BC NDP Keeps Upper Hand as British Columbia Ballot Nears

The opposition BC New Democratic Party (NDP) remains ahead of the governing BC Liberals as most voters in British Columbia are about to cast their ballots in the provincial election, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted in partnership with CTV and the Globe and Mail has found.

The online survey of a representative provincial sample of 803 British Columbian adults was conducted using the “Real Ballot” technique, which allows voters to select their preference using an electronic ballot that mirrors the one they will actually cast on election day. This approach eliminates the possibility of voters supporting parties that did not register a candidate in their constituency, and enables respondents to be aware of all of the contenders who stand to represent them in the Legislative Assembly.

Voting Intention

Across British Columbia, 45 per cent of decided voters and leaners (unchanged since Friday) would cast a ballot for the BC NDP candidate in their riding in the provincial election. The governing BC Liberals are in second place with 36 per cent (=), followed by the BC Green Party with nine per cent (=) and the BC Conservatives with seven per cent (+1). Three per cent of respondents would vote for other parties, independent or unaffiliated candidates in their riding.

The BC NDP holds a seven-point lead over the BC Liberals in Metro Vancouver (45% to 38%) and an 18-point advantage in Vancouver Island (46% to 28%). The two main contending parties are virtually tied in the Southern Interior (BC Liberals 39%, BC NDP 37%).
Among male voters, the race remains tight, with the NDP ahead by just three points (42% to 39%). Women continue to prefer the NDP (47%) with the BC Liberals a distance second (32%).

The New Democrats are ahead with voters aged 18-to-34 (54% to 22%), and hold a four-point lead among middle-aged respondents (41% to 37%). The race is essentially tied with those over the age of 55 (BC NDP 42%, BC Liberals 41%). Half of respondents in the highest household income demographic (50%) would support the BC Liberals, compared to 34 per cent for the BC NDP.

The BC Liberals head to the election with a retention rate of 67 per cent, with 16 per cent of their voters in the last provincial election going to the BC NDP in 2013, and 10 per cent choosing the BC Conservatives. In contrast, the New Democrats have managed to hold on to more than four-in-five voters (83%) who supported the party in 2009.

Approval, Momentum, Best Premier and Issues

Official Opposition and NDP leader Adrian Dix maintained his approval rating of 42 per cent, but Green Party leader Jane Sterk improved by three points and is now tied with Dix (42%). Premier and BC Liberals leader Christy Clark gained a point (34%) and BC Conservative leader John Cummins dropped one (20%).

Sterk continues to post a positive momentum score (+14), while Dix (-13), Cummins (-19) and Clark (-31) remain in negative territory. Almost half of respondents (46%) say their opinion of Clark has worsened, while one third (34%) per cent feel the same way about Dix.

Dix holds a three-point lead over Clark on the Best Premier question (28% to 25%), with Sterk with seven per cent and Cummins with five per cent.

The economy (31%) remains the most important issue facing British Columbia, followed by health care (17%), leadership (13%), the environment (9%), poverty (7%) and education (5%).

Clark remains the most trusted of the four political leaders to handle the economy (30%, with Dix at 26%) and federal/provincial relations (Clark 27%, Dix 23%). The two main party leaders are practically tied on crime (Dix 23%, Clark 21%). Dix maintains sizeable advantages over the incumbent premier on health care (36% to 21%) and education (38% to 22%), while Sterk has extended her lead on the environment (39%).

Across the province, 58 per cent of respondents (+1) believe it is time for a change in British Columbia and for a different provincial party to be elected into power, while 28 per cent (-2) would prefer to re-elect the BC Liberals.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From May 12 to May 13, 2013, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 803 randomly selected British Columbia adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20. 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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