The BC Liberals have rebounded in the first British Columbia provincial poll to be released after the announcement of Premier Gordon Campbell's eventual resignation. The Mustel Group, however, still shows that the BC New Democrats have the advantage.Compared to Mustel's last poll taken in late August and early September, the BC New Democrats have remained steady at 42%. That is, however, down from the high of 46% the party registered in Mustel's August 2009 poll.
The BC Liberals are up four points from September to 37%, their highest result since that August 2009 poll.
Meanwhile, the BC Greens are down two points to 10%, their lowest total since the 2009 election. The BC Conservatives are also down two points, to 9%, though they are still riding high compared to earlier polling results and the last election.
Undecideds represented 16% of this telephone poll.
The ability of the BC Liberals to recover is interesting, but the approval/disapproval rating of the NDP's leader, Carole James, is the most fascinating result of this poll.
While Campbell's approval rating is only 32% (much higher than the 9% in a recent Angus-Reid poll), Ms. James' is at 33%. That she is tied with such an unpopular premier is not a good sign for the party. But her disapproval rating is at 45%, better than Campbell's 60%. However, her approval rating is the lowest on Mustel's tracking chart, which stretches back to June 2008.
Nevertheless, with these polling results I project that the BC New Democrats would win a majority government of 52 seats, while the BC Liberals would form the Official Opposition with 31 seats.
That is closer than the 58 to 27 split I projected in Mustel's last poll.
I also project that one independent and one BC Conservative would be elected. That BC Conservative would be elected in Boundary-Similkameen, where the party had 20.2% support in 2009 (compared to 37.5% for the BC Liberals and 32.9% for the BC New Democrats). I realize it is going out on a limb to say that the BC Conservatives are now electable, but with the general anger against the Liberal government and the staggering improvement of the BC Conservatives' numbers since the election, they have to be considered to be a factor. Recall that during that election the BC Conservatives did not poll anywhere near their current levels.
Regionally, the NDP would win 25 seats in Vancouver, 14 on Vancouver Island, nine in the Interior, and four in the North. The Liberals would win 15 in Vancouver, 12 in the Interior, and four in the North.
While it is far, far too early to say that the worst is behind the BC Liberals, a poll like this will perhaps make leadership of the party a more attractive prospect.