Monday, September 17, 2012

B.C. NDP continues to hold 20+ point lead

Since the beginning of September, two polls have been released on the provincial situation in British Columbia. Both polls show that the B.C. New Democrats hold a lead of over 20 points, a seemingly insurmountable margin with only eight months to go before the next election. And with the B.C. Liberal government deciding not to call a sitting of the legislature until February 2013, it does not seem like there will be much opportunity for anything to change.
The earlier poll by Forum Research found NDP support to be at 45%, down four points since their previous poll of July 31. The Liberals were unchanged at 23%, while the B.C. Conservatives were up two points to 20%.

The Greens were at 10% while 2% said they would vote for another party.

None of these shifts in support were statistically significant, though the leads that the NDP holds throughout the province certainly are.

The NDP led with 44% in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, down four points, while they were up two points to 51% on Vancouver Island. The party was down 10 points in the Interior/North, however, to 40%.

The Liberals were down two points there to 18%, while they were down three points to 18% on Vancouver Island and up one point to 25% in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. The Conservatives were up seven points to 18% on Vancouver Island, two points to 20% in Vancouver, and one point to 24% in the Interior/North, where they are in second place.
The newer poll by Angus-Reid tells the same general story. Angus-Reid was last in the field between July 30 and Aug. 1, and since then the New Democrats were down three points to 46%. The Liberals were up three points to 25% while the Conservatives were unchanged at 19%.

The Greens were down one point to 8% while 1% of respondents said they would vote for another party or independent candidate.

Despite how the poll was widely reported, the gain for the Liberals is statistically insignificant, suggesting that nothing much has occurred in the province.

The NDP has 34% in the Interior and leads with 49% in Metropolitan Vancouver, 50% in the North, and 53% on Vancouver Island. The Liberals trail in second in every region with 28% in the Interior, 26% in the North, 25% in Vancouver, and 24% on the island. The Conservatives are third with 25% in the Interior, 19% in Vancouver, 18% in the North, and 11% on Vancouver Island.

While the next set of polls from British Columbia will tell us whether the B.C. Liberals are on an upwards trajectory, the only thing these polls suggest as a potential trend is that the New Democrats may have slipped a little from their 49% of mid-summer. They appear to be down most significantly in the Interior, the only area of the province that appears to be somewhat competitive.

The overall race, however, is far from competitive. The average result of these two similar polls would deliver 69 seats to the B.C. New Democrats, with the B.C. Liberals being reduced to only 10. The B.C. Conservatives win four and two independents would be elected.

The seat projection model for British Columbia is still rudimentary. A new regional model will be launched soon, likely in November.

The two surveys included approval ratings for the leaders and showed similar results.

Christy Clark's approval stands at between 26% and 28%, with her disapproval sitting at between 56% and 62%. Strikingly, those British Columbians who intend to vote for the Liberals are quite loyal to Clark. Her approval rating among Liberal voters is 65%, according to Forum, only marginally lower than the ratings for John Cummins (66%) and Adrian Dix (68%) among their own supporters.

Province-wide, Dix has an approval rating of between 43% and 45%, with a disapproval rating of between 29% and 38%. That is a rather wide spread, with Angus-Reid finding the disapproval rating being higher. The source appears to be those who are not sure - they represent 29% of the population according to Forum but only 16% according to Angus-Reid. That suggests that Dix may have hit a wall in terms of growth potential, since a decrease in "undecided" opinion increases the proportion who disapprove of the NDP leader.

Cummins has a very high unknown factor, at between 33% and 39%. His approval rating sits at between 22% and 23%, while his disapproval rating is between 38% and 45%. Here again, the lower "not sures" in Angus-Reid's poll has the effect of increasing Cummins' disapproval rating. This also occurred for Christy Clark, though to a somewhat lesser degree. We may infer from this that undecideds will be more likely to swing towards the B.C. Liberals, though not significantly.

Based on these numbers, and considering that Dix's NDP has held a wide lead over Clark's Liberals for about as long as time remains before the next election, many of the B.C. Liberals' MLAs will not be working in Victoria in nine months' time. In the end, their break from having to sit in the legislature until February will probably be good practice.

22 comments:

  1. In case you're interested, it appears Environics also did a BC poll lately, though seemingly a very low-profile one. The results, similar to the Forum and Angus Reid polls, are tucked away the bottom of this article:

    http://www.globaltvbc.com/labour+group+poll+shows+majority+of+british+columbians+support+one-day+strike+wednesday/6442707160/story.html

    Dom

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    1. I tend not to cover polls ordered by political organizations, unless they are noteworthy.

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  2. Somehow the ability for Clark/the Liberals to not allow a sitting of the legislature for such a long period of time seems so... oh what's the word... undemocratic?

    Maybe the BC NDP should look into passing a law that prevents these sorts of long periods of time from passing without a sitting of the legislature once they get into power.

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    1. Then they'd get bit in the ass by it too.

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    2. Yeah, but think Adam. Governments get elected to pass good laws like that one. They don't. They do the opposite. Plus what Ryan said...or wrote...

      Chuck

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  3. Those Angus Reid numbers of John Cummins support what I've been saying about his chances. All of the British Columbians who are going to like him already do; the only thing that makes him look credible is the large undecided count. But as those undecideds learn more about him, they're mostly not going to like what they see.

    I don't think Cummins is a viable party leader in BC. BCers are refreshingly opposed to social conservatism in any guise.

    Now, after the NDP wins a huge majority next spring, if the Liberals and Conservatives merge under a charismatic leader (Chuck Strahl, perhaps?) then they can take back power, but a religious conservative like Cummins isn't ever going to win.

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    1. I'd love to see Chuck Strahl provincially, but doesn't he have terminal cancer from asbestos exposure?

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    2. Does he? I didn't know that.

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    3. I believe that's why he retired from federal politics. From what I understand it's a very slow form of cancer, but incurable still.

      I'm a federal Liberal, but I have to admit to being a big Chuck Strahl fan. Regardless of politics, he's just a very decent human being.

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  4. Thanks Eric, I loved your last sentence. Note that both these polls were completed before the government announced they were running an even larger deficit than predicted. This will not make voters happy. Actually the Libs/miniCPC's reaction to the deficit which is to cut programs and services already seriously stretched will not sit well. And that's likely why there's no fall session. They won't have to answer the tough questions.
    When they come back in February, the Libs will announce an unbelievably rosy budget with all sorts of goodies due to kick in sometime after the next election. yada, yada, yada.

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    1. That's if natural gas prices recover.

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  5. Taken together, I do think these polls show some evidence of a dip in NDP support. Long way to go though. We'll see what the polls are doing in a few months.

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    1. It's summer Ryan. This is usually the case (except federally this year for some reason). Even though the Libs will try to extend summer to February, I don't think they'll succeed in keeping this slight bounce going their way. You're right though we'll see. BC politics is a different kettle of fish for sure.

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    2. The big wild card will be this in-fighting in the BC Conservatives. When your leader is comparing board members to Judas and himself to Jesus Christ you're in for a bad time.

      I personally would be on ~half of the BC Conservatives' support coming back to the BC Liberals, as they're kind of a "none of the above" placeholder for people on the right right now. Of course, the same thing could happen with the Greens and the NDP.

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    3. Oh those Greens. Don't assume they are NDP'ers. The Greens I personally know are rich, educated, or independently accomplished and hate those socialists. They are simply Cons that are Green. If the Cons were smart they would recognize the bleed within their rank and stop being so anti-environment. Not that I want to see the right-wing ranks grow by any means.

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  6. It is inevitable that the BC Liberals face the electorate. They should save time and money by calling an election immediately.

    Not sitting in the legislature for nine months and waiting for Liberal fortunes to get better is insulting to the people of that province.

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    1. There are fixed election dates in BC. Clark figured she could get away with breaking that rule when the NDP and BC Liberals had just picked their new leaders but was talked out of it by the party. This close to the election date she won't change the law to call an early election.

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  7. LOL, sorry for this comment being placed here, but you didn't report on the Nanos federal poll yet and I'm annoyed, lol. I am not annoyed at you of course. I am very very very annoyed at Nanos. Where in the bleep is this guy getting his numbers these days? Like seriously? I mean Harper's leadership index at 93!? Really? Come off it already... everybody I talk to across this country has something negative to say about the guy. Also, the Liberals being at 25%... come off it! Please Eric, bring clarification of Nanos far out there numbers.

    On the BC side, I don't think Clark is helping herself, the Liberals, or BC by not having a fall seating of the BC legislature.

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    1. I agree. I would be legislating aggressively and a whole whack of small but popular initiatives. The NDP just put out their proposal to help craft distilleries in BC sell their product - the Liberals could easily scoop that and make it law before the election.

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  8. These last two polls have the NDP around 45% roughly the same level Carole James obtained during the last election. Whereas Liberal support has halved. It demonstrates how polarised the electorate is with the NDP unable to pick up former Liberal supporters.

    The Liberals only glimmer of hope is to scare their wayward supporters (now mostly with the Tories) to re-join in order to stop the Socialist horde now at the gate!

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    1. Good point Derek, and that's exactly what they'll do. Get ready for some Red Scare tactics typical of BC conservative type parties in political hot water.

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  9. Does anyone have a link to the full break down of the latest Harris Decima poll? It had some interesting numbers, but I haven't been able to find the full thing.

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