Robbins SCE Research
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BC Teachers and GAS
  Aug 24, 2005

Methodology- A digit dialing survey of 2,140 telephone addresses in British Columbia between August 17 and August 25, 2005. Of these, 1,450 respondents agreed to take the 2 to 2.5 minute survey. Of these, 1,450 potential respondents, 73% or 1,058 were eligible to vote in British Columbia elections and or met other ROBBINS criteria including age, and the ability to speak English. Of these approx 19% declined to take the survey resulting in a final survey of 860 British Columbians or 59.4% of potential respondents and 40% of all telephone addresses called. 61% of respondents in this poll were contacted between 9:30 am and 6:00 pm; all others were contacted after 6:00 pm. 54% of respondents are women while the remainder are men. Callers managed between 09-13 respondents per hour. Glen P. Robbins called back 25 random respondents personally to confirm they took the survey. Respondents were contacted in Northern BC, Okanagan, Kootenays, Interior, Fraser Valley, Vancouver suburbs (not Port Moody or Coquitlam), Vancouver City proper, Richmond, North Vancouver, Chemainus, Nanaimo, Qualicum, Port Alberni, Saanich, and Victoria B.C. This survey features a margin of error of 3.25% 19 times out of 20, @98% level of competency

Question #1
Are the current gases prices making it difficult to meet your monthly budget?
Yes    74 %
No    26 %
Question #2
In your opinion are the Gordon Campbell BC Liberals off to a good start in their second term in Office?
Yes    41 %
No    46 %
Undecided    13 %
Question #3
In your opinion over the next six months will current gas prices go up or down?
Up    31 %
Down    24 %
Stay the Same    35 %
Question #4
In your opinion over the next year will real estate prices in BC go up, down, or remain the same
Up    23 %
Down    14 %
Stay the Same    62 %
Question #5
In your opinion over the next year, will interest rates go up, down, or remain the same?
Up    51 %
Down    10 %
Stay the Same    39 %
Question #6
In your opinion over the next year will BCís economy improve, decline, or stay about the same?
Improve    47 %
Decline    04 %
Stay About the Same    49 %
Question #7
In your opinion over the next year is your personal economic situation likely to improve, decline, or stay the same?
Improve    32 %
Decline    21 %
Stay About the Same    47 %
Question #8
Do you expect to purchase either real estate, a new car, or appliances like a fridge, washer, stove, television etc. in the next three months?
Yes    15 %
No    71 %
Unsure    16 %
Question #9
With respect to a potential teacherís strike at the beginning of this coming school year, which of the following actions, if you had to choose only one, should the Gordon Campbell BC Liberal government take in order to solve this potential crisis?
Offer the teachers a total of a 9% increase covering the next 3 years    22 %
Offer the teachers a total of a 6% increase covering the next 3 years    27 %
Offer the teachers no wage increase and hire more regular and special needs professionals where necessary    34 %
None of the Above    17 %
Question #10
In your opinion is legislating teachers back to work again an option that the Campbell government should keep on the table?
Yes    53 %
No    34 %
Undecided    13 %
Commentary
Despite the fact that 3 out of four British Columbians in this poll are having difficulty with their monthly budgets because of high gas prices, they are still confident in BCís economy. Some of these respondents are less confident in their own economic future however. A minority of respondents who are having trouble meeting monthly budgets still intend to or are thinking about making a significant capital purchase in the next 3 months. If the federal government comes through with money for the forestry and for cities, and (imagine) a softwood lumber deal is struck with the U.S., BCís economy will improve significantly. Do consumers necessarily see a correlation between a strong economy and their own personal financial situation? This poll suggests that often they do, but sometimes they do not.
Politically, the Campbell Liberals are off to a reasonable start in their second term despite a truckerís strike, a crippling container strike, no realistic end in sight for softwood lumber, and a potential teacherís strike. Respondents in this poll are giving much more credit to the BC Liberal government for present and future economic prospects than they are to the federal Liberal government, who many respondents feel arenít doing enough about the high cost of gas, despite federal Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodaleís position that there is little they can do! (With Chinese President Hu and U.S. Vice-President Cheney coming soon to visit the west Prime Minister Martin may want to come to BC with some dollars (walk) and less accounts receivables (talk).
A majority of respondents are of the opinion that teachers are paid reasonably well (and should receive a modest raise) in a new contract, however the BCTF needs to understand that the most recent summer vacation including high gas (holiday cost) prices does not ingratiate teachers to British Columbians when it comes to demands for pay raises and the potential threat of job action, when some British Columbians particularly those with children in school will find it necessary to implement budget cuts (with scarcer resources) in their own homes.
The BC Teachers Federation has done a good job of getting the point across to parents and other British Columbians that if Ďspecial needsí children do not receive special attention then the entire classroom is detrimentally affected. ROBBINS would add that the number of ESL, learning disabled students, and students who do not respond to cookie cutter curriculum models (particularly in oversized classrooms) makes this issue extremely complex. Conventional teaching curriculums are always Ďtightí for teaching time and children that cannot keep up because of distractions or oversized classes can be left behind for a long time. A contract including a modest raise for teachers (most of whom only want a modest raise), and a realistic provision for hiring more teachers, and particularly special needs professionals, should satisfy all reasonable stakeholders including BC parents and children.

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