Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BC Liberals back in the game

Angus-Reid released a new British Columbia poll recently, indicating that the leadership changes of the BC New Democrats and the BC Liberals have had a huge effect on voting intentions.Compared to Angus-Reid's last poll taken just before Gordon Campbell announced his impending resignation, the BC New Democrats have dropped 11 points and are now tied with the BC Liberals at 36%. That is a 10-point gain for the governing party. It's a huge shift in only five weeks.

The BC Greens are up four points to 14%, while the BC Conservatives are down four points to 6%. The departure of Campbell seems to have hit them particularly hard.

Others/Independents are at 8%, up one point in this online panel poll.

It's a very close race. The BC New Democrats lead among women, those aged 35-54, and those who earn less than $100,000 per year. The BC Liberals lead among men, those aged 18-34, and those who earn more than $100,000 per year. The two parties are tied among those aged 55 and older.

Both parties are retaining about 3/4 of those who voted for them in 2009. For the NDP, the Greens have taken the largest part of their lost support (38% of those who voted for the BC NDP in 2009 but do not intend to vote for them now), while 36% of lost BC Liberal votes are going to the BC NDP and 28% are going to the BC Conservatives.

It's a close race regionally as well. In and around Vancouver, the BC Liberals lead with 39% (+8) to the BC NDP's 37% (-7). The Greens are steady at 13%.

On Vancouver Island, the BC NDP has dropped 15 points but still leads with 36%. The BC Liberals are up nine points to 34%, while the BC Greens are up seven points to 15%.

In the Interior, the BC NDP and BC Liberals have swapped 11 points, but the New Democrats still lead with 34% to the Liberals' 31%. The BC Greens are up ten points to 18%, while the BC Conservatives have dropped 10 points to 8%.

Finally, in the North the BC New Democrats lead with 42%, down 15 points. The BC Liberals have gained 12 points and trail with 38%. Other/Independents are third with 9%.

With such a narrow gap in each region, the two main parties are statistically tied throughout British Columbia.

But the BC New Democratic vote is more efficient, and they would win 42 seats. It's only enough for a minority, unless the NDP can attract one of the two independents. The BC Liberals would win 41 seats.

Regionally, the BC New Democrats would win 20 seats in Vancouver, nine on Vancouver Island, nine in the Interior, and four in the North.

The BC Liberals would win 20 seats in Vancouver, five on Vancouver Island, 13 in the Interior, and three in the North.

The two independents would be elected in Vancouver and the North.

Of course, much depends on who the two parties choose as their respective leaders in early 2011. Among voters who cast their ballot for the BC Liberals in 2009, Christy Clark is the best option, as 51% consider her a "good choice". Kevin Falcon follows with 42%, while Mike de Jong (40%) and George Abbott (35%) are not far behind.

Among 2009's BC NDP voters, Mike Farnworth is a "good choice" for 43%. Gregor Robertson gets 35%, Adrian Dix 33%, and Jenny Kwan 29%. It appears that the BC New Democratic leadership race will be more divisive. This should come as no surprise, as internal division is what led Carole James to resign as leader of the party.


  1. It's disappointing, but it makes sense that Campbell's resignation would have hurt the BC Conservatives.

    Campbell's Liberals have been a solidly right-wing party by BC standards (I'd still put them left-of-centre in Alberta), and the only thing driving right-wing voters away was the perception that Campbell was an inveterate liar and occasionally a lunatic (I'm not claiming Campbell is these things - just that he's perceived as these things).

    With Campbell now gone, the exodus to the (also leaderless) BC Conservative party can reverse.

    I'll never vote for the BC Liberals until they actually start making and keeping promises (assuming they're promises to do good things), but they have a real shot to stay in power.

  2. They say that one week can be an eternity in politics. Over the past 5 weeks BC has seen several proverbial eternities in politics.

    1. A cabinet minister speaking out against Campbell;

    2. Campbell resigning;

    3. Several NDP caucus members resigning their caucus duties;

    4. An outing of the rebel NDP "Gang of 13" MLAs against James;

    5. A public palace coup against James;

    6. James resignation;

    And within one month a 21% spread in favour of the NDP evaporates into a dead heat.

    The Libs seem to have their act together with their leadership race but the NDP infighting continues voraciously.

    The next couple of months will likely see some interesting poll numbers that one would never have foreseen just 5 weeks ago.

  3. Eric,

    Last week there was a poll for Alberta with the Wild Rose Alliance and the PC's being in a near tie. I was wondering if you were going to get a chance to post on this.



  4. I don't expect anyone to declare their candidacy for the NDP leadership until after Christmas...and they will probably choose their new leader at least a month AFTER the BC Liberals....everything is in such a state of flux with both major parties being in such disarray and everything being so subject to who becomes the leader of each party that polls right now are about as relevant as polls in June 1984 that suggested that John Turner would beat Brian Mulroney or polls in June 1993 that suggested that Kim Campbell would sweep the country and beat the Liberals under Chretien.

  5. I'm working on it now, Rocky.

  6. Where is this mythical riding that the Greens will win?

  7. DL has a point. There is such a huge political vacuum in BC right now that a new middle-of-the road party with cache would sweep BC.

    The BC Conservatives will also be selecting a leader in May and if he's a populist he could take a chunk of the Liberal vote and a chunk of the NDP vote, which itself is partly an anti-establishment, populist, quasi-Reform vote in suburban and rural BC.

    Who knows, under those circumstances, BC could then revert to the Ontario political model.

    PS. Eric there's also the new ARS poll for Manitoba

  8. JQ, have the Manitoba one in the hopper as well. Unless something new comes up, will have it for tomorrow.

    Brenton, it doesn't exist. You made me look over my numbers again, and I made a recording error. Will fix now.

  9. Hopefully before the BC Greens put out another press release.

  10. Ira,

    What is it about the BC Liberals that you would consider them left-of-centre by Alberta standardards? Is it just there social policies and environment policies that you don't like and consider centre-left?

  11. Prog Tory:

    I'm sure Ira's talking about relative stuff. Right and left being relative terms. A carbon tax is probably to the left of Alberta's parties.

    Regarding BC, I guess it'll be kind of like a primary season won't it? The campaign to be leader of the party may not determine the next election what with it being not soon; (Right?) but parallel leadership politics will still replace the usual governing/legislature politics.


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