The New Democratic Party (NDP) maintains a sizeable lead in British Columbia, and the governing BC Liberals have increased their standing among voters for the first time since January, 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 two-in-five respondents are not ready to endorse one of the four major party leaders as the best person to head the government in Victoria.

Voting Intention

Across British Columbia, 46 per cent of decided voters and leaners (-3 since August) would support the NDP candidate in their riding if a provincial election were held tomorrow.

The governing BC Liberals are second with 25 per cent (+3), followed by the BC Conservatives with 19 per cent (=) and the BC Greens with eight per cent (-1).

The NDP is the top choice for voters in all four major regions of the province, with a particularly high showing in Vancouver Island (53%) and Metro Vancouver (49%). The situation in the Interior remains tight, with 34 per cent of decided voters and leaners supporting the NDP, followed by the BC Liberals (28%) and the BC Conservatives (25%).

The NDP’s advantage over the BC Liberals among male voters remains in double-digits (42% for 30%). The BC Liberals increased their standing with women, gaining five points in a month (from 16% to 21%). Still, half of decided female voters (51%) would support the NDP. The New Democrats are leading in all three age demographics, and are practically even with the BC Liberals among voters living in households with an annual income of more than $100,000.

This month, the retention rate for the NDP stands at 88 per cent. The BC Liberals are holding on to 56 per cent of the voters who supported the party in the 2009 provincial election, a seven-point improvement in a month. The governing party is still losing a considerable proportion of former voters (29%) to the BC Conservatives.

Approval, Momentum, Best Premier and Issues

Official Opposition and NDP leader Adrian Dix maintains the best approval rating of all leaders at 45 per cent. Premier and BC Liberals leader Christy Clark gets a satisfactory rating from three-in-ten respondents (28%). Green Party leader Jane Sterk and BC Conservative leader John Cummins each dropped to 22 per cent.

Once again, Dix is the only party leader capable of posting a positive momentum score (+1), while Sterk (-3), Cummins (-12) and Clark (-42) all have a negative rating. Clark remains a contentious figure among British Columbians, with half (49%) saying their opinion of her has worsened in the past three months.

The main movement observed in the Best Premier question is an increase in the proportion of disengaged respondents. Two-in-five British Columbians (43%) could not choose any of the four party leaders for the job, or remain undecided. Adrian Dix is still ahead of Christy Clark, but they both saw their numbers drop since August (Dix from 32% to 28%, and Clark from 17% to 15%).

The economy remains the top issue facing British Columbia (27%), followed by health care (16%), leadership (14%), tax relief (7%) and the environment (7%). Dix is regarded as the best person to handle health care (34%), education (31%), the environment (24%), the economy (23%), federal/provincial relations (23%) and crime (21%).

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

CONTACT:

Mario Canseco, Vice President, Angus Reid Public Opinion
+877 730 3570
mario.canseco@angus-reid.com

Methodology: From September 10 to September 11, 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.