Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two new British Columbia Polls

Two new British Columbia provincial polls were released last week, one from the Mustel Group and the other by Angus-Reid.This actually represents a drop of three points from Mustel's August poll for the BC NDP, but nevertheless up one from the election earlier this year. The BC Liberals are down three points since August but down a whopping 11 points since the election. The BC Greens have gained three points since August and seven since the election, while the BC Conservatives are up three.

Premier Gordon Campbell has an approval rating of only 34%. That is worse than August's 38% and much worse than May's 46%. NDP leader Carole James doesn't seem to be all that popular, though, with 39% approving of her performance and 37% disapproving.

The Angus-Reid poll shows an even better gap for the NDP in British Columbia.

So what does this mean at the federal level? Hard to say, since the provincial parties don't carry-over to the federal scene. But, for Jack Layton, it can never be bad news to have people voting, or wanting to vote, NDP at either the provincial or federal level. And if the federal NDP manages to own the HST issue, they could get some traction out of it.


  1. The next election isn't for quite some time but it'll be interesting to see whether Carole James is still around.

    I'm guessing Gordon Campbell isn't, I get the impression that the Olympics is a legacy thing.

    Why does the BC NDP have such a bad leader? A leader so bad that the NDP wouldn't win, polls or no polls?

    Because as Joy MacPhail once pointed out, regretfully, they tend to nominate someone "ensconced in the labour movement."

    So yes, a temporary blip in the polls for the BC NDP based on anti-Gordo sentiment and HST rage.

    But until they shed the reputation as being entirely owned and operated by the big unions draining our province's wealth they won't be taken seriously as a governing party again.

  2. Carol James was a school board chair and involved in First Nations self-governance - she actually doesn't have much of a labour background. (Joy McPhail on the other hand worked for unions most of her life)

    You're a rightwing fanatic, so of course you're never going to like ANYONE who is NDP leader - so why should your opinion be of any consequence?

  3. Campbell has explicitly said that he will contest the next provincial election, which I would take as confirmation that he will not.

    James isn't well, and her lack of visibility is likely the reason why the NDP isn't farther ahead. Gordon Campbell is widely disliked, but I suspect most BCers simply have no opinion of Carole James.

    This HST issue is a huge boon for the NDP both provincially and federally, but the reason I think the federal Liberals can't do anything with it isn't because of the parties running BC and Ontario, but because of the way BC and Ontario are implementing the tax. Ontario is (I think) implementing the tax very intelligently, so no reasonable policy position can oppose that. As such, Michael Ignatieff cannot oppose it. However, that puts him firmly in the pro-HST camp, which is only harmful in BC, as BC's HST is being implemented (I think) very badly, so supporting it makes you look like an idiot.

    Dalton McGuinty and Gordon Campbell are effectively working in concert to throw votes at the federal NDP, and they're doing it in such a way that no other party can get in on the action.

    It's a good time to be Jack Layton.

  4. And Jesse, I fully expect the BC NDP will crush the BC Liberals in the next provincial election.

    Even I (free-market ideologue) thought they had the better platform in the last election (the two parties disagreed on no substantive policy issue aside from the carbon tax, and the Liberals' was easily the weaker position).

  5. Jesse is correct in ascertaining that there is a several month temporary blip in the polls due to the HST. The same blip happened last November, 2008 due to the carbon tax.

    Like I said before, Carole James is BC's own version of Sarah Palin.

    Angus Reid Strategies also had a recent opinion poll showing 51% of identified NDP supporters want to get rid of Carole James.

    The knives are now out and it appears that the BC NDP may also self-implode due to internecine warfare.


  6. Ira,

    Keep in mind there is a difference between sending the Liberals a message and electing Premier James. Its sort of like how when the media starts fretting about Harper getting a majority his numbers drop back below 40.

    As for Campbell staying or going - every politician says they will stay up to the last minute so that they are not a lameduck.

    "Gordon Campbell is widely disliked, but I suspect most BCers simply have no opinion of Carole James."

    She's been leader through 2 election campaigns. No opinion for Gordo is around 10, for her its about 20. People that uninformed probably don't vote. As little as two months ago she had 45% dissaprove. I really, really doubt she's going to stick around as leader when she's dragging down the NDP.

    "This HST issue is a huge boon for the NDP both provincially and federally"

    Agreed. But its also the type of thing that will blow over eventually.

    "And Jesse, I fully expect the BC NDP will crush the BC Liberals in the next provincial election."

    We'll see, as I said, the next election is ages away and the economy could be booming again by then.

    "they had the better platform in the last election"

    I'd agree, if I honestly thought the NDP were anti-tax. They essentially ran a Conservative platform when everyone remembered how they would actually govern.

    The only choice for a free marketer is a new leader or go BC Conservative party.

  7. Off topic: John Ivison on an Iggy Flip Flop on the GST:


  8. The GST was introduced on Jan.1 1990. Two years and 10 months later the PC's were reduced to two seats in the first election after the GST. It can happen again.

  9. --- "Its sort of like how when the media starts fretting about Harper getting a majority his numbers drop back below 40."

    Hey, can everyone stop mentioning this bull that the media is anti-Conservative, that it is some conspiracy? I've seen more kicking-Ignatieff-while-he's-down than 'fretting' about a Tory majority.

    Whenever the media is brought up in Canadian politics, it is usually as an attempt for a particular party or its supporters to find a scapegoat for the problems of that party.

  10. The real reason the Tories never keep 40%+ of the vote is because that last 5% or so is so 'on the fence' that they can't all be kept committed to one party or the other for very long.

  11. Some fun with Janine Krieber and Liz May's new deputy leader. If the greens do well in Quebec who would the votes come from Eric? I think the CPC would be pretty safe from Leakage.


  12. Eric I really do think the media is biased against CPC. I really do!!! The Toronto Star is by its charter supposed to promote the Liberal Party. Check out the Atkinson Foundation which controls the Star. The Globe leans LPC. The National Post and Sun Newspapers are so far right they attack the CPC as much as support them and have far fewer readers than the Star and Globe. The CBC is radically LPC and NDP. Canwest is neutral for the most part leaning towards whoever they view as best supporting Israel. I don't know the Quebec media so I can't comment. JMVHO.

  13. Uh-huh. The Globe and Mail has plenty of Conservative-friendly columnists. As does the NP and every smaller newspaper. The TV media is just plain stupid, and attacks whoever is easiest to attack because it makes for "entertaining" television.

    And I happen to believe Canadians are smart enough to know what they're reading.

    I just might institute a policy where every post with the abbreviation MSM in it will get deleted. I just might.

  14. Eric,

    Lol, this is getting a bit pathological. I wasn't making an anti-Conservative media bias remark.

    The media can express many biases that aren't nessecarily partisan.

    They have an anti-going to the polls bias. They have a pro-environment bias. They have a pro-voter turnout bias (this one usually annoys me because I don't think we should care about the issue.) They have a pro-civility in the HOC bias. They have an anti-partisanship bias. They have an anti-negative ads in campaigns bias.

    And when polls showed it was popular the media seemed to embrace the idea of minority governments, both for Martin and Harper.

    The arguement usually went "this is good! Everybody will need to cooperate! Nobody will have all the power! It'll reduce partisanship!"

    You don't hear so much about it now that polls show minority governments are unpopular.

    But there was a time when Harper wouldn't dare utter the word "majority" and even promised that the Liberal senate and the Liberal appointed 'crats would keep him in check.

  15. Earl,

    "The GST was introduced on Jan.1 1990. Two years and 10 months later the PC's were reduced to two seats in the first election after the GST. It can happen again."

    Sure, or the BC Liberals introduced a carbon tax that everybody HATED and they won-relection...

  16. "Jesse said...

    "The GST was introduced on Jan.1 1990. Two years and 10 months later the PC's were reduced to two seats in the first election after the GST. It can happen again."

    Sure, or the BC Liberals introduced a carbon tax that everybody HATED and they won-relection."

    Don't think they are comparable. JMVHO. As you said time will tell. Apparently Iggy is revisiting his HST position so maybe I'm not a complete idiot. Interesting to see what develops there.

  17. Earl,

    "Don't think they are comparable."

    Yeah the carbon tax was much more serious and hated here in BC.

    Perhaps you could do some research Earl - what was the political effect of harmonization in Quebec and the maratime provinces ?

    I don't particularily remember it being that huge an issue in the long term.

  18. Jesse it wasn't a big issue in Quebec, NS, NB or NL.

    Some background on the introduction of the HST in other provinces:


    The Provinces mentioned lowered the rate. That's not happening in ON. Is it happening in BC?

    Maybe you can do do some research. So still no response on Iggy's possible reversal on the HST? Why not?

  19. Earl,

    We'll see what Iggy does, I doubt he'll touch the issue though. If he does the next day Harper would hold a vote on the HST and we'd be into a federal election.

    No, they're not reducing the rate in BC but they are promising it'll be revenue neutral.

    So bigger rebate checks at the end of the month, various tax cuts or various exemptions like the no sales tax for food under $4 they're doing in Ontario (i'd ask them to ring up my items seperately if I lived there!!).

    I've said before that i'm a fan of the HST but think the extra revenue from taxing previously exempt items should go towards a rate decrease.

    But that can be fixed at a later date and time, right now the focus is on helping the economy and making less paperwork for merchants so they can run more efficiently and hire more workers!

  20. Is Canada becoming more conservative:


  21. Wow. Unfortunately, there isn't an election now, there won't be one for more than three years, and by then all this will have blown over. Campbell is smart about doing his unpopular stuff immediately after an election.

    I'm an NDP and I don't think much of Carol James. The NDP might have had a chance to win this last election if we had put forward a solid plan with some vision and coherence. Instead, the NDP just reflexively opposed anything Campbell did, including useful environmental things like run-of-the-river power and the carbon tax. People won't vote for a party that doesn't seem to stand for anything except opposition.

    On another topic: no Earl, Canada isn't becoming significantly more conservative. In 1993, with the big PC defeat, the vote for conservatives (PC + Reform) was 34.7%. In 1997 it was 38.7%. Currently it's 37.7%. However, the rise of the Bloc and the Greens decreased the effective power of the left-wing and liberals substantially.

  22. Anonymous I didn't think the article I linked to said that Canada was becoming more conservative. What I took from the article was that Harper had moved to middle in order to gain favour with voters. That was my point. The middle of the political spectrum is still where you have to be to get elected.

  23. Earl, Anon,

    Wow, just happened across an article in the citizen about Alaska auctioning off petro rights in disputed Canadian waters. I'd link but the comments thing here always seem to cut the address off.

    This is the type of thing that a political leader should latch on to.

    When people are down they like a good patriotic fight to distract them and let them work out some feelings.

    Obama is so weak with foriegn leaders, although petulant with allies if he needs to sell them out to the Russians/Chinese.

    With him wanting more international troops from Afghanistan it might be a good time to demand he recognize our waters.

  24. "Sure, or the BC Liberals introduced a carbon tax that everybody HATED and they won-relection..."

    The BC Liberals had the advantage (which I suppose they still hold) of having no credible opposition. Avril Phaedra Douglas Campbell's PCs had no such luxury.

    You make a good point about James. The NDP probably does need a new leader to make a real run. And how well the Olympics do will probably also play a role.

  25. Ira,

    Both parties would do well to toss their leaders.

    Olympics are a huge drag, all the construction and the cost. Plus the anger about politicians getting free tickets at desirable venues.

    If it goes off without a hitch and we win the men's hockey gold then MAYBE it'll be a net positive.

    But its more just a giant ego trip for Gordo, which is why I see it as a legacy project.

  26. Splendor Sine Occasu26 November, 2009 22:36

    My opinion:

    The only way the NDP will win an election in British Columbia is for the free-enterprise vote to split.

    The NDP consistently poll around 40% (+/- a few percent) on election day since the '70's (2001 being the exception). The only times the NDP have formed government (1972, 1991, 1996), there were two credible parties competing for votes on the right side of the spectrum.

    I think the reason the BC Liberals are still in this time is that there are so many free-enterprisers like myself who desperately wanted to vote for another option, but only had far neo-liberal, far left and insane eco-left to vote for.

    As much they may despise the BC Liberals, their voters probably fear the other two options more.

    The only way the NDP can win in British Columbia is if the BC Conservatives become a viable option and run candidates in all ridings.



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