Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ipsos Canada poll: BC Liberals 46%, NDP 35%, Greens 15%

The BC Liberal Party has an 11% lead over the New Democratic Party, 46% to 35%, with the Greens a distant third at 15%, according to a new Ipsos Canada poll seven weeks before the May 12 provincial election.

In the May 2005 election the BC Liberals won re-election with 46% of the vote and 46 seats, while the NDP rebounded to 33 seats with 42% and the Greens were shut out with 9%.

Ipsos Canada reports that the BC Liberals are up 2% from the firm's last poll in November 2008, the NDP remains unchanged and the Greens down 1%.

Premier Gordon Campbell and NDP leader Carole James have similar approval/disapproval ratings, with Campbell approved by 50% of respondents and getting the thumbs down by 47%, while James has 52% approval and 38% disapproval.

Ipsos Canada's Kyle Braid says the BC Liberals have the largest voter universe of the three parties, with 48% or respondents very or somewhat likely to vote for them on May 12, while the NDP are at 39%.

The Green Party has the smallest universe, with just 27% very or somewhat likely to vote Green.

Of respondents indicating a party preference, the BC Liberals hold the firmest support, with 69% saying they will "very likely" cast their ballot for the party. The NDP have 59% "very likely" backing while the Greens have again the softest committed support at 46%.

What does it all mean?

From my experience the race will tighten up considerably as election day nears and issues are defined.

I find it hard to believe the Green Party can come close to holding 15% through to May 12. This is not a knock on the Greens but a realistic assessment of the party's challenges.

Green Party leader Jane Sterk has been far less visible in the media than her predecessor Adriane Carr and the party lacks serious funding. That means it can't advertise in any comparable way with the two major parties and can't afford the voter identification, polling and GOTV - Get Out The Vote - efforts the BC Liberals and NDP can.

With the exception of the 2001 election, the NDP has always pulled at least 40% of the vote and sometimes more than that - including 42% in 2005.

Often forgotten also is the fact that even facing Bill Vander Zalm and Social Credit in the 1986 election marked by a shaky start from NDP leader Bob Skelly, the NDP took 42% after an aggressive end to the campaign.

Ironically perhaps, the NDP has won three elections with roughly 40% of the vote - in 1975, 1991 and 1996. Those victories came because the NDP vote is more "efficient" than the BC Liberal or Social Credit vote and also because the "anti-NDP" vote was split.

But without question the BC Liberals are now enjoying a significant lead, forcing the NDP to attack vigorously if it is to have a chance to win.

The factors that will decide the election:

1) All parties' campaigns and advertising;

2) The Green Party's strength or weakness as voters realize it cannot win a single seat;

3) The BC Conservative Party and leader Wilf Hanni - how many candidates will they field and where? Hanni has said "20 to 30" previously. If he runs them in swing ridings, particularly where voters are angry at Campbell over the carbon tax, the proposed aboriginal "recognition" legislation, BC Liberal emphasis on the environment over the economy and heavy spending in urban areas over rural, it could have a significant effect on the election results;

4) Unpredictable factors - will independent candidate Vicki Huntington, a popular 5-time former Delta councilor who almost beat BC Liberal Val Roddick in 2005, beat Attorney General Wally Oppal, who has parachuted into the riding from Vancouver Fraserview? Will Comox be susceptible to an NDP win with the unfortunate passing of BC Liberal cabinet minister Stan Hagen? Will trouble beset favoured candidates in any number of ridings?

Regardless of your political persuasion, the 2009 election is not a foregone conclusion by any stretch. Hang on for a wild ride!

UPDATE March 24 12:20 p.m.

On the heels of the Ipsos Canada poll out last night comes word just now that Angus Reid Strategies will release its own BC polling numbers on Wednesday. A news release from ARS follows.

* * * * *

Angus Reid to Release Poll of Voters

WHAT: Angus Reid Strategies, the most accurate pollster in the 2008 Canadian federal election, will release the results of its latest survey of voters. The comprehensive poll looks at voting intention in the province, approval rating for political leaders, preferred premier, sentiment for political change, and most important issue facing .

WHO: Angus Reid, CEO, Angus Reid Strategies.
Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, Angus Reid Strategies
Hamish Marshall, Research Director, Public Affairs, Angus Reid Strategies

WHEN: Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2009. 10:00 am.


Anonymous said...

Ummm, that was 39.45% for the NDP in 1996. And NDP share of total vote declined from 1986, 42.6%, to 1991, 40.71%, as well.

2005 was a reversal of a declining trend that started after the 1979 election, which oddly enough was the highpoint election of NDP share of total vote.

Anonymous said...

I truly believe that the NDP will lose this election because of it's lack of a strong Leader. I continue to read negative comments about the Liberals, however I must reiterate that the only way the NDP can win is with a new powerful leader and that I'm sorry to say is not Carol James.

peter kelly said...

There is something really wrong about Ipsos. They show the Liberals ahead on the Island...they've never lead on the island. There is something not right about their methods, i really discount their findings and their unusually high numbers for the greens

Bernard von Schulmann said...

Will the race tighten up? Maybe. I think the issue is how committed people are to the NDP that are marginal NDP supporters.

I suspect we are going to see a stronger Liberal vote as people that sat out in 2005 vote for the Liberals this time.

I suspect the NDP will suffer from people choosing not to vote.

I do not see the Conservatives as being any real threat to the Liberals, I would put Refederation BC as a bigger threat, but even then I do not see enough of an impact.

The NDP has a problem on the environment file, it has hardly been suggesting the greening of BC, luckily this is not going to be a major issue in the election. Though, if the economy is the ballot box question, this is not good for the NDP.

DL said...

The sample size on Vancouver Island is very small - so I tend to ignore the regional numbers there.

The greens whether federally or provincially invariably get about twice as much support in the polls then they get in votes on election day for the reasons that Bill Tieleman has pointed out (ie: no money, no organization, no publicity etc...). In the year or so leading up to the 2005 election, polls were also showing the greens with 16 or 17% - then on election day they got 9%. In the recent federal election, polls in BC kept showing the greens in the high teens - then they got 8% on election day. Now from everything I've read the BC Greens are even more divided and in even greater disarray than in 2005 and they are also stuck being seen as a single issue environmental party when everyone is 100% focus on the economy and jobs.

So i think its a given that the greens will get about 8% of the vote and not 15% - the question is where will that 7% go? in 2005 when the green vote collapsed, most of it went NDP - this time who knows.

Gary E said...

I'm inclined to agree with peter kelly. As well, too many times have we seen polls, especially Ipsos being dead wrong at election time. Personally, the only poll I take any stock in is the final one. At the ballot box.

Anonymous said...

It's always interesting to compare the February/March pre-writ period in 2005 v. 2009.

In Feb. 2005, Mustel showed the Libs with a 6% spread over the NDP. Recently that Lib spread has increased to 16%.

In Feb. 2005, Mustel had Campbell's DISapproval ratings 11% higher than his approval ratings. Recently that trend has reversed with Campbell having approval ratings 7% higher than his disapproval ratings.

In Feb. 2005, Mustel had James disapproval ratings at 20%. Recently that figured has increased to 35%.

In Feb. 2005, Mustel had Green support pegged at 10%. Recently that figure was 12%.

In March, 2005, Ipsos showed the Libs with a 7% spread over the NDP. Today that Lib spread has increased to 11%.

In 2005, Ipsos had Campbell's DISapproval ratings 10% higher than his approval ratings. Today that trend has reversed with Campbell having approval ratings 3% higher than his disapproval ratings.

In 2005, Ipsos had James disapproval ratings at 23%. Recently that figured has increased to 38%.

In March, 2005, Ipsos had Green support pegged at 12%. Today that figure is 15%.

Today Ipsos also shows that BC is on the "Right Track" by a 53% to 41% margin.

Moreover, the Libs support is the firmest of all three parties.

In a nutshell, both Mustel and Ipsos show the Lib spread over the NDP has increased considerably since the same period in 2005, Campbell's approval ratings now outrank his disapproval ratings, and James disapproval ratings have gone up considerably.

The dynamics between the 2005 election and the 2009 election have certainly changed.

Rod Smelser said...

We saw it in 1983 when Bill Bennett was re-elected with an increased majority despite having presided over the first two years of the worst recession since the Second World War, ... to that time, at least.

We saw it last Fall when the financial crash sent B.C. voters more strongly than ever into the Conservative column, with a drop in popular support for Jack Layton and the NDP.

We are seeing it in provincial opinion polls that show the B.C. Liberals with a wider lead than several months ago, all an apparent response to the recession.

The lesson couldn't be more clear. When recession strikes, Canadian voters tend to shift to the right, in marked contrast to what Americans did last Fall by electing Barack Obama. Nowhere in the nation is that tendency more pronounced than in B.C.

The challenge this Spring for Carol James, and for Gerry Scott, is to break the pattern and not treat the economic issue as a problem that they will ignore and hope it goes away. If it's not the issue on which voters already think the NDP is strongest, instead of accepting that judgement you've got 30 days to change it.

That's going to be very god damned difficult, no question, but the ignore it and hope it goes away strategy is guaranteed suicide.

Anonymous said...

Yes,something wrong with Ipsos reid,ever since they teamed up with Canwest Global in 2005 their polls have been funny,I have a dozen family members on Vancouver island,3 of which voted Liberal in 2005--None of my relatives are voting Liberal this time--

Reasons for this--Rising ferry fares,they are going up again april 1st/2009
Raw log exports--massive land giveaways,fish farms,Rip=off 2 tier hydro rates to name a few.
The Vancouver island NDP MLAs are quite confident about winning every island riding,even Nanaimo.

Also,my brother in law in Burnaby has been called in Ipsos reid`s last 3 polls,coincidence,or are Ipsos reid calling the same people over and over again.
Keith Baldrey on the noon news on global laid out the case about local issues giving the NDP a election victory,a thousand plus are expected in Burnaby tonight to hear and talk about changing zoning in Burnaby to stop the prison.
Corrigan was great on the Christie Clark show yesterday,he called her bias(which she is)Christie asked Corrigan if he was sheilding his wife,Corrigan asked Christie Clark what the connection between her husband Mark and the BC rail/Basi Virk trial was,I could sense Christies flabbergast over that statement.

Cue up 1.30 pm on the Cknw audio vault for monday march 24 --here is the link,listen to Corrigan harpoon Christie


Anonymous said...

"breaking news"

Gordon Campbell blinks,the Burnaby prison,Campbell has made the statement that he will let the 22 mayors of metro Vancouver decide where a prison is built,Campbell states he will abide with their decision providing it meets with his goverments approval,Burnaby will go ahead with changing the zoning anyways because Campbell can`t be trusted!
Now would a premier leading by 12 points,leading by a giant margin on Vancouver island cow-tow to Burnaby if the polls were real?

Unfortunately Burnaby residents won`t switch back to Campbell because he says he will consider another site,the Burnaby Liberal MLAs sat quiet,they didn`t fight for the constituents,they tried to CON-vince Burnaby that all was good,so Corrigan wins again and the Burnaby Liberals MLAs go down for the count anyways!
And so much for Campbell`s crime strategy,the prison site decision is not expected until dec 1st/2009--no prison built to completion until 2012--2013

My guess is the Angus reid poll has the NDP leading by 9 points.

Mary Rose said...

To see Carol James struggling on TV last night trying to explain why her party selected a nutbar candidate last weekend reminds voters why she could never be Premier of BC.

Anonymous said...

Yes by all means, hang on to a liar and a crook for your premier and don't switch to someone with morals, ethics and a vision for the future that isn't run by and from dead beat wall street banks.

If the BC voter has no more sense than to elect this man for another four years they deserve a further fleecing from the man and his cronies.

Time to wake up people.

Anonymous said...

Thinking back to 2005... There was a huge gap between men and women's party preference; then Carol Taylor was drafted and the gender gap vanished. The Ipsos Canada poll shows the gap is back.

Who will woo the womens?

Ipsos Canada poll details [.PDF]

peter kelly said...

where's that Angus Reid poll we were looking for today?