Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BC NDP Continue to Lead, Though Gap Closes

On March 19, Angus-Reid released a new poll for provincial politics in British Columbia.The BC New Democrats under Carole James have maintained their lead with 43%, though this is a drop of four points since AR's last poll in November 2009. Gordon Campbell's BC Liberals have gained two points but are still behind with 35%.

The NDP lead in all demographics, be it gender, age, income, and education - except one. Among people with an income of $100,000 or more, the Liberals have a solid lead.

The BC Greens are up three points to 13%, while the BC Conservatives are down one point to 6%.

As compared to the election in 2009, the NDP is up one, the Liberals are down 11, the Greens are up five, and the Conservatives are up four.

In and around Vancouver, the NDP has a solid lead over the Liberals, 49% to 35%. On Vancouver Island the lead is larger, 44% to 29%. The BC Greens have life on the island with 20%.

In the BC Interior, the race is much closer with the NDP and Liberals tied at 36%. But in the North, the BC Liberals are well ahead with 43% to the NDP's 28%. This is the strongest region for the BC Conservatives, who are at 18%.

Considering the last election was only a year ago, Premier Gordon Campbell has a lot of time to repair his party's standing. He also has a lot of time to muck things up worse.

Unfortunately for federal politics, the provincial scene in British Columbia is too different to draw any comparisons. However, while both Harper (since they share a lot of voters) and Ignatieff (since they share a name) can talk nice with Campbell if they deem it politically useful, only the NDP can truly "claim" Carole James and the BC NDP. That would seem to work to their advantage, but the good graces of the BC NDP doesn't seem to be rubbing off on the federal NDP, as they are struggling in third behind the federal Conservatives and the Liberals in the latest polls.


  1. I'm hoping the NDP holds their lead. I'd really like to see Gordon Campbell get crushed. If another party more in the centre comes along I'd be happier with that but regardless BC needs a change, just as ON does.

  2. Good read on poor how poorly our HOC reflects population:


    Hopefully we could discuss this without the hyper partisanship of the last few days. It would be great to exchange points of view without the rancor.

  3. Campbell has moved too far left.

    First the carbon tax, now the HST.

    During his first term a 6% BC Conservative party numbers would be unimagineable.

    When he lost his stomach to challenge the unions, especially teachers he also lost the center because it became nessecary to start running deficits.

    Just like in California what is making BC go broke is crazy public sector compensation packages.

    A true right wing party in BC, the Conservative party, seems like the future of things.

  4. The trendlines in the last two ARS polls has shown the spread decrease from 14% in November, 2009 to 8% right now.

    Campbell is bringing the Liberal numbers down (high negatives) while the NDP remains unchanged from the May, 2009 election result.

    The problem with the NDP is that, unlike their fiscally conservative cousins in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the BC NDP contains a large ideological wing, which is anethma to most British Columbians.

    Furthermore, in a previous ARS poll most NDP voters want NDP leader Carole James replaced - She's not very well regarded either.

    At the end of the day, Campbell will resign after 10 years at the helm.

    Surrey mayor Dianne Watts was voted as "Best BC Premier" in a recent ARS poll. Watch Watts take over the Liberal helm and then a dynamic sea change will take place in the BC polling numbers.

    The same phenomena happened twice before - once in 1986 with Vander Zalm and again in 1996 with Clark. The political momentum is akin to a speeding freight train.

    Former BC finance minister Carole Taylor, who also had very high approval ratings, is also rumoured to be in the running to replace Campbell.

    As for comparing BC federal/provincial results, it's like comparing apples to oranges.

    In the City of Vancouver, many provincial NDP/federal Liberal voters exist. In BC's interior, many provincial NDP/federal Tory voters also exist.

  5. Eric, I'm not sure what you mean about the federal NDP being 3rd in BC behind the Liberals. The last few polls (ie: Ipsos and Ekos) have the NDP second and the Liberals third.

  6. I would also like to see Gordon Campbell removed from office.

    In fact, I kind of expect there to be some recall petitions later this year. Campbell brought in recall legislation, and his willingness to lie openly might get him removed from office. Only 10% of the registered voters in a riding need to sign the petition to trigger a by-election.

    I'm no NDP supporter, but leaving someone like Gordon Campbell in power for this long has proven disastrous.

  7. To say that another way, if this is the quality of leader BC can expect, then maybe it's for the best that the average BC premier only governs for 3 years.

  8. Ira, 40% of "registered" voters must sign a recall petition in order to trigger a by-election.

    The legislation was promised by the Vander Zalm Socreds during the 1991 election and introduced by the Harcourt gov't thereafter.

    The hoops to overcome for a successful recall campaign are so onerous none has ever been successful.

    The most promising was the recall campaign in Delta South in 2003 - More signatures than required.

    The problem was that ~3,200 of those signatures were not approved by Elections BC and the recall was deemed to have failed.

  9. Ira I don't know about you but I really enjoyed Campbell's first term.

    The budget finally being balanced, some tax cuts, getting confrontational with the native lobby, expanding the resource and aquaculture sectors, putting the nurses and teachers' unions in their place.

    Then he turned into Arnold Schwartzenegger with weird "green" initiatives like the hydrogen highway and carbon tax.

    And he blew the surplus on the unions instead of paying down debt.

    I think I might be permanently done with the BC Liberals and become a firm supporter of the BC Conservative party for now on.

  10. Shadow - the very first piece of legislation passed by the Campbell government was an increase in the minimum wage.

    And his balanced budget wasn't any more balanced than the original fudget budget. He just hid his losses in BC Hydro and BC Ferries.

    Liberals are the same wherever you find them. They're all weasely, big government centrists.

  11. Johnny Quest - thanks for the recall lesson.

    I'll still be signing the petition. I live in Gordo's riding.

  12. Ira I didn't find the minimum wage increase too objectionable because of the introduction of the training wage, which was actually slightly lower than the original minimum wage if I remember correctly.

    I don't think it had any effect either way.

    The economy had heated up to the point that if somebody was offering a job that paid less then $8 they'd be laughed out of town.

    Inflation has eaten away the increase by now.

    Hydro and Ferries have been experiencing rate increase for some time. Offloading costs back on to their books and raising rates is a back door tax increase to be sure.

    Although they were both subsidized below market value previously.

    Services should match true market value as much as possible.

    The problem with the current 9% proposed increase in rates is that the market is now heavily distorted by excess taxation, especially this ridiculous carbon tax. And environmental regulations slow the growth of new supply, especially Gordo's whimpy attitude towards run of the river power projects.

  13. Ira, anyways, do you have any hope for the next provincial election ?

    The NDP is 10 times worse then the BC Liberals.

    And the BC Conservative party doesn't yet have a leader or a coherent platform.

    I think the best result would be a minority with one or two Conservative seats and a green seat to start splitting up the left vote a little more.

  14. Earl,
    I read the same Globe and Mail article and was unimpressed with the study. Of course, our House has more uneven distributions of seats per voter, than say, the German Parliament. Germany's biggest province (Nordrhein-Westfalen) has 26 times the population as its smallest province (Bremen), while Ontario has 94 times the population of PEI and 408 times the population of Nunavut. So unless you want some parts of Canada to have no representatives at all, then there is going to have to be more distortion in Canada than Germany.

    It's not as if the House of Commons is controlled by rotten boroughs. The Atlantic provinces and the Territories have a grand total of 35 seats, or roughly one-third those of Ontario. The Atlantic provinces having maybe ten seats more than they deserve has almost no effect on who forms the government or the outcome of any vote.

  15. Goaltender, I'd put it even more strongly. Only PEI and the Territories are really out of whack. Reopening the Consitution to take away half of PEI's four seats is a profoundly silly idea which would have virtually no effect. At one seat apiece, the Territories are even more in the noise level.

    The supposed "losers", Ontario, Alberta and BC will have their seats adjusted in the next redistribution. They will probably always be slightly behind the curve, but they're still the tail that wags the parliamentary dog. It's hard to feel sorry for poor underrepresented Ontario.

    Speaking as a supposedly democratically threatened Canadian, this is one of the smallest problems in our system. Slow news day at the Globe?

  16. John, Goaltender there is a chart on wiki that shows over-representation based on 2001 census figures. Its even worse by now.

    Its not just PEI and the territories.

    PEI 3 seats too many, Newfoundland 2, NS and NB both 3, Quebec 7, Manitoba 4, Saskatchewan 5.

    I think giving BC, AB, and Ontario about 25 or so seats is the right thing to do and far easier than taking away PEI's 4 seats.


  17. Shadow: I think giving BC, AB, and Ontario about 25 or so seats is the right thing to do and far easier than taking away PEI's 4 seats.

    That's exactly the point. Even after the new seats are allocated, PEI will still be overrepresented. That's part of the Confederation deal and isn't up for discussion. The Globe and Mail has fearlessly identified a known problem with a planned and accepted fix. Good for them.

    In practice, it makes no difference. In all but edge-case scenarios, PEI and the Territories have no say on issues that split along provincial boundaries. I don't envy their "excessive" number of seats.

  18. Shadow, I have no problem with giving provinces more seats as they grow in population. My main problem was the implication of the article that the Canadian House is an undemocratic anomaly compared to other countries. If Germany or Austria had arctic territories or a small island province whose population hasn't grown since the 1880s, they would have the same vote-by-seat distribution that we do. In fact, Germany's provinces were deliberately reshaped after the war to ensure that none would have too much of a size advantage over the others (as Prussia did before the war).

    There are plenty of OTHER reasons to call the House of Commons an undemocratic anomaly, but not this...

  19. Shadow - Your remark about minimum wage might have been true in Vancouver, but how about in Smithers? This is a province-wide regulation, and because $7/hour was laughably low in the lower mainland Campbell forced the entire province to accept an unproductive bump in the rate.

    It was bad policy.

    As for hope, I haven't had any since I came to BC (in 2000). I have yet to cast a ballot for either of the two major parties.

    Sometimes I really miss Alberta.


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