Thursday, October 27, 2011

Premier Dix?

Earlier this month, the Vancouver Sun reported on a new poll by Ipsos-Reid on the political situation in British Columbia. We don't often hear from Canada's third largest province when it comes to voting intentions, so despite the poll now being more than three weeks old, let's take a look at it.
Ipsos-Reid normally does its voting intentions polls by telephone, but does also have an online panel. This poll was conducted using their online panel.

The BC New Democrats led at the end of September and the beginning of October with 45%. The BC Liberals trailed with 38%, the first time in well over a year that the gap between the two parties has been greater than five points.

The BC Conservatives finished third with 12%, while the BC Greens brought up the rear with 6%.

The NDP led in Metro Vancouver with 45% and on Vancouver Island with 54%, while the Liberals were ahead in the Interior and the North with 46%. The gap there was only seven points, while in Metro Vancouver the gap was 10 points and on the island it was 23 points.

But though Adrian Dix's party is leading in the polls, personally he is still behind Premier Christy Clark. She topped the "Best Premier" numbers with 34% support, well ahead of Dix's 23%. That is a personal gap that could be very detrimental to the NDP once an election rolls around - if Dix doesn't narrow it, that is.

The Conservatives are likely to be competitive in a few individual ridings, but at 12% it does not seem very likely that they will elect an MLA. Perhaps their leader, John Cummins, could pull it off, but his hopes were swatted down by Preston Manning recently, who thought that conservatives in British Columiba were better off working through the "coalition" represented by the BC Liberals.

The seat projection model for British Columbia is still in a rudimentary stage, but with these numbers it gives the BC New Democrats 47 seats and a majority government. The BC Liberals win 37 seats, while one independent is elected.

Clark has said she will hold off until 2013 before calling the next election, so there is still plenty of time for things to change in the province. But it still looks like it is going to be a very close race, just like it has been in the two previous elections in British Columbia. One can't help but wonder, however, whether the BC Liberals would be comfortably ahead if the BC Conservatives were not on the scene. Clark will have to fight a two-front battle if the Conservatives continue to poll in the double-digits.


  1. In the heat of a campaign, Adrian Dix is going to have to answer for that memo he forged while acting as Principal Secretary to Glen Clark. That abuse of the public trust has been laying dormant for a while, but it will come back to life when people start asking whether or not he can be trusted with the keys to the Premier's Office.

  2. Yes, I agree with your conclusion. John Williams is going to be very unpopular with non-NDP supporters if he splits the vote and has to spend 4 years or more putting the pieces back together under a Dix government.

    The Liberals could always figure out a way to merge... Clark is on record as being in favour of ditching the dead-weight Liberal brand.

  3. Its a bit rich to hear Preston Manning of all people complain that if small "c" conservatives in BC vote BC Conservative, it might "split the vote" and prevent federal Liberal supporting BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark from winning...Didn't Manning create the Reform Party which was designed specifically to split the conservative vote and which paved the way for 13 years of liberal rule? Doe Manning now feel sorry for the damage he did to Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell?

  4. If conservative voters could reasonably expect a Liberal government to behave in a conservative manner, Manning would have a point.

    Sadly, this is not the case.

    I would expect Manning to recognise the same conditions that lead to the creation of the Reform Party in the first place. Then, Mulroney's PCs were not governing in a conservative way, so a more conservative option was needed. I would argue that the same is true in BC today.

    And, frankly, maybe an NDP government is just what BC needs to demonstrate what bad policy can do.

  5. @DL- do you ever figure that Preston Manning is a)capable learning from past experience
    b) managed to crush the centrist PCs and help create a much more conservative national party, while the Liberals did such things as close the budget deficit and cut the budget and provincial transfers?

    I think Manning did well in either case.

    A split right in the 90s federally meant budget cutting Liberal government. Manning can't mind too much

    A split right now in BC means budget busting NDP government. This is different

    As for Mulroney and Campbell, they mostly did it to themselves

  6. Ira, you'd have us suffer through 4 years of BC NDP just to teach us what bad policy can do?? That's just plain sadistic lol. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

    In the past decade, the NDP usually polls above the Libs between elections. Hopefully the trend of their support dropping off closer to the election continues.

  7. Ira,

    I'm admitably a pretty middle of the road voter, but I'm just curious - what are the BC Liberals doing or not doing that you don't feel is conservative enough? I personally feel that the BC Liberals have been more conservative than the federal Conservatives these days... though I guess that doesn't really say much.

    I personally don't feel that Cummins' party is particularly conservative - it feel more populist to me. That's an aspect it shares with the BC NDP to an extent as well. Do you agree?

  8. I do think that Ira hits the head on the nail in saying that the problem is with a lack of trust for the BC Liberals though. I'm hoping for the Province's sake that that trust can be rebuilt without 4 years of NDP rule though.

  9. Eric, are there any stats on any relation between the best premier numbers going into an election or going into voting day, and the result? It sounds intuitive to say that the best premier would be the pick of people at election time; but has there been a look at that data by anybody?

  10. New poll out in Saskatchewan. You probably know that already.

  11. I know all and see all. But thanks for posting it, in case I don't actually know all and see all.

    I'll update the projection tomorrow, probably late morning.

  12. Thanks for the regular posts. They're a nice fix for us closet political junkies . . .

  13. The Conservative party is only gaining momentum because of the failed HST being foisted upon the people of BC.

    The Liberal party of BC tries to have it both ways on a lot of issues. The Liberals are neoconservative and centrist which is a pretty bad combination. They combined the centrists from the liberal side and neoconservatism from the old social credit side. I feel that the Liberals should go back to their old centrist role and let the Conservative Party there take the right flank of that party.

    It is time for a change in BC.

    The NDP did pretty poorly in the 90s. I could see the NDP form the next government. A lot of Greens have gone from their party to the NDP lately. The next election will be the NDP's to lose.

    Anyways, I wanted to give my two cents. As far as I am concerned, Clark seems to be given all the bad press because of Campbell's policies. If it wasn't for his policies, she would be doing great.

    That's all I have to say folks!

  14. I have to say the sound of silence coming from the BC commentariat is deafening regarding Dalton McGuinty's reelection in Ontario especially as many of McGuinty's policies such as the HST and Smart Meters are despised by much as public and especially the BC NDP. Almost everyone in BC political commentary whether it be Vaughan Palmer, Bill Good, or Bill Tieleman have all been saying for years McGuinty was done like dinner and the BCLiberals need to move away from their policies that were similar to his i.e. HST and Smart Meters.


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