopularity.
If B.C. Liberal MLAs aren't looking for a replacement, they ought to have their heads examined.
Meanwhile, the news wasn't much better for Carole James, leader of the NDP Opposition. She posted a measley 27 percent approval rate.
When it came to voting intentions, 49 percent of respondents favoured the NDP, whereas only 24 percent would vote Liberal.
You would think that the Green party would benefit from this situation. But its largely invisible leader, Jane Sterk, only managed a 12 percent approval rating; 13 percent of respondents said they would vote Green.
This means that all three leaders lag behind their parties in terms of popularity.
Why are they all doing so poorly this year? Here are five possible explanations for each leader:
* His trip to the Bilderberg conference reinforced a perception that his primary interest is serving the corporate elite rather than the average British Columbian.
* His egocentric behaviour during the 2010 Winter Games alienated many British Columbians, some of whom hadn't paid a lot of attention to him before that point.
* Large segments of the public think he lied to them about not planning the harmonized sales tax before the 2009 election.
* Gordo fatigue—people are sick of seeing his face after so many years, but he just can't resist inserting himself into the public eye. A case in point: the B.C. government website, which features the premier's face in the main image nearly every single day.
* Campbell's decision to spend $563 million on a roof on B.C. Place stadium seemed misplaced at a time when schools are closing and arts groups' budgets are being eviscerated.
* Carole Who? Never in the history of the province has there been an Opposition leader who kept such a low public profile.
* James seems to exert more energy trying to placate the mainstream media than in developing policies that British Columbians will get excited about. Her strategy has resulted in excellent coverage for her in columns by veteran journalists like Vaughn Palmer, Keith Baldrey, and Gary Mason. But that hasn't translated into positive polling results for her personally.
* James decided immediately after the election that she wasn't going to step down as leader, let alone ask party members what they thought after she had lost two consecutive campaigns. This seemed a bit high-handed, given that only 51 percent of voters even bothered to cast ballots in 2009.
* She may be a sure-footed debater, but James has not conveyed to voters that she's intellectually curious. This is a big problem in a party that has traditionally attracted the support of many intellectuals.
* James blew it by tossing Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson out of caucus for his mild criticism of a speech she gave at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.
* The Green leader has difficulty generating media coverage for herself and the party. In this regard, she's not nearly as effective as her predecessor, Adriane Carr.
* At this point, the Greens probably would do better with a younger leader (Stuart Mackinnon?) who lives in Metro Vancouver, where he or she would be able to generate a great deal more media coverage for the party. Sterk lives on Vancouver Island, which means she's shut out of most non-English-language media and out of mind of talk-show producers working at broadcast outlets with the largest audiences.
* The Greens' nuanced response to the harmonized sales tax left some people confused. Did they support the tax or oppose it? They said this tax was poorly designed, but they generally support consumption taxes.
* As the economy has continued to sputter, the public is more concerned with bread-and-butter issues, which is not helpful to the Greens from a political standpoint.
* The Greens are in rough shape nationally without a single seat in Parliament. This reinforces the view among many voters that the Greens are a fringe party, which hasn't been helped by the failure to elect a single MLA in B.C.