Tuesday, August 7, 2012

B.C. NDP continue to dominate

With the debate over the Northern Gateway pipeline running at a high temperature, both Angus-Reid and Forum Research stepped into the breach to poll the voting intentions of British Columbians. For all her chest-thumping, Christy Clark remains mired at less than half of the support enjoyed by the B.C. New Democrats' Adrian Dix.
Angus-Reid was last in the field only a month ago, between July 3-5. Since then, the NDP picked-up four points to hit 49% and holds a significant lead over the B.C. Liberals, who were down one point to 22%.

The B.C. Conservatives dropped three points to 19%, while the B.C. Greens were up one point to 9%. Another 2% of British Columbians said they would vote for another party or independent candidate.

These shifts do not appear to be statistically significant, suggesting that little has changed in the province despite the row over the pipeline.

The NDP leads in Metro Vancouver with 50% (+3), on Vancouver Island with 55% (+9), and in the North with 63% (+15). The race in the Interior is closer, with the New Democrats at 35% (-6), the Conservatives at 27% (unchanged), and the Liberals at 25% (+1).

The Liberals are in a sorry state everywhere, with that last result in the Interior being their best of the poll. The 23% in Metro Vancouver is especially worrying for them, considering the Conservatives increased their support in and around the city by six points to 18%.
Forum was last in the field on June 12, and since then the New Democrats dropped one point to 49% while the Liberals were up three to 23%.

The Conservatives were down one to 18% and the Greens were down two to 9%. All of these shifts are within the margin of error.

They are also almost identical to Angus-Reid's results. This sort of convergence (no more than a point's worth of variation for all of the parties) is rare, especially across two surveys using different methodologies. But both Forum and Angus-Reid were in the field at the same time. That they can be so close together suggests that they are on the money.

The New Democrats hold a statistically significant (and uniform) lead in every part of the province, while the Liberals hold second place in and around Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. The Conservatives have the edge in the Interior/North. The Liberals will accordingly have a hard time holding on to their seats there when they have to fight-off both the New Democrats and the Conservatives.

They will have such a hard time, in fact, that they could be reduced to less than half-a-dozen seats. These polls are so close to one another that I just averaged them out for the seat projection, and the result is a landslide: 78 seats for the B.C. New Democrats, four for the B.C. Liberals, and one for the B.C. Conservatives. Another two seats go to independents.

While this is an incredible result for the NDP, it isn't unusual for B.C. The 2001 election resulted in an opposition of two MLAs. Unless things change, particularly if the B.C. Conservatives continue to rake in so much of the support that would otherwise go to the Liberals, the province is on track for another almost-sweep.
And for things to change, either Christy Clark or John Cummins will have to improve their personal numbers. Averaging out the two polls gives Clark an approval rating of only 28%, compared to 23% for Cummins and 45% for Dix. That is a big gap to overcome. And whereas Cummins has a disapproval rating of 43%, Clark's stands at a massive 61%. Dix has a disapproval rating of only 32%.

There are few British Columbians on the fence about Clark, with an average of 12% of respondents not sure of their opinion of her. Dix's number is a bit higher, at 22%, while over one-third of people in the province are unsure of Cummins. Clark's only real hope is that during the upcoming election campaign a large proportion of those people will swing against Cummins - but at 22% the B.C. Conservatives would be challenging the B.C. Liberals for the role of the Official Opposition.

It gets worse for Clark if we remove the "unsures": her approval rating among decideds is only 31%, compared to 35% for Cummins and 58% for Dix. That is a lot of ground to make-up, and there are only nine months left before the election campaign begins in British Columbia.

18 comments:

  1. I don't know if you're applying any sort of star candidate factor, but Cummins is running in Langley FYI.

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    1. The B.C. model is a basic swing model at this point, but with such a huge lead for the NDP it does not matter much.

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    2. It could for the people in Langley :)

      Angus Reid doesn't give a number for undecideds, does it? (I don't think it's capable of doing so given it's methodology...) Since there's no real question over who's in the lead or by roughly how much, how many undecideds are out there would probably give a better idea of how plausible a BC Liberal come-back would be.

      I know I've been told that preceding the Alberta election there was an unusually high number of undecideds... I don't know if that's backed up by the actual provincial polling numbers, but it would be nice to have some way of knowing beforehand that the polls may be off by 20% as they were in Alberta.

      I suspect the campaign will shape up a bit like Alberta's too, with a strategic voting campaign on the right instead of on the left. We'll see how effective that may or may not be though.

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  2. Thanks for this Eric. I saw the AR poll last week, but wasn't aware of Forum's. The fact these two pollsters are so close is interesting. I also find it interesting that Clark's recent "BC wants a fair share" of the Gateway project campaign hasn't apparently helped her at all. She can twist, turn and spin all she wants but it seems BCers have had enough of right-leaning parties for awhile.

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  3. Clark's "BC wants a fair share" push with regard to the Northern Gateway pipeline could win her back some support if it actually gained the province anything, but it won't.

    First, Alberta and the federal government have no reasonable expectation that Clark is going to be Premier past next May, so they know that making any deals with her would be a waste of time. Second, the Northern Gateway pipepline is probably a red herring anyway - they could move that same amount of oil through an increase in rail traffice and an expansion of the existing pipeline to Burnaby (which has been filling oil tankers since the 1960s and no one seems to mind).

    Much as TCPL intentionally proposed a Keystone pipeline route they knew would get rejected so they could then propose an alternate route in order to look willing to compromise, Northern Gateway was probably never really intended to succeed.

    By opposing it, Clark is playing into Alberta's hands.

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    1. If a pipeline gets built, I'd bet it will be with a different company entirely. The concerns on Northern Gateway go beyond the route itself. Enbridge wouldn't put tens of millions of dollars into designing a fake pipeline.

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    2. The problem is that there is a huge bottle neck in Vancouver!

      They can basically only do one tanker per day, NOT fully loaded, and only in the best weather conditions!

      There is no technology to remove subsurface DilBit from the water!

      Plus DilBit gives off toxic gases which could force the evacuation of the entire Lower Mainland!

      EM

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    3. Anon 12:53 All of which is nothing more than a refusal of industry to invest in capacity.

      No it would far rather shift risk to someplace where it is much higher !!

      Just another example of Big Oil shafting everybody !!

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  4. What are the four seats that the BC Liberals are expected to win?

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    1. Vancouver-Quilchena, West Vancouver-Capilano, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, and Port Coquitlam. But, as mentioned above, this is with a very simplified model so I wouldn't take these to the bank. The overall number is more significant.

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  5. Port Coquitlam is an NDP seat right now - you must be mistaken

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    1. Whoops, not sure how that happened. I was looking at the wrong thing - should be Abbotsford South.

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    2. Abbotsford South is held by the BC Conservatives right now. Not that he was elected as a BC Conservative...

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    3. Those sorts of things aren't taken into account yet.

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  6. Id rather have the Liberals than the anti-everything union loving NDP any day. Anyone remember Glen Clark?

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    Replies
    1. You are entitled to your opinion, but it isn't shared by many in BC right now.

      JKennethY

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    2. You'll forgive us if we, as a province, have decided we want a change from 11 years of the highest poverty rate in Canada and 8 years of the highest child poverty rate.

      British Columbians want a change, and they want a government that cares about more than corporate welfare.

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    3. The BC "neoliberals" have just lost all of their moral authority to govern. Besides, it's idiotic to assume a current-day party is still the same like it was in the past.

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