Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BC NDP Opens 18-Point Lead

Earlier this week, Angus-Reid released a new provincial poll for British Columbia. And it is bad news for Gordon Campbell of the BC Liberals.The BC NDP under Carole James pick up four points from Angus-Reid's March poll and now stand at a whopping 47% support. The BC Liberals are down six to 29%. The gap is now 18 points, whereas it was only eight points a month ago.

The BC Greens have gained one point (14%) while the BC Conservatives are down one (5%).

The BC NDP leads in all demographics except one: those who earn $100k or more. The BC Liberals lead that category.

The NDP made big gains in Vancouver Island, the Interior, and the North. They lead in all of those regions with 56%, 42%, and 48% respectively. The regional samples are smaller, however, so the extent of these gains (20 points in the North) may be exaggerated. The party leads in and around Vancouver, with 46%.

The BC Liberals are down everywhere, to 29% in Vancouver, 22% on the Island, 34% in the Interior, and 37% in the North. They've lost the lead in that last region.

The Greens are doing best in Vancouver where they have 15%. The BC Conservatives are doing best in the Interior, where they have 7% support.

The main issue seems to be the implementation of the harmonized sales tax (HST). Fully 82% disagree with its implementation. The BC Liberals are seen as arrogant (64%), dishonest (52%), and secretive (48%), while the BC NDP is seen as inefficient (40%), weak (37%), but also mindful of the province's needs (32%).

In an odd question, Angus-Reid has asked how voters would vote if there were a new party. The vagueness of this questions allows the phantom party to be whatever the person wants, so the significance of these questions is pretty low.

Nevertheless, if a new one existed, 34% would support a centre-left party, while 28% would still vote NDP and 23% would still vote Liberal. It appears that many British Columbians are reluctant NDP supporters.

If a new centre-right party existed, the NDP would garner 37% while the new party would take 30%. The Liberals would have 15% in this scenario, indicating that most British Columbians on the right want an alternative to the Liberals. But, it also indicates that British Columbians aren't enamored with centre-right policies as a whole.


  1. I think this poll should have a disclaimer: Despite large NDP lead, no one really wants Carole James as Premier.

    It seems obvious to me that people aren't supportive of the BC Liberals and their direction. I can't say everything Campbell does is wrong, but he's getting there. But if support for a new centre-left party is that strong, and the NDP fails to capitalize on it, I don't think James is in any better of a position herself.

    It could be that the next election will see another major shift in BC politics, or, it could be the BC Liberals shed their right-wing members and run as a centre-left party again, like they did before Campbell. How effective it'd help, I dunno, but it'd make them true to their name at least.

  2. Conservative radio host, Rafe Mair, recognising that he couldn't find a lot of like-minded citizens in BC, once suggested that BC and Alberta should merge, but then in that new entity BC residents shouldn't be allowed to vote.

    It's really hard to have hope living out here when the voters so clearly have priorities different from mine.

  3. As a Quebecer living in Ontario, my heart really goes out to you.

  4. The poll was taken during the high-profile start of the anti-HST initiative launched in BC by former Socred premier Bill Vander Zalm. The HST is despised by 80% of the BC population.

    And alot of that anger directed at the government is expressed in this opinion poll with vote parking.

    More particularly, Campbell is a lightening rod for negative discontent particularly as shown by his -58 momentum score.

    What people don't realize is that the NDP will not rescind the HST if they form government, which will also hurt them down the road. In fact, an ARS poll last fall showed a majority of NDP voters want Carole James replaced.

    The question concerning 50% of BC'ers wanting a new party shows the discontent/disconnect that BC'ers have with the two established parties.

    I've said it once and I will say it again. Campbell will likely retire on his 10th anniversary next May, 2011 and a new leader will be chosen.

    Either former BC Finance minister Carole Taylor or Surrey mayor Dianne Watts, both of whom have very high approval levels, will take over the Liberal helm.

    In an ARS poll last fall, Surrey mayor Dianne Watts topped the poll, by a wide margin, as who would make "best premier".

    We have seen this political story play out before in BC. Once during 1986 when the highly unpopular Socreds under Bennett was replaced by Vander Zalm.

    And again in 1996 when the highly unpopular NDP under Harcourt was replaced by Clark.

    Both went on to win the following elections.

    These government leadership replacements have a dynamic all unto their own in BC. It causes a "speeding freight train effect" in terms of momentum that is all but unstoppable.

  5. Ira,

    How bad can it be?

    You have the Rockies, and the Pacific ocean.

    Campbell is fairly conservative is he not?

    Alberta is having their own problems right now, so maybe BC, isn't so bad.

  6. Volkov I saw Jeff Jederas writing something similiar in the Post about going center left. But he wonders whether the Liberal brand is damaged at this point and a new party structure would be better.

    I'm liking the bit about a new center-right party getting 30% of the vote.

    The BC Conservative party can fill that role.

    They should experience a bump down the road with an upcoming policy conference and a leadership convention this fall (they're currently without a leader).

    The big question will be if the federal Conservative machine gets involved in any way.

    Harper's tried to get the party to be hands off, not get involved in WRA vs PC, not repeat the mistake of having Charest attack you in a tantrum over having supported the ADQ.

    A Conservative majority would change all that. If the situation in Ottawa is stable i'd expect a big push from a lot of people, maybe led by Stockwell Day, to get the BC Conservative party some seats.

  7. 49 steps its only people who are far to the left who say Campbell is conservative.

    Take it from Ira and myself, he isn't one of us.

    The carbon tax alone would disqualify him from being considered on the right side of the spectrum.

  8. Shadow,

    Indeed, if you looked below I commented on that article, because he's absolutely right, the BC Liberal brand might be damaged now. But, after another term or two of NDP rule, and if BC politics polarizes a little less, then they'll be in a better position, which might be the best route anyways.

    I don't know if the BC Conservatives themselves would welcome federal Conservative intervention. I don't think they have a lot of support, and I get the feeling that there is some animosity between the two groups. They aren't exactly the same in ideology, methinks.

  9. And no, Campbell is right-wing, just not as right-wing as you or Ira(?). He has to straddle the line, but he's definitely a little to the right in some respects.

  10. Volkov the interior BC Conservative MPs like Stockwell Day, and think about your favourite over in the kootenays Jim Abbot, are ideologically very similiar to the provincial party.

    The federal party as a whole is different, of course, because Harper has moved to the center. But they wouldn't be the ones getting involved.

    It would be BC Conservative MPs getting their volunteers and contacts onside with the provincial party. That would surely be welcome. Dropping a supportive comment or two in local newspapers. Showing up at a rally. That sort of thing.

    Uggh, a term or two of NDP rule would be a disaster. The province's finances are on a knife's edge at the moment. Two terms of NDP would push us into California's fiscal territory.

    The BC NDP are fully owned by the labour movement. Its not like Dexter in NS attacking the unions and raising the HST. BC NDP would just put everything on our credit cards.

  11. Shadow,

    What options in BC, does a conservative have to vote for if not the Provincial Liberals?

    I know the NDP, would never be an option for you.

    You were mentioning the BC, conservative party. How much strength do they really have?

    Are you afraid if the BC, conservative party gains strength, that they will split votes with the Provincial Liberals, and therefore deliver you an NDP, government?

    Who is the leader of the BC, conservatives, and how much different are they from the provincial Liberals.

    I know Carole James seems to be a real turn off, even amongst the NDP.

    If Campbell, resigns after his 10 yeras as premier, who do you think is a good replacement?

  12. I'd guess that as long as the BC Conservative party has the views of Abbott and Day it is unelectable. It may take up to five seats but it won't win an election. There isn't another Bill Bennett government coming to a BC near you.

  13. Shadow,

    Sorry, you did mention the BC, conservatives currently do not
    have a leader.

    You said there is a policy convention, and leadership contest this fall.

    Are there any candidates, in the running right now for the job?

    Do you have a favourite?

  14. 49 the BC Conservative party is currently leaderless. After they get some policies and a leader I expect their poll numbers and media profile to increase.

    And the Liberals look sunk anyways. I don't think anyone cares about voting splitting at this point.

    Nobody on the right is willing to carry water for the Liberals anymore. Its impossible to understate just how hated the carbon tax is amongst small c conservative types.

    Campbell is pretty much in the center of the spectrum. As Volkov said he used to lean a bit to the right.

    Lately he's leaned to the left. Sort of like the subtle differences between Dion and Ignatieff.

    But no, its impossible to call him a conservative.

    BTW I agree with Earl, its impossible for the BC Conservative party to form gov't in this day and age.

    But a minority coalition with more moderate lower mainland/island Liberals could work at some point.

  15. I think a conservative party in BC might be able to do ok if they are not social conservatives like the federals. I'm actually surprised Harper has been able to to do so well in BC.

  16. 49 I missed your above comment.

    The policy convention is going to kick off the leadership race.

    So announcements will probably be made around that time.

    I honestly don't know if somebody with a high profile will step forward.

    If not it'll just be a grass roots activist. Maybe in this political climate a non-proffesional could work with the public.

    Realistically the BC Conservatives should be aiming to win about 5 seats and run a full slate next election. That would be best case scenario.

  17. Shadow,

    Thanks for your BC info.

    I would also like to know just how bad the carbon tax is.

    How has it affected the price of goods, and services?

    How successful do you think it has been?

    Are there rebates, for those on the lower end of the income scale?

    If you don't mind could you please explain this BC carbon tax to me.

  18. The BC Conservative Party has been moribund since its last sitting member, Vic Stephens, was elected in the Oak Bay by-election in 1978 (32 years ago). Before that, the seat was held by the respected Dr. Scott Wallace in the 1972 election as the lone Conservative Party member elected.

    The party never receives any media attention, has had a lot of infighting over the years, and people running for its leadership now are considered to be kooks, to put it kindly. The BC Conservtives are nothing like the Alberta or Ontario provincial Conservative parties.

    A guy like Delta-Richmond East MP John Cummins (who has spoken at their provincial meetings) would give them some credibility but that will never happen.

    Ergo, they will continue to be lost in the wilderness based upon their current state.

  19. 49 Step - Campbell is a big lying liar-pants. How conservative he is doesn't really change that.

    And, frankly, McGuinty's implementation of the HST in Ontario is considerably more "conservative" than the way BC is doing it.

    Albertan voters have a long history of picking the right horse and sticking with it (often too long, but that's better than not long enough). And Danielle Smith is a dream come true for libertarian voters like me. She's a hardcore low-tax small-government sort of leader, and her Fraser Institute pedigree plus her gender make her less likely to be a social conservative. I don't even think she has a religious affiliation.

  20. @PoscStudent

    I think you are confusing BC with just the Greater Vancouver region: the BC Interior is as socially conservative as the average Albertan, and traditionally swing between the Reform/CPC and NDP (these would be the NDPers who voted against the long-gun registry). So it's no surprise that the CPC has done well in BC.

    Indeed, the BC Conservatives tend to attract the rural social conservatives and not much else (essentially, the rump of the old Socreds), and they're probably more socially conservative than the federal Tories, who are tugged leftward by their desire to attract median voters. BC Conservatives are probably closer to Wildrose Alliance in Alberta than any other party.

  21. 49 the BC carbon tax is pretty much a tax on everything.

    Yeah they send out cheques in the mail to seniors, students, low income, etc to help defray the impact.

    For the middle class people don't really notice the impact (its still relatively low, its going to ramp up in the next few years) beyond everybody being just feeling a little bit poorer, one more tax on top of everything else.

    Nobody would ever change their behaviour because of carbon taxation unless it was ridiculously high and in your face so the concept is silly.

    The biggest problem though isn't on the individual level its for bussiness. It really cuts into the bottom line and has resulted in layoffs.

    Because we are a carbon based economy and alternative energy is expensive any tax on carbon, by definition, hurts the economy and causes job losses.

    Our school system has been badly hit. Their operating costs have gone up across the board yet per pupil funding has stayed the same.

    Its resulted in the closing of a tremendous amount of rural schools. (They're also being hit by declining enrollment due to demographic hits).

    Essentially the carbon tax amounted to a giant stealth cut to education because it increased costs without any increase in funding.

  22. Sigh, more nudge nudge wink wink about John Baird's private life from the CBC:


  23. Tony Clement actually reported that Flaherty mistakenly said "queer" on his Twitter, and Baird certainly does have a reaction.

    You seem to be seeing motivations from the CBC that don't exist.

  24. Baird's gay, so what? I think everyone knows that.

    Question is whether some of the Conservatives will accept it... After all, the only people concerned about such facts are ones who will go to every odds to deny it.

  25. Eric everyone else has a reaction too. Denis Lebel has a big grin on his face too. Why not point out his big grin ? Why single out Baird ?

    If this was really an attempt to be funny the obvious caption would be "even Denis Lebel can't keep a straight face".

    "(Actually, it's Transport Minister John Baird's reaction that's priceless...)"

    The brackets, as if a hushed aside, and the dot dot dot have a very specific connotation.

    Also, the editorial process. It must be asked why is the CBC reporting this ?

    Taken together its very clear there is more to this blog posting than laughing at a simple slip up.

    There is a subtext and another level of meaning.

    Whether its appropriate is another question ?

  26. Baird's reaction was the most overt. And he is gay, which makes it funnier. Do you think anyone in the HoC missed that?

    Give it a rest.

  27. Just a gem from Garry Breitkreuz.

    He issues a call to physical violence with the following statement:

    "The government prorogued parliament to realign the senate committees, so our party could finally pass some legislation. Now that it's finally possible to garner senate support to scrap the registry, the Liberal leader is trying to completely change the game in the HOC. It's an act of desperation that insults the intellect of Canadians. His true colours are showing, and if his caucus has any integrity those colours should be BLACK AND BLUE"

    It just gets better with the following statement implying that police officers can be bought.

    "Pro registry groups such as the CFGC, and the CACP, are
    politically motivated lobby groups that derive financial support from pro registry sources. Their positions are tainted and support in my view, because their endorsement can be bought. CGI, group is a major contributor to CACP, coffers. Could it be that CACP support for the registry is financially motivated"

    WHAT A MORON!!!!!

  28. "I would also like to know just how bad the carbon tax is.

    How has it affected the price of goods, and services?"

    Every time I take a load of grain to the terminal in Saskatchewan the railway applies BC's carbon tax to my grain because they have to ship it through BC.

    I basically lose the income of about a bushel every time I take a load in.

    "The biggest problem though isn't on the individual level its for bussiness. It really cuts into the bottom line and has resulted in layoffs."

    Businesses don't pay taxes, every cent you charge them goes into the price they charge for their product. (cost of production). When faced with competition they work to keep costs low.... layoffs, less production, cheaper sources of materials... moving to where cheaper conditions exist.

    "Nobody would ever change their behaviour because of carbon taxation unless it was ridiculously high and in your face so the concept is silly."

    No kidding. I calculated my house out once. I can run every light and appliance in my house 12 hours a day for $150 (I don't).... even if you double the $80 a month I pay.... it isn't going to change my habits much. Gas went from 60 cents 5 years ago to $1.00 now..... that's a 60% increase.... do you see fewer cars on the road now??? I spend hours making fun of my wife for driving the block and a half to work. The energy (and cost) doesn't seem to be a problem for her.

    Why would millions of others act differently based on cost?

  29. Shadow: Sigh, more nudge nudge wink wink about John Baird's private life from the CBC.

    It's common knowledge. How is it edifying to mention it here?

    The impressive thing is what the Parliament Hill media haven't published. Because private lives are, amazingly, still private in this country.

  30. Shadow,

    You're blowing it hugely out of proportion. Everyone knows Baird is gay, its just the way some people, funnily enough Conservative members, act in regards to it. But no one actually cares if Baird is gay, any more than they care that Rob Oliphant, Scott Brison, or several others are gay. Not until some other idiot says something stupid about it!

  31. Breitkreuz, has already apologized, for suggesting Ignatieff should be beaten black and blue over the gun registry.

    He has also apologized for this statement:

    "CACP, is like a cult, that is led by organizations of police chiefs, who pretend that the registry helps them do their job. They should be asahmed of themselves"

    Way to go Garry, comparing CACP, to a cult.

    It just goes to show, that the CPC, wants to kill the registry, and anybody who gets in their way, they will throw under a bus.

    Even police chiefs, and the RCMP, who want the registry.

    Even good old Vic Toews, another high ranking member of the morons brigade of the CPC, says there isn't even ONE police officer in the country who supports the registry.

    These guys are a disgrace.

  32. Baird is actually one of the few Conservatives MPs I don't mind, Prentice being another.

    If either one of them led the Conservatives, that is if the party lasts after Harper, I would probably consider voting Conservative.

  33. Tony Clement is very funny on his Twitter. Look at this recent tweet:

    In other Canadian news, John Baird heckled me to "give a straight answer" when I rose to announce GM's loan repayment...

    Nyuk nyuk.

  34. Yeah Tony Clement is a funny guy I was reading on the Globe about his tweets when he was trying to get out of St. John's. He said he was 'Bieberized!' and that he felt used by Justin Bieber because he skipped him in the line by giving Air Canada staff his autograph.

    I guess Clement lerned to just laugh it off instead of throwing an airport tantrum.

  35. My favourite tweet was when he said he was going to steal the Tic Tacs John Baird has left at his HoC desk. Or on St. Patrick's Day when he said he was going to hug a leprechaun or Jim Flaherty.

    Nice to see a politician with a sense of humour. A few weeks ago he was eating at the table beside me in Ottawa.

  36. It'd be nice to have a Prime Minister with a personality.

    I think that is what's missing with both Harper and Ignatieff and why neither of them are desirable leader, though I'd consider Ignatieff to have more of a personality than Harper.

    I think one of the big reasons Danny Williams has such high approval ratings is because he has a personality and a sense of humour and isn't afraid to poke fun at himself. If a Conservative or Liberal leader had this I think we could probably see a majority government form.

  37. "The impressive thing is what the Parliament Hill media haven't published. Because private lives are, amazingly, still private in this country."

    But there is this strange double standard that if you are heterosexual - everything about your private life is supposed to be wide open. We know that Harper is apparently straight and has had sex with Laureen Harper on at least two occasions - hence two children. We read in the political gossip columns all about Peter McKay and his string of girlfriends and concubines...but for some reason with gay politicians who have not issued a formal proclamation that they are gay - there is the weird notion that whatever they do is "private".

  38. DL: But there is this strange double standard that if you are heterosexual - everything about your private life is supposed to be wide open.

    American Senator John Ensign might disagree with you. The Canadian political media have shown some discretion. I'm impressed.


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