Monday, February 25, 2013

B.C. NDP gains outside of Vancouver

A new poll this morning by Angus-Reid and reported by The Globe and Mail shows the B.C. New Democrats maintaining a wide double-digit lead over the B.C. Liberals. They are still poised to easily win the May 14 election, with the probability of the New Democrats winning the popular vote remaining unchanged at 95.5%.

The projection as of Feb. 22 pegs the New Democrats at 47.6% support, an increase of 1.8 points since Feb. 10. The Liberals are also up, gaining 1.5 points to reach 31.2%. The B.C. Conservatives follow with 10.8% (-2.3) while the Greens were down one point to 8.6%.

The projected Liberal and NDP vote ranges do not overlap, with the New Democrats projected to take between 44.8% and 50.4% of the vote based on current polling. The Liberals take between 28.6% and 33.8%. The wider forecast for May 14 does make it possible for the Liberals to finish ahead of the NDP, but only barely.

In terms of seats, the New Democrats are now projected to win 62, down three seats from Feb. 10. The Liberals gained those seats and are now projected to win 22. The seat ranges have narrowed to the advantage of the NDP, however, with the New Democrats now projected to win between 50 and 73 seats (instead of between 47 and 75) and the Liberals between 10 and 33 seats (from between seven and 36). The polling data is still too thin for anything more precise.

The poll had the effect of pushing the New Democrats up on Vancouver Island and in the Interior/North, while pulling them down in metropolitan Vancouver. In and around that city, the Liberals were up 4.6 points and six seats, though still trail at length with 33.6% to the NDP's 47.4% and 14 seats to 25. The NDP was up four points in the Interior and North to 44.2% and gained three seats in the process. The Liberals fell 0.5 points to 31.4%, while the Conservatives were down 2.4 points to 14.9%. On Vancouver Island, the NDP was up 4.7 points to 52.7% and are projected to sweep the island. The Liberals were down 3.7 points to 25.2% while the Greens were up 4.9 points to 14.2%.

Projected vote since November
The chart to the left shows the problem for the B.C. Liberals. The polls have shown very little movement since November, four months ago. Fewer than 80 days remain before the next election, or less than three months. It will take something extraordinary to move the Liberals into a winning position. The Conservative vote has not moved much, but even if it was reduced by two-thirds - all of it going to the Liberals - the Liberals would still be almost ten points behind the New Democrats. If every last Conservative vote goes to Christy Clark, she will still be almost six points behind. She needs to whittle down the NDP vote significantly, but she has been unable to do that for the past 12-17 months. Is it realistic to consider that she might in the next two-and-a-half?
The Angus-Reid poll gives her little succor, after showing the Liberals on a modest but steady trend upwards. Since their last poll of Jan. 17-18, the Liberals have not budged from 31%, while the New Democrats were up one point to 47%.

The Greens were unchanged at 10%, while the Conservatives were down one to 9%.

Regionally, the NDP led in Vancouver with 44% to 35%, in the Interior with 45% to 29% (a drop of 10 points for the Liberals), and on Vancouver Island with 53% to 22%. Considering the sample size, the race in the north is statistically closer with 48% to 33% support for the NDP, but generally the NDP is well-placed throughout British Columbia.

The Green score of 19% on Vancouver Island is quite good, and the latest in a series of decent polls we've been seeing for the Greens on the island.

The problems for the B.C. Liberals are sprinkled throughout the other questions in this poll, if the 16-point margin isn't enough. Fully 59% feel it is time for a new government to take power, including 29% of British Columbians who voted Liberal in 2009. The NDP leads by 12 points among men and 20 points among women, and even has an 11-point edge among British Columbians aged 55 and older. That is the age group that turns out in the greatest numbers.

Clark's approval rating remains low at 31% while her disapproval has increased to 58%. And despite her recent throne speech and budget, heavily focused on portraying the Liberals as sound economic managers, Clark still trails Adrian Dix on who is best able to take care of the economy with 24% to Dix's 30%. The economy was named as the top issue by 28% of British Columbians, and on the second most important issue - health care at 20% - Dix bettered Clark by a 38% to 18% margin.

Those are some problematic numbers for Clark and the Liberals. The party trails the NDP and Clark trails Dix - it is difficult to pull off an upset when neither the party nor the leader is polling well. And the opinion of Clark is worsening: 45% of British Columbians said that their opinion of her has worsened over the last three months, while only 9% said it has improved.

The shine does appear to be coming off of Dix a little, though. His disapproval rating increased by seven points to 41% (his approval was down to 43%), much of that seeming to have come from those who said they were "not sure" of what they thought of him in January. And 28% of British Columbians said their opinion of Dix has worsened in the last three months, more than the proportion (21%) who said it improved. But his numbers are still miles ahead of Clark's.

The polls were supposed to tighten as the election approached, and they may still do so. But the last four months have hardly shown much change in how British Columbians feel about Clark's Liberals or Dix's NDP. The likelihood that minds will drastically change over the next few months seems low - unless something drastic happens.


  1. If Angus Reid is as accurate here as they were in Alberta, the NDP are somewhere between ahead by 36% and behind by 4%.

    1. Charles Harrison25 February, 2013 18:21

      Angus Reid, and all pollsters were very inaccurate in Alberta. Angus Reid has a good track record outside of provinces where all pollsters have been quite inaccurate.

    2. This isn`t Alberta.

    3. To be fair, Angus Reid has a pretty solid track record. They had the closest final projection among all pollsters in the 2009 BC election, the 2008 QC election (didn't poll in the 2012 QC election) and the last two federal elections. All of the pollsters were way off in the Alberta election, with the partial exception of Forum who was the only one to conduct a poll exclusively on the eve of the election which caught a glimpse of the extraordinary last-minute shift (though with Wildrose at 38% vs. PCs at 36%, they were still considerably off from the final result).


    4. To be honnest, you'd need the polls to be even more wrong than in Alberta in order for the NDP not to win the next election.

    5. Actually a narrow BC Liberal victory would require a little less error than the error from Alberta I believe.

      But yah, as a BC Liberal myself, it's obvious there's lots of work to be done.

  2. Hello Eric.

    Can you tell me how you added the BC Conservatives in ridings where they didn't run a candidate last time? I'm wondering cause I ahd to make quite a lot of assumptions in my own model in order to add them. And you and I agree in the general number of seats, but we project the Conservatives quite differently in some ridings.



    1. In ridings where there was no candidate in 2009, I give the Conservatives the same amount of support as the party is projected to have region-wide. That number then gets pushed up or down depending on where the other parties are projected to be in each riding.

  3. I see BC remains La-La Land !!

    1. Sorry to say this anon but your comment trivializes BCers attempt to deal with extremely serious issues caused a great deal by the current government, eroding health care, poor wages, exploding cost of living etc. The problem here is there is no third party alternative. You either vote the NDP or whatever party represents the far(ish) right, in this case the Liberals. If there was a middle ground I think that party - perhaps the Green - would do very well this time around. I apologize if I sound harsh here, but I'm growing more than a little tired of outsiders portraying BCers as dope-smoking, spaced-out welfare bums. We work as hard as anyone else in this country and take our issues just as seriously. And for the record, beer is my drug of choice.

    2. I'm ashamed to say as a British Columbian that I do not agree. What I hate most about Eastern biases towards BC is that they are often true. You will not find an office in downtown Toronto where lawyers and high finance people are wearing button-down t-shirts, but in Vancouver it's the norm.

      Service in most retail and restaurants is terrible, raising venture capital near impossible and attitudes towards business even worse. As an entrepreneur myself, whenever I have stressed what I feel are the needs of the private sector I often hear in response "go to Alberta" or as one New Democrat put it to me "do you want to turn this into Yankeeland?"

      Given how all polls show a return to the NDP (not that it matters with the BC Liberal budget) I think I just might go to Calgary. At least the 40 jobs I provide (which lefties remind me isn't much anyway, and that they don't need me here in BC) will be wanted and appreciated there.

      How I would kill for a WAC Bennett again who opens up the opportunities to business. When Chambers of Commerce were complaining to Bennett that Eastern banks weren't loaning to BC businesses, what did he do? Open his own bank. That's the kind of can-do we need here, which has sorely lacked since the end of the Bennett Days.

      That won't be happening anytime soon.

    3. I suspect you're over 70 years old if you can remember the WAV Bennett days

    4. Let's start with your first and last sentences. I can see if you idolize WAC Bennett you might be ashamed. However, you'd be in a minority, and thank goodness for that. Also thank goodness that won't be happening (again) anytime soon. As for the rest of your statement, in between those two sentences, I have quite a different experience. I find people here to be professional, eager, pleasent and more than willing to do business. I'm sorry you don't. Perhaps Alberta will be a better experience for you. As for me, I like BC just the way it is.

  4. I sometimes wonder if the conservative pro-business crowd ever thinks a big business has made enough money, is any amount of profit enough? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul.

    The earth has nearly been destroyed by the unending greed of capitalism. Climate change has ravaged our environment and weather, oil spills turned pristine wilderness into toxic dumping ground, all so some CEO can have another few billion. What does it mean? How much money can one person or business even possibly use?

    I'm sure glad the NDP is going to win in BC and bring some much needed changes to a province that has been heading in the wrong direction for 12 brutal years. Highest child poverty rate in Canada, enormously high user-fees, high unemployment and rock bottom wages coupled with a shockingly high cost of living. Free-market capitalism has failed in BC just like the US and everywhere else its been tried.

    Albertans like to drone on and on about entrepenurship and can-do attitudes. The reality is when the Oil runs out, they'll be singing a different song (as evidence by the huge debt Alberta is now racking up under Redford). Time for a new, cooperative way of doing things in BC.

    1. Well, since God doesn't exist the man profits in two ways.

      Firstly, he may acquire through wealth many material goods he may desire as well as services he may wish to use.

      Secondly, he acquires time. More specifically he does not waste his time in the belief that God or other deity will do what he desires for him.

      I think you may want to check your facts on Alberta. Redford faces a $4 billion deficit not debt. Alberta's debt of $23 billion is not particularly large on a GDP of approximately 180 billion.

      In any case in 4 years once the NDP has proven themselves incapable (once again) of turning the BC economy around you will be singing a different tune. Maybe you and Alberta can sing a duet!

      -Fudgeit Budgit

    2. Please don't put religion into this discussion.


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