BC Liberals, BC NDP in dead heat tie at 36% each, Angus Reid Public Opinion poll shows after both parties shed leaders
It's a whole new ball game in BC, with the departure of Premier Gordon Campbell and opposition leader Carole James jolting a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll and two leadership elections to take place in the new year.
Needless to say, polls can often be interpreted widely to attempt to maximize or minimize their findings.
What's clear is that the next four months will be crucial to deciding which party will form the next BC government in an election I firmly believe will be held in 2011.
But did the BC NDP "blow" a 20 point lead by getting rid of James, as Vancouver Sun columnist suggested Thursday night while hosting Voice Of BC on Shaw Cable?
Is Global TV Victoria bureau chief Keith Baldrey right that: "If the NDP loses the next vote, the party can look back at the minority-led coup that took out its first female leader as it searches for the reason for the loss."
No and no.
There's lots of reasons why that isn't the case - but rather than hear my views, listen to this argument made in September 2010 - before Carole James unilaterally expelled MLA Bob Simpson, before both caucus chair Norm Macdonald and caucus whip Katrine Conroy quit their posts in protest over how that was handled and before veteran MLA Jenny Kwan went public over why Carole James' failures made a one member-one vote leadership convention essential:
“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 B.C. Liberals stand to recover some of their lost support, particularly if Campbell steps down.”
The man who made that statement has no stake in the results - he is Mario Canseco, a vice-president of Angus Reid Public Opinion.
And was he ever right.
"In short, Mario Canseco says that, given Liberal troubles, the leader of the B.C. New Democrats should be doing better on the personal popularity front," The Globe and Mail's Ian Bailey wrote on September 23. "Ms. James, he says, is failing to truly exploit the opportunities of Liberal weakness and hammer home a message to deal with public concerns about the NDP’s ability to, for example, manage the economy."
At that point the BC NDP were at 48% in the polls but James' personal approval was just 30%. James' ratings slipped to 25% by early November in another Angus Reid poll with the NDP at 47%.
And then another poll came forward from the
With Campbell having resigned November 3, the BC Liberals jumped to 37% popular support while the BC NDP was at 42% - the exact same level as in the May 2009 election.
The Green Party was at 10%, the BC Conservatives at 9% and "Other" at 3%.
Since Mustel's previous September 2010 poll - and despite the HST, Basi-Virk and other BC Liberal blunders, James' personal approval rating had dropped 9% to 33% from from 42%.
Equally damaging - Gordon Campbell's approval rating was only a point behind James at 32%
And now we see in the new Angus Reid poll that with Gordon Campbell gone, a large number of BC Liberal voters who had reluctantly and unenthusiatically parked their with the NDP temporarily are going home.
More on this in the days ahead but one thing is clear - the NDP cannot win an election based simply on condemning the BC Liberals and watching the government fall - they need some real ideas that appeal to voters.