Monday, March 25, 2013

Large gap widens further in B.C.

The probability that the B.C. Liberals will be able to overcome the now 19.5-point gap that separates them from the B.C. New Democrats by May 14 has fallen to less than 1 in 50. Even a seasoned pollster like Mario Canseco of Angus-Reid, with memories of Alberta still lingering, says a comeback at this point "would be impossible." He is almost certainly right.

Crazier things have happened, of course. But barring some unforeseen and catastrophic event that cripples the New Democrats in the next seven weeks, there is little hope for the B.C. Liberals in the upcoming election. At least in terms of winning it outright.

That doesn't mean that the party should give-up - as that article by the Globe and Mail's Ian Bailey points out, there will be life after the May 14 election for the Liberals who manage to get re-elected or elected for the first time. For one thing, there might be a party to rebuild.

Despite their chances of re-election dropping to a new low in ThreeHundredEight's forecast, the B.C. Liberals still command the support of almost one-in-three British Columbians. They have dropped 1.6 points in the projection from where they stood as of the polls running to Mar. 12, and now stand at 30.4% (or between 28.2% and 32.6%). The New Democrats slipped only slightly, by 0.5 points to 49.9% (or 47.5% to 52.3%).

That widened the margin by 1.1 points, costing the Liberals a single seat in the projection. They are now projected to win 20 to 64 for the New Democrats (and one independent). But the projection ranges have moved more significantly: from 48 to 75 seats the New Democrats are now projected to win between 53 and 75. The Liberals have dropped from a projected high of 37 seats to only 30, putting them in range of winning between eight and 30 seats.

The B.C. Conservatives picked up 0.8 points to reach 10.4% support, while the Greens are up 1.2 points to 7.5%, thanks in large part to a much stronger result in Angus-Reid's latest poll for the party on Vancouver Island.

That is where the biggest change in support occurred, with the Liberals falling 4.4 points to 25.1%. The Greens picked up the slack, gaining 3.4 points to reach 11.4%. The NDP is unchanged at 55.4%, and are poised to sweep the island.

In metropolitan Vancouver, the New Democrats decreased by a minuscule 0.1 point to 51.3%, but due to the 0.9-point drop for the Liberals picked up a seat in the region. The Conservatives are up 0.9 points to 9.4% support.

In the Interior and North, the New Democrats and Liberals both dropped by 0.9 and 1.6 points, respectively, to 42.9% and 32%. There was no change in seats, but the projected high for the Liberals fell from 19 to 15 seats in the region. The Conservatives gained 1.6 points to reach 15.3% in their best part of the province.

I wrote about this new Angus-Reid poll for The Huffington Post Canada here, so I won't go into too much detail about it. All of the changes in support from Angus-Reid's Feb. 21-22 poll do not seem statistically significant, but the Liberals certainly can't afford to be slipping (by three points, in this case) at this stage of the race.

Notably large changes, however, include a drop of five points for Christy Clark on the question of who would make the best premier (Adrian Dix scored 31% to Clark's 16%), and the seven-point increase in Clark's disapproval rating, to 65%. Her net score is now -38, compared to +8 for Dix. And 58% of respondents said their opinion of Clark had worsened over the preceding three months. Only 5% said their opinion had improved, compared to 20% who said the same about Dix.

In short, there is no good news for the B.C. Liberals in this poll. They trail among men and women and among the oldest British Columbians, along with younger voters. Clark is bested by Dix on every issue that was asked in the poll, including on the economy and health care, the two most important issues in B.C. Her approval rating is getting worse while Dix's is getting better. There is no silver lining here. When the Ontario Liberals made a (much more modest) comeback against the PCs in 2011, they did so on better personal numbers for Dalton McGuinty than Tim Hudak's. That was the advantage that they had going into the election - and leadership is an absolutely vital one. Here, the NDP has the edge on that question. If the Liberals have a way-out in mind, what is it?

28 comments:

  1. I just don't see a comeback here. Alberta saw a last minute swing, but that was away from a party that was untested in government and was rabidly ideological, neither of which describes the modern BCNDP. There would have to be some kind of monumental scandal at this stage to keep the NDP from winning.

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    1. The BCNDP is rabidly ideological! Look how they built the Millennium Line only through NDP ridings! This of course does not stop them playing both sides of the fence which is how they are adamantly opposed to Northern Gateway yet also opposed the carbon tax. The BCNDP are ideologues they're just not consistent.

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    2. Wow. I've never seen someone so completely confuse pragmatic and ideological. Being rabidly ideological is about holding one set of ideological views, and not varying their application even if circumstances change.

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    3. So it was pragmatic to disregard common sense to have the Millennium line only pass through NDP constituencies? I have a different word; favouritism.

      It was pragmatic to oppose the carbon tax? Yes, but, only if your goal is to increase pollution in BC.

      It is pragmatic to be in opposition to Northern Gateway when the Province needs jobs-especially the Interior and North? Yes. If you want British Columbians to see their standard of living decline.

      As I said the BCNDP are ideologues they're just not consistent.

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    4. It can be both pragmatic and bad at the same time. :/

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    5. You still don't seem to understand. "Pragmatic" is not a term of praise, it simply refers to decisions being made for practical reasons (like buying votes, say), rather than for reasons of principle. If the NDP were rabidly ideological, then all their decisions would be based on principle alone, regardless of practicality or popularity, etc. That is, even when it hurts their support. An example that comes to mind is when the federal NDP voted (alone) against the War Measure Act in 1970. Their vote was based on principle (i.e. ideology) and it was very unpopular. (I happen to think it was moral and correct, but that's for another forum...). Note that just because a decision has been made for pragmatic reasons doesn't mean it's correct - or that because a policy is incorrect, doesn't mean it wasn't made for pragmatic reasons. And pragmatic decision-making is not exclusive of ideological decision-making. So, your carbon tax example is, in my view, both pragmatic and ideological (regardless of whether or not I think it's a good policy).

      Final point. I think the word "ideological" is commonly misused and should be reserved to describe actions or statements that are propagandistic, rather than philosophical-political. In that sense, "ideological" refers to statements not based on truth, but on distortion.

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    6. I think the word Perth L is looking for is "partisan". Partisanship and ideological purity are both qualities that, in the extreme, are undesirable, but they are very different, and often at odds. (Case in point: the current struggle for the U.S. Republican Party between the extreme ideologues, e.g. Tea Party, and the extreme partisans, e.g. Karl Rove. I find it hard to figure out which group I find more distasteful, but I don't have any difficulty telling them apart!)

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    7. That word was on the tip of my tongue too and I just couldn't find it! Thanks. It was driving me fricken nuts.

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    8. chimurenga,

      Your definition of ideology does not conform to standard thought or practice nor with the OED definition. MGK's definition is closer but fails to adequately describe what ideology means or contains. His example is not one of ideology; a tea partier may be a zealous partisan as well as an ideologue as is Karl Rove. I would argue that teapartiers are not ideologues since their platform is often individualistic. The "tea party" is not a coherent group. If they have an ideology, which in my opinion is debateable, it would be a libertarian as oppossed to a "tea party ideology".

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    9. I didn't mean to suggest that people were misusing "ideology" in a linguistic sense , but in a political sense. The colloquial usage is, of course, accepted. But a far more useful and pointed definition of "ideology" comes straight from political theory (from Marx and Engels to Gramsci) and, indeed, appears in the OED : "a systematic scheme of ideas, usu. relating to politics and society, or to the conduct of a class or group, and regarded as justifying actions, esp. one that is held implicitly or adopted as a whole and maintained regardless of the course of events"... In much of political theory, "ideology" more specifically refers to "shared ideas or beliefs which serve to justify the interests of dominant groups" (Giddens) and are accepted throughout society as "common sense" (Gramsci). So I have to disagree that "my definition" "does not conform to standard thought or practice nor with the OED definition". Following from this definition, the Tea Partiers are ideological, since they share ideas that support the ruling American elites.

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  2. Now if we could just get this kind of result for the whole country !!

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    1. Too true.
      Let's hope that Dix does a good job and manages to score some BC seats for the federal NDP in 2015

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    2. History shows the opposite is more likely. NDP provincial governments have not been a good thing for the federal NDP at all. It's pretty telling that the NDP's strength federally is in the one part of the country where they don't have a provincial party.

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    3. The NDP - federally - has been growing steadily in support in BC since the May 2011 election. Had the election gone on another two weeks it's arguable they would have won a few more seats in BC. Since then, they've been first or a very close second in all federal polls in the province. In Sask and Man, the federal NDP has also made gains in the polls... Similarly in Atlantic Canada... Even Ontario... In fact, the one place the NDP has clearly softened somewhat is Quebec, where they do not have a provincial party. I don't think you can draw any general conclusion about this situation, though...

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    4. Yah, the stronger argument IMHO is the collapse in the 1990s. A good article for Eric to do perhaps!

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  3. Never give up! Never surrender!

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  4. "Even a seasoned pollster like Mario Canseco of Angus-Reid, with memories of Alberta still lingering, says a comeback at this point "would be impossible." He is almost certainly right."

    If Mario Canseco thinks a 20 point swing away from what the polls show is impossible, he doesn't remember Alberta at all.

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    1. I should write a "why this won't be another Alberta" post at some point.

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    2. I'd love to see that actually Eric. Even if it's likely to make me depressed lol. Never give up! Never surrender!

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    3. ಠ_ಠ give in to the inevitability

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  5. The NDP seems to be approaching this election quite cautiously. They've been careful not to announce much in the way of policy (when you're way ahead, why rock the boat?), and in a brief discussion I had with the NDP candidate in my riding, I would describe him as cautiously optimistic, but by no means overconfident (he's running in Vancouver-Point Grey - Éric's projection says he's likely to win by a huge margin).

    I have to say, after talking to him, I like the NDP more than I did last week. I still wouldn't vote for them, but I have serious issues with all of BC's provincial parties.

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    1. If you want more choice provincially, you should support STV Ira! :)

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  6. STV produced minority governments. Minority governments are higher-spending governments.

    I (along with many of BC residents) am inclined to flee the jurisdiction.

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    1. Actually, Ireland has never had a minority government. Ever. They've had coalition governments though. Even then, they've had single party majority governments about as often as Canada has.

      Greece had 18 straight years of majority governments. How is that working out for them now?

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    2. Anecdotes. In the aggregate, minority governments (including coalitions) are higher-spending governments.

      If it matters, measure it.

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    3. But measured against the Harper Govt they don't even count !

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    4. I'm pretty sure that Ireland's had minority governments: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_the_7th_D%C3%A1il

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  7. It seems inevitable that BC will go NDP.

    Now Eric how would that affect the national polls ??

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