Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Angus Reid Strategies: BC Liberals 43%, NDP 37%, Greens 13%, BC Conservatives 4%

Angus Reid Strategies has just released its poll on BC politics, with the main results in the headline. Due to time constraints on my part, I am simply posting their news release below. More from me here later.

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BC Liberals Lead, Voter Turnout Will Decide the BC Election

[VANCOUVER – Mar. 25, 2008] - The governing BC Liberals are ahead eight weeks before voters go to the polls in British Columbia, but the two main provincial party leaders are having a tough time connecting with voters, a new Angus Reid Strategies survey has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, the BC Liberals are first with 43 per cent (+4 points since November), followed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 37 per cent (-7), the Green Party with 13 per cent (+2), and the BC Conservative Party with four per cent. Three per cent of decided voters would support other parties or independent candidates in their constituency.

However, BC Liberal voters are less motivated to vote on May 12. Amongst people “absolutely certain to vote”, the governing party is only two points ahead of the NDP (41% to 39%), with the Greens in third place (13%), followed by the BC Conservatives (4%). The BC election may well be determined by the turnout levels of supporters for each party.

The issue landscape has changed dramatically in the past year. The most important issues facing BC are the economy (36%) and Crime/Public Safety (19%), while Health Care is a distant third (8%). In Metro Vancouver, one-in-four respondents (25%) cite crime and public safety as the most important issues facing British Columbia.

Time for a Change

Overall, 51 per cent of respondents across the province say it is “time for a change of government in British Columbia” while only 34 per cent feel that the current government should be returned to office. When Gordon Campbell’s name was added to the question, only 30 per cent of respondents thought “Gordon Campbell should be re-elected” while a majority (54%) said it was time for a different premier.


Just a third of respondents in BC (34%) approve of the way Premier and BC Liberal leader Gordon Campbell is handling his duties, with a majority (51%) disapproving of his actions. BC NDP leader Carole James also has a paltry approval rating (29%), while three-in-five respondents (63%) cannot form an opinion on BC Green Party leader Jane Sterk. However, Sterk was seen as the leader best suited to deal with the environment (32%).

As was the case in the November 2008 survey, Campbell posted a high negative momentum score (-30), with 36 per cent of respondents saying their opinion of the Premier has worsened over the past two months, and only six per cent reporting an improvement. Still, the -30 score for Campbell is better than the -36 score he had late last year.

The momentum score for James stands at -5 (14% say their opinion of the BC NDP leader is better than two months ago, 19% say it is worse). Four months ago, when the NDP was ahead of the BC Liberals, James posted a rating of +5. James is seen as the most capable leader on Health Care (40%) and Education (39%), but neither of these issues are the top concerns of British Columbians at the moment.

While Campbell is certainly unpopular, James is failing to connect with voters on the issues that matter. When it comes to choosing who would be the best premier, Campbell (36%) holds an 11-point lead over James (25%). On the most important issue, the economy, Campbell is regarded as the best leader by 43 per cent of respondents, while only 19 per cent prefer James.

When respondents were asked which leader is best suited to deal with crime, Campbell (31%) is ahead of James (21%) by 10 points. However, 45 per cent of people thought that no leader is currently well prepared to tackle crime or were unsure, showing that the provincial party leaders have not connected on this important issue. This situation is even more pronounced in Metro Vancouver, which has been hit with a wave of gang violence in the last few months.

Regional and Demographic Breakdowns

The regional breakdowns show the BC Liberals with a 16-point advantage over the NDP in Metro Vancouver, while the NDP remains dominant in Vancouver Island, with a 20-point lead over the BC Liberals. The governing party is also ahead in the Fraser Valley/Southern Interior (45% to 31%), while the official opposition is first in Northern BC (49% to 36%).

The highest level of support for the Greens is in Vancouver Island (16%), while seven per cent of voters in the Fraser Valley/Southern Interior are ready to cast a ballot for the BC Conservatives.

As was the case last year, the poll shows an evident gender gap for the BC Liberals, with almost half of male voters (49%) voicing support for the governing party, compared to only 37 per cent of female voters. Conversely, 33 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women would vote for the NDP.

In November 2008, the NDP had a 12-point advantage over the BC Liberals among middle-aged voters (aged 35-54). The lead has completely vanished, and the two main parties are now in a statistical tie (40% for BC Libs, 38% for the NDP). The BC Liberals also have an 11-point lead among those aged 18-34 (47% to 36%), and a six-point advantage with people over 55 (42% to 36%).

University graduates back the BC Liberals over the NDP by a three-to-one margin (63% to 21%), whereas the NDP has its best showing among respondents with a high school education or less (48%).

Qualities and Characteristics

Respondents were provided with a list of seven qualities and characteristics and asked whether each of them applied to the two main provincial party leaders. Campbell holds the upper hand in having a vision for British Columbia (53% to 42%), being a strong and decisive leader (45% to 23%), and understanding complex issues (43% to 29%).
James is more likely to be regarded as a politician who understands the problems of BC residents (45% to 31%), who is honest and trustworthy (41% to 19%), and who generally agrees with voters on issues they care about (34% to 28%).

The two party leaders continue to post dismal ratings on the issue of trust: fewer than three-in-ten respondents say either Campbell (27%) or James (23%) inspires confidence.

State of the Province

BC residents are clearly divided in their assessment of the province, with 32 per cent saying things are on the right track, and 35 per cent believing they are on the wrong track. The proportions suggest that two camps have been established as the electoral campaign is set to begin.


It is clear that neither of the two people running to become BC's Premier is connecting with the electorate in a meaningful way. Gordon Campbell remains a divisive figure, with a disapproval rating that defies logic for a person who is seeking a third straight majority mandate, and a momentum score that would normally spell danger for an incumbent administration.

The Premier is not particularly liked, and his presence is one of the main factors that drive the sentiment for a change of government in Victoria.

However, Carole James continues to have problems getting her message across. She trails the sitting Premier on the two topics that are regarded as the most important issues facing the province at this time—the economy and public safety—and her approval numbers suggest a problem with the base.

While 72 per cent of respondents who would vote for the BC Liberals approve of the way Campbell is performing, only 64 per cent of those who would back the NDP are satisfied with the way James is doing her job. A similar scenario ensues in the preferred premier question, where 84 per cent of BC Liberal voters pick Campbell, and only 64 per cent of NDP voters select James. A third of NDP voters are not yet sold on James as the person who should head the provincial government.

When looking at the views of respondents who voted in the May 2005 provincial election, the two main parties preserve high retention rates (88% for the BC Liberals, 82% for the NDP). However, support for the BC Liberals appears softer and contingent on voter turnout. A comfortable six-point lead becomes a statistical tie when the views of absolutely certain voters are assessed. This finding suggests that the ruling party must work to get the vote out on May 12, or risk a close outcome.

Another interesting finding of this survey is the emergence of crime and public safety as a key issue for BC residents. While Campbell leads James in being better suited for this topic, almost half of respondents (45%) are not ready to endorse any of the three main leaders on this particular topic.

The first leader to really connect on crime, particularly in urban ridings, could change the dynamic of the election.


Anonymous said...

Angus Reid Stretegies has two findings that are inconceivable and certainly impossible:

1. Greens - 13% "decided voters" and 13% "absolutely certain to vote";

The Greens have the softest base of all parties and that finding makes no sense at all.

2. Of the 3 income categories, the lowest income (< $50,000) show the **highest** level of Liberal support at 49% and the **lowest** level of NDP support at 33%;

That's impossible and goes against every other pollster's finding for that income category. In fact, the figures should be reversed.

Anonymous said...

anon 11.34 am

That is a typo, the NDP are ahead in the low income catagory,,that column, 3rd to right in the income catagory should read 100K plus

55K 55k to 99k 100K plus

Bernard said...

ARS is using a new methodology for polling. It can and should be accurate, but I personally need to see more details of the data before I can evaluate how good it is.

In general I tend to be disappointed at the quality of the polling in BC. In an 800 person poll, 300 should be listed as not voting if it is to accurately reflect the voters.

Anonymous said...

I think the Bc Liberals should replace Gordon Campbell with Peter Ladner. Maybe then the NDP would have a chance.

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love it, a few days ago another poll showed the Liberals way ahead, now they are close. Does anyone really believe that sort of stuff.

Anonymous said...

If James was not "leader" the numbers would be reversed at this point.

James is the BC Liberals' "Kim Philby" inside the NDP except she is to stupid to know how be a traitor.


Anonymous said...

Oh well, next election Gregor Robertson will be the NDP leader.

Mary Rose said...

Is there time for the NDP caucus to dump James before the election? Who would the new leader be?

Bill Tieleman said...

Look Mary Rose and friends - you are entitled to your opinions about Carole James, me or whoever - but don't be ridiculous!

Carole James will be the leader of the NDP through the May 12 election. Period.

Anonymous said...

thanks Bill, great analysis and very helpful. I like Carol James a lot and respect her leadership and abilities. I'm so surprised at the strong support for Gordon Campell given the appalling results of his reign: child poverty at 25% for the past eight years; appalling health care for seniors; ALR eroded; salmon farms and sealice; and selling out BC Hydro and our environment to the big multinationals.

British Columbians are so f**** right now and really have no clue. God help us if the Liberals get re-elected. People have no idea just how bad it will get. Think the collapse of the USSR and the blatant take over by the mafia of government and society.

Anonymous said...

"However, BC Liberal voters are less motivated to vote on May 12. Amongst people “absolutely certain to vote”, the governing party is only two points ahead of the NDP (41% to 39%), with the Greens in third place (13%), followed by the BC Conservatives (4%). The BC election may well be determined by the turnout levels of supporters for each party".

As I have been saying for over a year, there are just too many traditional center-right voters, like myself, who are far too pissed off at Gordon to get up and vote for him again. He has failed us miserably and if you think the Liberals aren't counting every godamned constituency, think about yesterday's Burnaby remand center reversal. Until last week, the Libs were showing inside numbers of at least three Burnaby losses with one too close to call. Even though, I predicted four for the NDP.

But truth be told, with the horse shit of choosing anti-Semite like Elmore in Kensington and brilliant tactical stupidity, that should level off any hard support for the NDP and hand Grotto Campbell his third win.

And completely underserved.


Unknown said...

these polls only help those who need to be told where to shop and what coffee to drink and where to vacation when to buy this stock etc etc. like bernard out of those 800 polled 300 will always represent those not wishing to vote in any election. and at the same theres no mention at all for the current liberal strategy-bill 42 you know the gag law. gordon campbell and big business will once again reign supreme. hey hows that for a question ipso reid-even though the liberals made a promise into a law not to run a deficit, whats the difference between the liberals reversing a law allowing them to run a deficit and returning to the 90's,as apposed to the ndp running a deficit in the 90's.

tinaz said...

I would like to know as to who is Angus Reid talking too?

Problem is that there are no real choices right now but to get the liberals back in again spells DANGER for all.


Unknown said...

As Alex noted, the NDP is basically handing the Liberals another election win thanks to weak leadership and nonsensical policy decisions.

It also helps that the majority of BCers (idiots) still believe the big lie that the NDP is a fiscal disaster and Gordo is the best economic premier EV-ar!

BC will get what it deserves.

PS: Be sure to vote YES on STV. A change in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

Too bad NDP have Carole James and are so pathetically off the mark on so many levels. Too bad there isnt a real alternative to challenge Campbell. While Jame is arguing for a hike in min wages, something virtually no one gives a ratz azz about, since they are mostly entry level jobs, she supports Campbells secondary sewage system in Victoria for 1.2B something only politicians and think is necessary.

Anonymous said...

2. Of the 3 income categories, the lowest income (< $50,000) show the **highest** level of Liberal support at 49% and the **lowest** level of NDP support at 33%;

That's impossible and goes against every other pollster's finding for that income category. In fact, the figures should be reversed.

Not at all. The BC NDP destroyed many meager 15-50k jobs last time. Lost my home and family. I don't need a repeat performance from that inept party.