Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Brutal polling results show why Gordon Campbell & Carole James both faced revolt and forced resignations










- Stephen Dyrgas photos

Cold, hard polling numbers showing neither Carole James nor Gordon Campbell could win the next election underlie a dramatic two months of political turmoil in BC

Polling veteran at Angus Reid Public Opinion says low approval rating doomed BC's opposition leader. And maybe three premiers to come.

Bill Tieleman's 24 hours/The Tyee column


Tuesday December 14, 2010


By Bill Tieleman


"Each man is afraid of his neighbour's disapproval -- a thing which, to the general run of the human race, is more dreaded than wolves and death."


- Mark Twain


Beneath the raw emotions in the resignation of both the BC Liberal and New Democrat Party leaders lie cold, hard facts -- neither Gordon Campbell nor Carole James could win the next election.


Forget titillating stories about the spitting mad premier or the opposition caucus coup.


And disregard pundits who say the NDP blew a guaranteed election win -- that was never the case.

Instead, examine the reality that forced both out by listening to veteran public opinion researcher Mario Canseco, who analyses the polling, not the politicians.

The Angus Reid Public Opinion vice-president makes it clear that in James' case, her very low personal approval rating of 25 per cent when the NDP was polling at 47 per cent was a strong sign of a disaster ahead.

That's also why with the incredibly unpopular Campbell gone – his approval rating dipped to just nine per cent -- James was trouble-bound.

Parties now neck and neck

In a new Angus Reid
poll released Thursday, the NDP and BC Liberals are now tied at 36 per cent each as they seek new leaders.

Canseco says his warning also applies to three Canadian provincial premiers whose personal approval ratings show they aren't connecting to voters, while their opposition leaders are.

"You look at other leaders in the country -- Danielle Smith is way ahead of Premier Ed Stelmach in Alberta, Tim Hudak over Premier Dalton McGuinty in Ontario and Hugh McFadyen ahead of Premier Greg Selinger in Manitoba," Canseco said in an interview with 24 Hours, suggesting all three premiers could be defeated.

"The leader needs to be as close to the voting intention as possible. If you exceed it, fantastic," he said.

That's why Canseco says the 22 per cent gap between Carole James' personal approval and the NDP's standing was bound to create grief.

"If you are 22 per cent behind, it's a very soft vote. There's no emotional connection with voters. It was incredibly weak for her to stay," Canseco said. "It's all about the emotional connection."

Warning signs months ago

In fact, Canseco even predicted the internal party trouble that lay ahead for James back in September, before she unilaterally expelled MLA Bob Simpson from her caucus and before caucus chair Norm Macdonald and whip Katrine Conroy quit in protest over lack of process.

And long before veteran MLA Jenny Kwan blasted James' leadership style in a Dec. 1 public statement.

Here's what Canseco
told The Globe and Mail newspaper's Ian Bailey on Sept. 23:

"Almost half of B.C. decided voters are willing to support [the NDP], but considerably fewer see Carole James as a leader they approve of. If this gap remains, the BC Liberals stand to recover some of their lost support, particularly if Campbell steps down," Canseco said then.

Canseco says four provincial opposition leaders were in deep trouble when Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted a 7,000 respondent national poll last month.

Worst off was the Saskatchewan NDP's
Dwaine Lingenfelter, with an astonishing 57 per cent disapproval rating, followed closely by New Brunswick Liberal leader Shawn Graham -- who has announced his resignation already -- at 55 per cent.

But not far behind at 49 per cent each in the disliked sweepstakes were pro-sovereignty Parti Quebecois opposition leader Pauline Marois -- and B.C's Carole James.

Compare that to Alberta
Wildrose Alliance Party leader Danielle Smith, who was disapproved by just 21 per cent or Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, with only 23 per cent disapproving of his performance, and Manitoba Conservative Hugh McFadyen at 31 per cent.

Polling shows that Smith, Hudak and McFadyen all have real shots at becoming premier in their provinces' next elections, with opposition parties polling ahead of the current government parties.

But here in British Columbia things were very different.

A missed moment

I asked Canseco if he had ever seen both a premier and opposition leader in the same province as unpopular as Gordon Campbell and Carole James were.

"No. That's the interesting part of it Almost 60 per cent of people last time [we polled] said they don't like either option," he said.

The explanation for Campbell's sudden fall from grace is simple -- the surprise introduction of the unpopular Harmonized Sales Tax just weeks after the 2009 provincial election when the BC Liberals denied any HST intentions.

But interestingly, Canseco says the 2009 election was an enormously squandered opportunity for James to potentially win by addressing voters' concerns about the economy -- the overwhelming number one issue at that time -- and how she would handle it if chosen premier.

"This was a moment when she had to say, 'Don’t fear an NDP government -- this is what we'll do,'" he said. "I think she missed out on a big, big chance."

Just how big?

Well, Canseco points out that prior to the 2009 election the NDP was only narrowly ahead of the BC Liberals in opinion polling for a brief time -- in the late summer to fall of 2008, shortly after the unpopular
carbon tax was introduced.

And what was James personal approval rating in Aug. 2008? Just
25 per cent, as it was in early Nov. 2010.

Politics is a tough game -- and the numbers prove it



.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe Campbell's corrupt sale of the BCR, started the seeds of unrest. The anger towards Campbell and the BC Liberals, just kept growing. The insane taxing, arrogance, thefts, lies, deceit, corruption and Campbell's piss on you attitude, towards BC citizens. You don't want the HST, too dammed bad, you are going to pay it anyway.

Carole James, would have never have the, hate, spite, malice, for the BC citizens, as Campbell has. She doesn't have the cruel, vindictive personality, as Campbell has. However, when Campbell was using, his typical dirty tactics. It seemed everyone was saying, where is Carole, why isn't she doing something about Campbell's treachery? The BC people were not given, something to hold on to. Carole, just wasn't there. It seemed the NDP were silent, and we were on our own, to fight a madman who was kicking the BC citizens in the face. When Van Der Zalm and Bill T. came on the scene to fight for the BC people...We finally felt, someone was there for us, the relief was stupendous.

Anonymous said...

Well look at what we had . . .

In Gordon Campbell we had a folk-singing west-coast version of Nicolae Ceau┼čescu for a Premier.

In Carole James we had an affirmative-action-groupie cloned with a Neville Chamberlain appeaser who was prone to displays of temper.

We deserved much better over the last decade but sadly what we are likely to get now just simply SUCKS!

The GREAT SATAN

Bill Tieleman said...

For those interested in the federal scene, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is in similarly deep water over his leadership.

A new Angus Reid poll shows that 56% of Canadians and 46% of previous Liberal voters say Ignatieff should be replaced before the next federal election.

http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/43641/conservatives-keep-lead-in-canada-as-liberal-voters-ponder-change/

RonS said...

What Angus Reed polled was what I heard as a frontliner with the HST petition. I had a feeling at that time, that the leadership may come down to removing James before another election. It's too bad it's this late but better than not.

I now feel the NDP have a real chance to be elected. My other hope is we have a leader in the Dave Barrett mould that can really connect with the electorate and blast the FIBERAL scamers and crooks from here to you know where!

Anonymous said...

If 25% is too low, what kind of figure is good enough?

30%?

35%?

40%?

45%?


Suppose a new leader of the NDP is chosen next Spring and has poll numbers of 25% or less?

What's the next move?

Anonymous said...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/basi-virk-allegedly-paid-before-bc-rail-deal/article1838155/

Anonymous said...

The NDP was 20 points ahead in the polls Bill...20 points. It's the voting intention numbers that count. All of your self-justification doesn't negate the fact that it's now a dead heat - with the NDP suffering a massive drop in support among women.

Bill Tieleman said...

Hmmmm - should we trust the views of a veteran pollster when it comes to interpreting polling results or ... Anonymous ?

Hmmmm - should we give more weight to the opinion of someone who has been successfully involved in several significant provincial and other campaigns or .... Anonymous?

Kind of obvious, isn't it?

Adrian said...

A new Angus Reid poll shows that 56% of Canadians and 46% of previous Liberal voters say Ignatieff should be replaced before the next federal election.

So you're an anti-male sexist eh?

Anonymous said...

In response to another Anonymous... If the next NDP leader loses two elections then I hope the NDP goes automatically to a party wide vote on their leadership, avoiding the spectacle of another Carole James clinging to power while claiming "they are the best person for the job" when 3 out of 4 people clearly think otherwise. And this automatic review of leadership should happen even if the next leader is another women of partial aboriginal ancestry.

Of course, this being the NDP, I'm sure the party will be fully consumed with other party matters rather than making the necessary rule changes to avoid another Jameslike leadership crisis.

I expect that the NDP is more likely to debate proposals like "revoking the right to vote for men" or some other ultra-PC measure.

Anonymous said...

I expect that the NDP is more likely to debate proposals like "revoking the right to vote for men" or some other ultra-PC measure.



That's the kind of thing Kwan would support! She did the last time.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm - should we give more weight to the opinion of someone who has been successfully involved in several significant provincial and other campaigns or .... Anonymous?


Anonymous. They have no commercial or financial interest in the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Kind of obvious, isn't it?



Yup.

Kevin Logan said...

To be honest I have always felt polling was the voodoo of politics. The scorcery of smokey back rooms performed by self annointed handlers of the commanding heights.

The fact is caucases are faultering leaders are falling and political parties are in a state of disarray due to the externalixation of the corrupt hierarchy.

Run away greed masquarading as good government has delivered. Cue the upheaval of the masses.

This is time tested result and just another effort in keeping the lid on dissent. Canadian political practicioners are world renown masters at this and the voodoo politics of polling is why.

The NDP will win the next election. Not becuase of polls but because of corruption and the wholesale liquidation of the province and no real alternative on the ballot.

Folks need to shake their head and focus on one thing.

Who is going to lead the NDP?

And more importantly, what are they gonna do?

Tony G said...

Well if women withdraw their support because a woman is no longer leader then maybe there was something to women not having the right to vote.

Anonymous said...

Who is going to lead the NDP?

And more importantly, what are they gonna do?




Who? Someone who is not afraid of extreme politics, someone who craves the rush of being in a very high risk situation.


Gonna do? Get replaced, sooner or later, most likely sooner.

Anonymous said...

BC people, will not forget Harper's part in the HST, come next Federal Election time, he is a snake in the grass. We all know, Campbell is working for Harper. It seems, Canada has produced the worst politicians ever known. Corruption and greed is what governs. Canadians are really getting fed up, with the corruption, in every corner of the country. BC of course, is the most corrupt province in Canada. Campbell gets all of his corrupt friends, to do his dirty work for him. The lies, threats, and the low characters, of these stupid, pathetic people, boggle the mind. BC people, see through all of them. It's time to have a new party, that will not condone corruption. A party that will try and salvage, what Campbell hasn't yet destroyed, and try to repair, what Campbell has ruined. The judicial system, the RCMP, need to be cleaned up. We need to stop, giving Banks, mines, big business, gas and oil company's, billions of our tax dollars. They are, disgusting, bottomless pits of greed. They all lined up at the trough, squealing for the HST as well.

Tony Martinson said...

Bill says:
Hmmmm - should we give more weight to the opinion of someone who has been successfully involved in several significant provincial and other campaigns or .... Anonymous?

But Bill does not want us to give weight to the opinion of people who have experience in bringing down fractured, tired governments, such as Paul Ramsey, Moe Sihota and Mike Harcourt. Rather, he thinks we should listen to the likes of Bob Williams, whose legacy (near as I can figure) consists chiefly of bringing down NDP leaders.

Bill, you should please just drop the pretense. You didn't like Carole James and you and your friends were going to do whatever it took to bring her down, no matter the cost. This is why, when Provincial Council voted you down, you called it illegitimate or some such thing (despite Corky Evans lauding the democratic-ness of the institution). Had it gone to a leadership review and Carole James had survived it, you would have said the margin wasn't high enough. There was always a plan B.

I'm still waiting for the democratic justification of this. I keep hearing this "end justifies the means" defence - claiming that she was a bad leader or didn't have the support or some other rationalization - but I have yet to read or hear anyone make a rational argument about why it's okay to tramp all over the party's procedures to do it now.

Who knows? Maybe history will judge you favorably. Me, I'd be happy if you'd give up the rationalization and fess up to the fact that you were gunning for her and nothing was going to stop you.

Anonymous said...

Had it gone to a leadership review and Carole James had survived it, you would have said the margin wasn't high enough. There was always a plan B.


The long term game plan may be to do a full take down of the NDP in preparation for a new party around 2015, a kind of Vision BC.

cherylb said...

Ouch! Bummer, eh Christy?

http://www.robbinssceresearch.com/polls/poll_758.html

Delia said...

Liberals 41%
NDP 36%

That's what Carole James's opponents in the NDP have done. Gee, thanks!

Bill Tieleman said...

Not so fast Delia - you should read what Evi Mustel actually said:


The pollster cautioned that James’ resignation as party leader is likely not a major cause of the NDP’s slide in support among women. She noted that James and Campbell share the same dismal approval rating, just below 30 per cent, in the Mustel Group’s two recent polls.


“Her approval rating was usually higher than her disapproval rating but it switched in our November poll. And in our latest one, it’s eroded even further.”
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Liberals+have+five+point+lead+over+Mustel+poll/3984199/story.html#ixzz18FsCk64U

NA said...

Bill, I just watched a spokesperson from Mustel on Global say that the drop can be attributed to both Campbell's departure and the NDP's recent internal troubles.

Personaly I think that's more likely than it being solely one or the other.

cherylb said...

And that's not what SCE Robbins says either, Delia.

Sekrap Leahcim said...

To Bill at 10:52pm: I'll bet you that in the alternate universe where Carole James didn't step down, the polling results would have been same or worse. Buried at the bottom of today's Vancouver Scum report is the fact that James' dismal results are worse now, which proves that the Mustel poll has nothing to do with her resignation. To boot, it proves that James had little actual popular support. I think the NDP was, and is, in a Catch 22 situation, and at least now has some control over its fate due to the upcoming leadership race.

The BCLiberals are riding a wave of Bye-bye-Gordo and enthusiasm for their race, and the polls reflect this. If the NDP leadership candidates project charisma, a positive vision and a concrete and exciting set of ideas, the NDP will go up. Hope's not lost, yet.

Anonymous said...

...Buried at the bottom of today's Vancouver Scum report is the fact that James' dismal results are worse now, which proves that the Mustel poll has nothing to do with her resignation. To boot, it proves that James had little actual popular support. I think the NDP was, and is, in a Catch 22 situation, and at least now has some control over its fate due to the upcoming leadership race.



The world of BC politics, where pre-packaged sophistry and self-fulfilling prophecies are the main items on offer.



And it gets worse. What happened to the snap election argument? BC Elections physically cannot do that, so that argument was a premeditated lie.

kootcoot said...

"And it gets worse. What happened to the snap election argument? BC Elections physically cannot do that, so that argument was a premeditated lie."

How can people (even political people) keep repeating this obvious canard. Are all these people 10 years old or younger and can't remember when usually no one knew when an election would happen until the writ was dropped with a month to six weeks notice for Election Day.

And don't tell me the world has turned on its axis since we've gone to the Yankee style (bad idea) "fixed" election date foolishness.
Perhaps you've forgetten (already) how our hero Puffy Stephen, leader of the Canadian Taliban, less than a year after declaring by fiat his own fixed election date (with a minority so-called government to boot), thought he saw his chance and called an federal election NATIONWIDE for 28 days hence.

He even managed to work in some electoral manipulation on such short notice. Not only did he conveniently call the election for the day after Thanksgiving Weekend when many voters would be 1000's of kms from their polling station at grandma's house, but quietly changed the identification requirements so that many weren't allowed to vote even after driving across the country for the opportunity.

Balderdash (don't get self conscious Keith) and hogwash!

Tom Richardson said...

“Her approval rating was usually higher than her disapproval rating but it switched in our November poll. And in our latest one, it’s eroded even further.”
---------------------

Well it's obvious why her disapproval rating switched in the November Mustel sounding. The very public ejection of Bob Simpson from caucus and the fallout from that.

And the further erosion in the latest Mustel poll was the fallout from the resignations of caucus chair and whip, the yellow scarves incident, and MLAs opposing James.

Had James not ejected Bob Simpson from caucus the subsequent matters would likely never have occurred.

Carole James would still be leader and would have similar previous positive personal approval ratings.

Paul said...

Elections BC Political Contributions System

Evi Mustel - President of the Mustel Group

Total Contribution For This Search: $1,600.00

EVI MUSTEL - 2006/02/08 - $300.00 - BC LIBERAL PARTY

EVI MUSTEL - 2007/02/12 - $300.00 - BC LIBERAL PARTY

EVI MUSTEL - 2008/01/23 - $300.00 - BC LIBERAL PARTY

EVI MUSTEL - 2008/05/27 - $350.00 - BC LIBERAL PARTY

EVI MUSTEL - 2009/01/21 - $350.00 - BC LIBERAL PARTY

Tom Richardson said...

Bill, one more thing. According to Keith Baldrey, when Mustel asked who would make the best new NDP leader, Carole James ranked first.

Can you imagine Campbell ranking first for the Libs in that poll? That would never happen.

Anonymous said...

@Kootcoot

ElectionsBC cannot physically do an immediate general election.


Their budgets were reduced when the fixed election date law came in, and they are no longer in a state of constant readiness. They simply could not do an immediate general election, or a province wide referendum, whether you like it or not.


It would take many, many months of increased budgets and hiring for them to be able to hold the event, plenty of advance warning for all other political parties and interest groups.

DPL said...

Campbell and James are leaning to ward the stage exit, so let's move along and gear up to work to cut the new leader for the Libs down to size,
and a Interim leader for the NDP. A lot of people are expecting a snap election sooner than later , just after the Libs come up with someone. If the NDP inner circle are convinced there won't be a snap election, why is Dave Barrett writing folks asking for funds right now because" a snap election is a distinct possibility. Light a fire under the powers that be, get a interim leader right now and forge ahead for a new leader or its back to second place again for a party that seems a bit slow in sorting out issues.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, someone at Elections BC is paying attention to this 'negotiation' and beginning to get their staff back into a state of election readiness.

Ran into a former scrib who said the province seems headed for an Amor de Cosmos-type premier. Yeah, Christy!

And you're all a bunch of bullies.

Anonymous said...

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.


BC Elections told the Legislature public accounts committee just weeks ago that they would need six months notice to hold a provincial general election.


Yet you still have people talking snap election, a physical impossibility.

kootcoot said...

Anono @ 3:50 and Mr. "physical impossibillity"

Tell me how Puffy Stephen was able to drop a writ and implement a manipulated election within 28 effing days from coast to coast to coast to the border with the failing nation to our south. Get your head out of your nether parts please!

If you hadn't noticed we live in a time of fast communications and transportation - it ain't horse and buggy days, except maybe in your minds!

Anonymous said...

A physical impossibility?

Baloney. All it takes is enough budget.

Sure, Elections BC has a lot on its plate right now - what with recalls going nowhere, and ramping up for the referendum, possibly in June.

BUT, it should be no problem to have a general election around the time of the referendum and Craig James should prepare for such.

G West said...

I'm curious about why Mario Canseco has such high value as a prognosticator.

I've looked at his CV - he's not a statistician, he's a journalist.

DPL said...

The dancing is over as the Provincial Council has decided on a day to vote for the new leader. And a Interim leader, well the date is not yet set. Its on the CBC on line news. 90 days and ten bucks gets you a vote

Anonymous said...

I realize it is the holiday season and I hope you are well. Now please get back to work. :)

Bill Tieleman said...

My apologies to Norm Farrell - I accidentally rejected his comment when trying to publish it from my cell phone and the buttons are too close together on the screen!

Here's what Norm intended to say:

Norman Farrell:

"90 days and ten bucks gets you a vote"

But only approved vote results matter.