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.