The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) remains ahead of all political rivals in British Columbia and the governing BC Liberals have increased their standing, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.
The online survey of a representative provincial sample of 802 British Columbian adults also shows that BC NDP leader Adrian Dix has the highest approval rating of any party leader and remains the preferred person to serve as Premier, but incumbent Christy Clark has gained points on both of these indicators.
Across British Columbia, 46 per cent of decided voters and leaners (-1 since November) would support the BC NDP candidate in their riding if a provincial election were held tomorrow.
The governing BC Liberals are second with 31 per cent (+2), followed by the BC Green Party with 10 per cent (+1) and the BC Conservatives also with 10 per cent (-2).
The BC NDP remains popular in Vancouver Island (51%) and Metro Vancouver (46%). In the Interior, the New Democrats are now tied with the BC Liberals (39% each), while the BC Conservatives have dropped to a distant fourth (9%).
The governing party has maintained the upper hand among respondents in the highest income demographic (51%, to 34% for the BC NDP), but trails the New Democrats in all three age groups. The BC NDP holds a 12-point lead over the BC Liberals among male voters (46% to 34%) and a 17-point advantage among female voters (45% to 28%).
The retention rate for the BC NDP this month is 86 per cent. The BC Liberals are currently keeping 65 per cent of the voters who backed the party in the 2009 provincial election—an improvement from their numbers in November. Still, the governing party continues to lose former supporters to both the NDP (16%) and the BC Conservatives (12%).
Approval, Momentum, Best Premier and Issues
Official Opposition and BC NDP leader Adrian Dix keeps the highest approval rating in the province at 46 per cent, followed by Premier and BC Liberals leader Christy Clark (31%), Green Party leader Jane Sterk (23%) and BC Conservative Party leader John Cummins (13%). On the Best Premier question, Dix remains in first place (29%), followed by Clark (19%, +3).
Dix remains the only party leader with a positive momentum score (+7 again this month), while Sterk (-3), Cummins (-26) and Clark (-32) posted a negative rating. Across the province, 41 per cent of respondents say their opinion of the Premier has worsened in the past three months. In October, this indicator stood at 51 per cent.
British Columbians continue to regard the economy as the most important issue facing British Columbia (28%), followed by health care (17%), leadership (12%) and the environment (10%). Dix keeps the lead when respondents are asked about the best person to handle health care (36%), education (34%) and crime (22%). The BC NDP leader is slightly ahead of the incumbent Premier on the economy (23% to 21%) and federal/provincial relations (23% to 21%).
Since May 2012, the NDP has consistently remained ahead of the 45 per cent mark on the voting intention question, a feat facilitated by an impressive retention rate. Most voters who supported the Carole James-led BC NDP in 2009 are still backing the party four years later. Adrian Dix is still leading in the Best Premier question, and is the top choice for voters on issues.
The BC Liberals have gained points on voting intention, reaching the 30 per cent mark for the first time since November 2011. Christy Clark has gained on the Best Premier question, but her party continues to lose some of its 2009 voters to both the BC NDP and the BC Conservatives.
The BC Conservatives have dropped once more, and had a particularly tough month in the Southern Interior, where their prospects seemed decidedly more positive a few months ago. Half of British Columbians disapprove of the way John Cummins is handling his duties as leader, and he is not a factor in the Best Premier or issue questions.
The Greens have reached double-digits, aided by a good showing in Vancouver Island, where they have reached 17 per cent. At this point, the party is managing to connect well with women voters and respondents aged 18-to-34.
Mario Canseco, Vice President, Angus Reid Public Opinion
+877 730 3570
Methodology: From January 17 to January 18, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 802 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.