Friday, July 13, 2012

B.C. NDP maintains lead

Earlier this week, Angus-Reid released its latest numbers on the political situation in British Columbia. They show that Adrian Dix's NDP remains solidly in the lead, while the governing B.C. Liberals continue to struggle to hold-off the B.C. Conservatives.
Angus-Reid was last in the field in British Columbia May 7-9, and since then the New Democrats have slipped five points to 45%. They hold a solid lead over the Liberals, who are unchanged at 23% support. The Conservatives, meanwhile, are up three points to 22%.

The Greens jumped two points to 8% while 2% of British Columbians said they would vote for other parties or independent candidates.

Only the drop in NDP support appears to be statistically significant, if we assume a random sample from this online panel, though it is marginally so.

The New Democrats have the edge among men in British Columbia with 39% support to 29% for the Liberals, and lead by a huge amount among women: 51% to 21% for the Conservatives.

In Metro Vancouver, the New Democrats lead with 47% (-2) and are trailed by the Conservatives at 24% (+8) and the Liberals at 21% (-5). The gain by the Conservatives in Metro Vancouver is potentially significant, and undoubtedly a problem for the Liberals. The region is normally one of their strongest.

The New Democrats also lead on Vancouver Island with 46% (-6), followed by the Liberals at 26% (+4) and the Conservatives and Greens at 13% apiece.

In the Interior, the NDP sits at 41% (-7) and are trailed more closely by the Conservatives at 27% (+1) and the Liberals at 24% (+6). In the northern part of the province, the New Democrats lead with 48% (-13). The Liberals have made real gains with a 16-point jump to 29%, while the Conservatives are at 24% (+8).

It's no surprise that the New Democrats win a big majority with these numbers. They would win 70 seats with this level of support, while the Liberals would win nine (seven of them in Vancouver) and the Conservatives four (all of them in the Interior). Two independents would be elected as well.

Adrian Dix is clearly in a strong position with less than a year to go before the next election. He scored better than Christy Clark on every issue in Angus-Reid's polling: crime, health care, economy, environment, education, and federal-provincial relations. This is the sort of indicator that is horribly damaging to Clark's chances of winning.

Dix is far and away the most popular leader in British Columbia, with an approval rating of 48%. That compares quite favourably to Clark's 28% approval rating. His 38% disapproval rating is also much better than Clark's 64% disapproval. And this isn't a question of opinion yet to be formed about Dix - only 15% were not sure of their opinion of him.
John Cummins of the Conservatives is still relatively unknown with a "not sure" score of 28%, and of those who do have an opinion it isn't very good: 44% disapprove of him compared to 28% who approve. But the Liberals are in a sorry state if they are hoping to win a "who do people dislike less" competition with Cummins.

Dix is seen as the best person to be Premier by 26% of respondents, while 21% think none of the leaders would make a good premier. Clark scored 15% and Cummins 12%. After removing the "none of the aboves" and "don't knows", the respective results for the leaders are relatively close to their party's results, suggesting that none of the leaders are a particular drag (or particularly more popular) than their own party. This would seem to confirm the voting intentions result even more.

And those intentions are solidifying. Dix's NDP has held a lead of 20 points or so since March and has held a significant lead over the Liberals since November of last year. That makes nine months, roughly the amount of time between now and the 2013 election. If he has been able to maintain that lead for the last nine months, it stands to reason that he can hold it for another nine months. It won't be easy, of course, but the challenge facing Christy Clark is even greater.