Conservatives Drop, New Democrats Improve in British Columbia

Practically half of decided voters in British Columbia would support the New Democratic Party (NDP) in a provincial election, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of a representative provincial sample of 800 British Columbian adults also shows that, while BC NDP leader Adrian Dix maintains a commanding lead in the Best Premier question, almost half of respondents cannot choose any of the four main party leaders for the top job in Victoria.

Voting Intention

Across British Columbia, 49 per cent of decided voters and leaners (+3 since September) would support the NDP candidate in their riding if a provincial election were held tomorrow.

The governing BC Liberals are second with 26 per cent (+1), followed by the BC Conservatives with 16 per cent (-3) and the BC Greens with seven per cent (-1).

The NDP is the top choice for voters in all four major regions of the province, and remains strong in Vancouver Island (57%) and Metro Vancouver (47%). In the Interior, the NDP has climbed to 43 per cent, followed by the BC Liberals with 26 per cent and the BC Conservatives with 22 per cent.

The NDP has increased its lead over the BC Liberals among male voters (46% to 31%). The BC Liberals also trail the NDP among women (52% to 21%). The New Democrats are ahead in all three age demographics, but are now behind the BC Liberals among voters living in households with an annual income of more than $100,000 (39% to 32%).

The NDP keeps an impressive retention rate of 91 per cent. The BC Liberals are keeping 55 per cent of the voters who supported the party in the 2009 provincial election. This month, the BC Liberals are losing one-in-five of their former voters (21%) to the BC Conservatives, and a similar proportion (20%) to the NDP.

Approval, Momentum, Best Premier and Issues

Official Opposition and NDP leader Adrian Dix posts the highest approval rating this month at 46 per cent. Just over a quarter of respondents (26%) provide a positive assessment of the way Premier and BC Liberals leader Christy Clark is handling her duties. Green Party leader Jane Sterk is stable at 22 per cent, and BC Conservative leader John Cummins dropped six points (16%).

On the Best Premier question, Dix is still ahead of Clark (30% to 14%), with Cummins dropping to six per cent. Still, a large component of the electorate remains skeptical. Almost half of British Columbians (48%, +5) could not select any of the four party leaders for the job, or remain uncommitted.

Once again, Dix is the only party leader capable of posting a positive momentum score (+5), while Sterk (-5), Cummins (-28) and Clark (-44) all have a negative rating. Half of respondents (51%) say their opinion of the Premier has worsened in the past three months.

The economy remains the top issue facing British Columbia (24%), followed by health care (19%), leadership (13%), tax relief (7%) and the environment (also 7%). NDP leader Dix remains the best person to handle health care (36%), education (35%), the environment (26%), the economy (26%), federal/provincial relations (24%) and crime (23%).

Analysis

The internal turmoil of the past few weeks has evidently affected the BC Conservatives, who post their lowest voting intention numbers in a year. The approval rating for John Cummins has also taken a hit, with more than half of respondents (56%) saying they disapprove of his performance as party leader, an 11-point fluctuation since September.

Still, this sudden drop has not greatly benefitted the BC Liberals, who are up just one point since September. The governing party is now bleeding traditional support to both the NDP and the Conservatives. Still, the BC Liberals have regained the lead among respondents in the highest household income demographic, but are trailing the NDP badly among women and younger voters.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From October 9 to October 10, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 800 randomly selected British Columbia adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.5%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.


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