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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics January 5, 2005
  Jan 05, 2005

This is a random telephone digit dialing survey involving 500 ‘principle residents’ of Vancouver Langara, a constituency in the province of British Columbia between January 7-14, 2005. This survey has been compared to other surveys of ‘similar’baseline respondents in the riding which would provide for an effective ‘call-out’ of 1,500 (approximate) ‘provincial voters’ in the provincial constituency of Vancouver Langara. Accordingly, ROBBINS declares this survey to have a margin of error of 2.25%, 18 times out of 20 @ 96% competency.

Question #1
For which political party did you vote in the May 2001 Provincial Election?
BC Liberals    57 %
New Democrats    24 %
Green    11 %
Other    08 %
Question #2
-Which of the following statements BEST describes the type of candidate you would choose to replace outgoing Vancouver Langara MLA Val Anderson?
I prefer a candidate who lives in the riding they intend to serve    48 %
I will accept a candidate who lives in the area even if they don’t live in the riding of Vancouver Langara    32 %
It doesn’t really matter to me where the candidate lives; I prefer the one who will best represent my riding of Vancouver Langara-    17 %
Unsure    03 %
Question #3
Which of the following choices including two political personalities, would you say BEST describes who you would like to represent you in Victoria after the May 2005 provincial general election?
Former Vancouver City Councillor, Vancouver School Board Trustee and local Vancouver Langara BC Liberal candidate Sandy McCormick    34 %
Former Vancouver City Councillor, recent Vancouver Mayoralty candidate and regional Vancouver Langara BC Liberal candidate Jennifer Clarke    19 %
Neither of these    40 %
Undecided    05 %
Question #4
If a provincial election were held tomorrow for which political party would you cast your vote?
BC Liberals    46 %
New Democrats    39 %
Green Party    09 %
Question #5
In your opinion did former BC Liberals Finance Minister Gary Collins do a good job of managing BC’s entire economy?
Yes    46 %
No    39 %
Undecided    14 %
Commentary
The BC provincial riding of Vancouver Langara has been held by BC Liberal MLA Val Anderson, since 1991. Mr. Anderson is leaving B.C. politics, and two female candidates Sandy McCormick and Jennifer Clarke, both experienced Vancouver politicians, are desirous of replacing him as they seek the BC Liberal nomination in Vancouver Langara.
BC Liberal candidate for nomination in Vancouver Langara, Jennifer Clarke was the top vote getter amongst all candidates in the 1996 Vancouver civic election for councillor, receiving 46,700 votes. In the 1999 race for city councillor Ms. Clarke was again at the top of her class receiving a smaller vote of 42,815, an 8.5% decline from her 1996 outing.
In 2002 Ms. Clarke stepped up in class and sought the Mayor’s job but showed poorly receiving only 41,933 or 34% of the total votes between her and current Vancouver City Mayor Larry Campbell.
In contrast, BC Liberals candidate for nomination Sandy McCormick topped the polls for School Board in 1993 and was reelected in 1996 with an increased number of votes. In the 1999 race for Vancouver City Council Ms. McCormick received 35,252 votes and won a seat alongside her current competitor Ms. Clarke.
Respondents in Vancouver Langara were clear in their choices. There was no ambiguity whatsoever. Where they were not certain they were deemed to be undecided.
Ms. Clarke was once a rising star in Vancouver politics. The top of her field in two Vancouver elections for city council, her attempt to make the leap to the Mayor’s chair failed badly not only for her but for her NPA colleagues as well. This survey confirms a potentially continuing downward trend in her political career.
This survey also reveals that Ms. McCormick is better suited to retain the seat in Vancouver Langara for the BC Liberals as she is seen as a much more positive choice in the riding than Ms. Clarke is. Ms. Clarke’s negative impression is due in large measure to her “Lady Macbeth” reputation earned during her failed attempt to win the Mayor’s seat in the 2002 Vancouver civic election, where she was universally blamed for knocking out sitting Mayor Phillip Owen, and almost destroying the civic NPA Party.
In this contest for the BC Liberal nomination in Vancouver Langara, there have been reports in the Vancouver Courier, Vancouver Sun and Province relating to Ms. McCormick’s’ concern that Ms. Clarke was ‘parachuting’ into her riding from another area of Vancouver where she resides, to seek the nomination in Vancouver Langara where Ms. McCormick has lived most of her life.
Ms. McCormick expressed ‘dismay’ in local media at what she perceived to be political opportunism on Ms. Clarke’s part over this issue, particularly since according to Ms. McCormick; Ms. Clarke had not spoken to her about her intentions in this regard (a basic protocol), a criticism well earned given that both of these women served together on Vancouver’s city council.
Respondents believe that Ms. McCormick’s experience as a School Board Trustee in Vancouver provides her with a more complete resume particularly where it concerns British Columbians fervent interest in Health, Education and the Economy (“the entire economy”). This is particularly noteworthy when we realize that although many respondents in this survey are of the opinion that former Finance Minister Gary Collins did “a good job of managing British Columbia’s entire economy,” there are still 14% who have not made up their mind.
Ms. McCormick’s experience as a School Trustee can speak to this element of the economic equation as part of the total discussions relating to other more conventional elements of the economy such as employment etc. The fact that the current Education Minister does not reside in the lower mainland should be seriously considered insofar as strategies toward the May provincial election are concerned, particularly as this relates to the provincial riding of Vancouver Langara.
Ms. Clarke has significant experience in city politics and is well known in political circles for her financial clout. Whether or not this can translate into election success in Vancouver Langara where the previous middle of the road incumbent has been well liked without hyperbole is very doubtful.
Ms McCormick’s political history on the other hand can be seen as competent and effective and she should secure this seat for the BC Liberals. Ms. Clarke’s rising star fell quite conspicuously and her encroaching on Ms. McCormick’s territory is not seen as attractive to voters, who are content with the type of leadership they have experienced to date from former unassuming United Church Minister Val Anderson.
A negative nomination battle will hurt the BC Liberals in this riding, and could provide the NDP with an opportunity to steal this seat from the BC Liberal totals which according to ROBBINS are perilously close to the minimum needed for re-election. Quite clearly, the combined New Democrat and Green support in this survey is less than the combined McCormick-Clark support. However, the stand alone BC Liberal support is higher than the NDP-Green support but within the margin of error of the poll. A heated nomination meeting would accentuate recent fissures in the BC Liberals alliance, and very likely reduce the collective and possibly individual support which both Ms. Clarke and McCormick currently attract.
The riding of Vancouver Langara is one that the BC Liberals ought to win. If they misplace their focus on this election priority because of overzealous ideological transformation or financial advantage, it is a riding that they could lose. Ms. Clarke would be best to step aside and permit Ms. McCormick, to seek this nomination without challenge.

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