Friday, June 15, 2012

B.C. New Democrats hover near 50%

In early May, a poll emerged from Angus-Reid that pegged support for the B.C. New Democrats at 50%, an amazingly high score for the party. Some people, including the Premier, scoffed at the numbers, particularly as her own party was only at 23% support. Now two new polls show that, while B.C. Liberal support is somewhere between bad and catastrophic, the New Democrats are indeed near 50%.
Ipsos-Reid, last in the field in British Columbia between Feb. 1-5, shows that the NDP has gained four points and is now at 48% support, well ahead of the B.C. Liberals. They are down three points to 29%.

The B.C. Conservatives, meanwhile, are unchanged at 16% support and the Greens are at 6%.

The NDP lead is uniformly huge, with 53% on Vancouver Island (+3), 49% in Metro Vancouver (+6), and 45% in the Interior and North (+3). The Liberals trail with 32% in Metro Vancouver (-6), 28% in the Interior/North (-3), and 24% on Vancouver Island (+3). At no more than 18% anywhere, the B.C. Conservatives are unlikely to do more than spoil a few seats for the Liberals.

Forum has been in the field more actively, and was last polling on May 2. In this one-day survey, Forum puts the New Democrats at 50% support, up two points since the last poll. The B.C. Liberals are down three to 20%, while the Conservatives are steady at 19%.

Here again, the NDP has a large lead throughout the province: 57% on Vancouver Island (+1), 50% in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland (+3), and 43% in the Interior/North (+1). This aligns nicely with Ipsos's numbers, which also peg Vancouver Island as the strongest for the NDP, followed by Vancouver and its environs.

The Liberals, however, trail the Conservatives in the Interior/North with 18% to 24%, though they are ahead in Vancouver with 22%.

Considering the novelty of the Conservatives, and the fact that roughly two out of every five British Columbians do not have an opinion on the party's leader, John Cummins, we can safely assume that if an election were to occur the numbers would probably be closer to the Ipsos poll. The B.C. Conservatives recently under-performed in two by-elections.

In terms of seats, the numbers from both Forum and Ipsos would deliver a massive majority government to the NDP.

Forum's numbers result in 78 seats for the NDP with only three going to the Liberals.

Ipsos delivers a more robust opposition, with 18 seats going to the Liberals. Another 65 seats go to the New Democrats.

Both Ipsos and Forum show relatively similar approval ratings for the leaders, with Christy Clark registering 27% approval in Forum's poll and 33% in Ipsos-Reid's, with her disapproval sitting at 67% and 56%, respectively. The number of British Columbians without an opinion (11%) is identical.

Adrian Dix scores 44% approval in Forum and 50% in Ipsos, with a disapproval rating of 30% and 33%, respectively. Forum scores a higher "don't know" response at 26% to Ipsos's 17%.

Cummins, as mentioned, is widely unknown: 36% had no opinion in Forum's poll and 40% said the same in Ipsos-Reid's survey. His approval rating is between 24% and 25%, with his disapproval rating at between 35% and 40%.

Interestingly, Forum also asked respondents about their enthusiasm in voting for their particular party. While the Liberals and Conservatives had moderately good "very" and "somewhat" scores, an incredible 61% of NDP supporters said they were very enthusiastic about voting for the party, while 84% were either very or somewhat enthusiastic. That likely means high turnout among NDP supporters, further complicating the B.C. Liberals' plight.

Christy Clark has a long way to go before she can even be considered competitive with the New Democrats - at this stage it is looking like a blow out. The time she has before the next election will quickly tick away, as the vote is scheduled for about 11 months from now. She hasn't had a decent poll (which still put her eight points behind) since March.

Campaigns matter, of course, but there is only so much a party that has been in power for over a decade can do from this far behind.

32 comments:

  1. Eric, the CRA Newfoundland poll would be interesting to analyse looking at the swing from the Oct. 2011 NL election what with the NL NDP being up 8% and the Cs down by about the same...will you do a seat projection based on that?

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    1. Possibly, but there are so many things to cover and only so much time. NL being so far from an election, it is relatively low on the priority list.

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  2. These poll results shouldn't be a surprize to anyone who's followed BC politics for awhile. Not too many elections ago, the then-NDP government got thumped and reduced to two seats. Now the same is happening to the Libs/Jr.CPC. BC splits left/right sharply. When we shift, it's a shocker. Another interesting thing is these polls show the Conservative party as not being the spoiler Clark says it is. Even united, the right doesn't stand much chance this time around. Having said that, I've got to add that 11 months is an eternity in politics and anything can happen. Isn't that right Alberta?

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    1. Even hardcore right-wing partisans in BC have already written-off the 2013 election. They know they're going to lose, so while they put a brave face on it for the sake of appearances, they're planning for 2017 and beyond.

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  3. How high/low were the number of undecideds?

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  4. Cummins isn't a particularly charismatic or even likable leader. In the short-term, it might benefit his party that he's not well known.

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    1. It won't benefit them come election time. Apparently he's planning to run in Langley instead of his home riding of Delta North... that says something.

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    2. More evangelicals in Langley.

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  5. Certainly looks like you can wave goodbye to the BC Liberals!!

    Who are Liberal in name only actually !!

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    1. I have found the BC Liberals to be quite Liberal. Both of their premiers' first legislative action was to raise minimum wage. The BC Liberals, despite promising to do so, haven't privatised the mountain of crown corporations the government doesn't need to run.

      I find the BC Liberals to be big fans of big government. That's the very core of Liberalism in Canada.

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    2. "Big government" is in the eye of the beholder. Is a government that is highly active in the economy through Crown corporations really any "bigger" than a government like the current federal government that wants to be able to peek and pry into every corner of your private life?

      And really, let's be honest. "Big government" is a spin-word used by conservatives. It has no more content than any other spin word.

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    3. Don't expect any party to campaign on selling all the Crown Corporations / cutting the minimum wage and still winning Ira. You need to be closer to the centre than that to win. That's just reality.

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  6. One wonders also how this provincial swing might affect the federal vote ?

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  7. In Alberta you had a brand new leader in Redford and you had a brand new untested opposition party in Wildrose who had not even won any seats in the 2008 election. Christy Clark is a known quantity and to know her is to HATE her. The NDP also won 42% of the vote in the 2005 and 2009 even with a lackluster leader compared to Adrian Dix and running against Campbell when he was no where near as unpopular as Christy is now.

    Stick a fork in Christy Clark - she is cooked!

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    1. Actually Clark's leadership numbers are better than Campbell's were at this point in 2008.

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    2. You show me a poll where Campbell was ever 30 points behind

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  8. The only surprise here is the enthusiasm levels for the NDP. I wouldn't think voters who have recently swung to the NDP would be overly enthusiastic - more of the opinion that the Liberals need to go, not that the NDP are a great alternative. Apparently, the NDP is doing something to excite its base and the recent converts.

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    1. I think the very real potential for victory will excite a base all on its own.

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  9. Do the BC Liberals honestly think their situation would become better? The NDP support is concerete, even a relatively weak/minimal campaign can give them a narrow majority government, akin to the federal Conservative majority.

    I think Christy Clark actually believes she can do what McGuinty and Redford did. However, both McGuinty and Redford faced very poor opposition that made them look much better. Charest may be able to pull off what McGuinty/Redford did, but not Clark. Charest faces a weak/uncertain opposition that makes him look better, while Clark's primary opposition has done a good job to portray themselves as the government-in-waiting.

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  10. New Forum poll is a bit of a shocker: NDP 37% - CPC 30% - LPC 22%.

    Possibly the most surprising regional numbers are in the Prairies. Unless I read the second hand results incorrectly, Forum reports the NDP at 43% versus the CPC at 33%. So much for the 'wrath of the Prairies' against Mulcair's Dutch Disease theory, predicted by many pundits.

    Ontario: CPC/NDP tied at 34%.

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  11. Does the Angus Reid poll, with a slightly higher Liberal result, change things much?

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  12. Since I can only assume you're going to cover the Forum poll, I hope you can cover the results they have for if Trudeau led the Grits.

    With the Conservatives (to my knowledge at least) having their lowest result since before 2008 (possibly even before 2006) and the Liberals leading in Ontario and a close second in Quebec, it seems as if the Conservatives could be reduced to third place! It'd be fascinating to see your analysis.

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    1. I doubt the CPC would be down to third, because their vote is so much more efficient than the Liberals'. Where the CPC would lose seats to the Liberals would be in the 905 region, and their few seats in the City of Toronto. Though the Forum numbers suggest they would also lose seats to the NDP in BC and the Prairies.

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  13. With Trudeau at the helm of the Liberals, the Forum numbers are: NDP 32%, LPC 28%, CPC 28%!

    I don't think I ever really witnessed a equal three-way split in action yet, & this would be very exciting to see.

    Looking at the regional numbers, the NDP is seriously threatened by Trudeau in Quebec, with 32% supportin LPC to NDP's 30%, while LPC lead in Ontario 33% to CPC's 32% & NDP's 30%. LPC also kick the CPC down to third place with 23%, while the NDP lead 38% to 31% LPC. With these number I think the prospect of a third place finish for CPC is very real.

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    1. These are probably the best numbers the Libs under Trudeau would get if he became leader. Not particularly good since further scrutiny will certainly drive those numbers ..... down.

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    2. You've got the numbers reversed for Quebec, NDP still leads 32% to 30%.

      The regional breakout if Trudeau was leader is:

      Atl - NDP 38, LPC 31, CPC 23
      Que - NDP 32, LPC 30, BQ 20, CPC 12
      ON - LPC 33, CPC 32, NDP 30
      Man/Sask - CPC 37, NDP 37, LPC 19
      AB - CPC 62, LPC 17, NDP 13
      BC - NDP 44, CPC 30, LPC 21

      I would expect this would mean the Liberals gain a substantial number of seats on the island of Montreal and in and around Toronto, but not much more than that. The contest would almost certainly still be between the CPC and the NDP for government, due to how efficient the CPC vote is, and the NDP having strength in the regions of Quebec and that dominant number in BC.

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    3. The poll also has Rae with a higher approval rating than Trudeau though. Is this just a shift to the LPC?

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  14. A word of caution about hypothetical polls on how people would vote if so and so became leader of such and such a party...a little over a year ago ALL the polls in BC said that if the BC Liberals would pick Christy Clark as their new leader, they would SWEEP the province. Polls also suggested that Adrian Dix would be the worst choice for the NDP and that he was unelectable...now look at what the BC polls say today. And Christy Clark lo

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    1. Good point, but I suppose it's still fun to fantasize.

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    2. I was thinking the same thing. The polls may have been right if the BC Liberals had called an election in June, but after that...

      And 2015 is a long time away.

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    3. Ah but the difference with BC is the Provincial Libs are an old government. People got excited when Campbell left, but as time went on realized they weren't all that happy with the Libs no matter who the leader is. However, the same might be said for the federal CPC. The Libs, and the NDP to some extent, could well take seats away from the CPC as that party begins to be seen as old, decadent and extreme right wing.

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  15. I agree Ira. I think we'll see the right recreate itself, possibly as the BCPC party for 2017. They still may not form government at that time, unless the NDP has shot itself in the foot, but they will reorganize themselves as they do every couple of decades or so. I'll be curious to see how long Cummins lasts as leader -- long enough to become premier?

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