Monday, August 10, 2009

BC Provincial Poll - NDP On Top

Angus-Reid has released a new British Columbia provincial poll of 802 respondents.

British Columbia is one of several provinces where provincial politics don't translate well onto the federal scene - Quebec and Saskatchewan immediately come to mind. But, nevertheless, as the third largest province in the country the swaying of its political pendulum is worthy of attention.

The provincial New Democrats have maintained the 42% support of the May 2009 election, but the BC Liberals under Premier Gordon Campbell have seen their support melt away from 46% only three months ago to 34%. The beneficiaries have been the Green Party (up four points to 12%) and the BC Conservatives (up five points to 7%).

The NDP lead or share the lead in every part of the province. They lead in every age group and most other demographics. The BC Liberals are the favourite of only the rich and university educated.

Now what does this mean at the federal level? Hard to say. The Conservatives don't have a provincial counterpart in British Columbia worth mentioning, and the Nanos poll released today, taken over the same period, doesn't quite match up. Compared to 42% for the provincial wing of the party, the NDP had only 22.6% support at the federal level - and that 1.4 points lower than a few months ago. The BC Liberals, at 34%, share the same support level as the federal Liberals (34.1%). However, it is highly unlikely that tall BC Liberal supporters are federal supporters, because that would require half of the provincial NDP supporters to be Tory supporters at the federal level. What we likely have instead is BC NDP supporters going to the federal Liberals, and BC Liberal supporters going to the federal Conservatives.

If anything does match up well, it is the Green support: 12% provincially, 11.1% federally. We can safely assume that those are the same voters.

Nevertheless, with the provincial wing of the party doing so well, Jack Layton would be wise to put in some extra effort in British Columbia. Of course, most people can make the distinction between the two wings of the party, but if people are willing to vote NDP at the provincial level, they are more likely to be open to voting for the NDP at the federal level. What Layton has to do is figure out why virtually half of his provincial support goes elsewhere at the federal level.