New Democrats Gain, Liberals Get No Traction in British Columbia

The recent discussion about the future of the Northern Gateway pipeline had no immediate effect on British Columbia’s political scene, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of a representative provincial sample of 804 British Columbian adults also shows that Adrian Dix has increased his standing as the preferred head of government for the province’s residents.

Voting Intention

Across British Columbia, 49 per cent of decided voters and leaners (+4 since early July) would support the NDP candidate in their constituency in the next provincial election.

The BC Liberals are second with 22 per cent (-1), followed by the BC Conservatives with 19 per cent (-3) and the BC Greens with nine per cent (+1).

The NDP continues to lead in all four regions of the province, garnering the backing of at least half of decided voters in Metro Vancouver (50%) and Vancouver Island (55%). In the Interior, 35 per cent of decided voters would cast a ballot for the NDP, with the BC Conservatives (27%) and BC Liberals (25%) in a close fight for second place.

The NDP is the top choice for decided male voters (45%, compared to 29% for the BC Liberals and 17% for the BC Conservatives). More than half of decided female voters (53%) would vote for the NDP, with the BC Conservatives (21%) and the BC Liberals (15%) far behind. The NDP also leads in all three age demographics, and is virtually tied with the BC Liberals among respondents who live in households with an annual income of more than $100,000.

The retention rate for the NDP remains impressive, with the opposition party holding on to 90 per cent of its voters from the last provincial election. The BC Liberals, in stark contrast, are only attracting 49 per cent of their 2009 voters, losing 30 per cent to the BC Conservatives and 17 per cent to the NDP.

Approval, Momentum, Best Premier and Issues

There was little change on the approval ratings results, with Official Opposition and NDP leader Adrian Dix still at 48 per cent, and three-in-ten respondents (29%) approving of the performance of Premier and BC Liberals leader Christy Clark. Green Party leader Jane Sterk checks in at 25 per cent, while BC Conservative leader John Cummins dropped to 24 per cent.

Dix’s positive momentum score improved to +6, while Sterk (-4), Cummins (-9) and Clark (-36) all had a negative rating. Despite her negative momentum, the proportion of respondents who say their opinion of Clark has worsened dropped from 55 per cent in July to 47 per cent in August.

On the Best Premier question, Dix has increased his lead, with a third of respondents (32%) saying he would be the most suitable person to serve as the provincial head of government. Clark is second with 17 per cent, followed by Cummins with 10 per cent, and Sterk with two per cent.

The economy remains the top issue facing British Columbia (25%), followed by health care (19%), leadership (12%), and the environment (10%). Dix is seen as the best person to handle health care (37%), education (34%), the economy (25%), federal/provincial relations (23%) and crime (22%). The NDP leader is virtually tied with Sterk on handling the environment (25% to 24%).

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From July 30 to August 1, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 804 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.