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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics February 16, 2012
  Feb 16, 2012

A targeted survey of 832 voters from the May 2009 general provincial election from the Vancouver, Surrey, Okanagan and Kamloops regions of the province of British Columbia. This survey was conducted February 17-22, 2011. The Margin of Error is 3.4%, 19 times out of 20 @95% confidence.

Question #1
In British Columbia there are two main parties which dominate the BC Legislature, the BC Liberals and BC New Democrats. From these two main parties only - which would you vote for in an election if it were held tomorrow in British Columbia?
B.C. New Democrats    41.5 %
BC Liberals    38.5 %
Question #2
In British Columbia from the following response choices offered-if you had to choose one- which would you most likely vote for in an election were held tomorrow?
BC NDP Party    34.5 %
BC Liberal Party    32.5 %
BC Green Party    8.5 %
BC Conservative Party    8.5 %
BC First Party    3.5 %
Other Party/Independent    5 %
(Undecided)    7.5 %
Question #3
On February 26, 2011 the BC Liberal Party selects a new leader and the Province of British Columbia a new Premier. One of the BC Liberal leadership candidates is Vancouver’s Christy Clark. Would you like to see Christy Clark become the next Premier of British Columbia?
Yes    16 %
No    65.5 %
Undecided    18.5 %
Question #4
The World Health Organization has determined that alcohol is a more significant health and social problem than ever before. Countries around the World are considering higher taxes on alcohol to help curb the problem. Would you support an increase on taxes to liquor sales in the province of British Columbia as a method of dealing with the escalating health and social costs associated with the drug?
Yes    48 %
No    47 %
Question #5
BC’s minimum wage is currently $8.00 per hour, the lowest in the country. BC Liberal leadership contenders must decided whether to raise the minimum wage and if so to what level. In your opinion what should BC’s minimum wage be from the choices offered?
$8.00 per hour    2 %
$9.00 per hour    11 %
$10.00 per hour    67 %
$11.00 per hour    14 %
Question #6
If the HST Referendum were held this June 2011 instead of September 2011 and you were voting on it based on your opinion of it today, would you vote FOR or AGAINST keeping the HST.
FOR    36.5 %
AGAINST    56.5 %
Question #7
Politicians and others are discussing the option of Computer On-line voting on the HST Referendum and thereafter for municipal elections as a method to increase voter turn-out and to save money on elections. Critics are concerned about proper voter identify verification from On-line votes. Would you support On-line voting for the HST and municipal elections so long as some ballot boxes were available to voters who did not want to vote On-line?
Yes    34.5 %
No    64 %
Question #8
Federal Cabinet Minister Bev Oda cut off 7 million in funding to a Canadian charity initially approved for it. At issue is the fact that Minister Oda initially informed Parliament (MP’s who represent Canadian voters) that she was not responsible for this decision and then later informed Parliament that she was in fact responsible for this decision. By not telling Parliament the truth the first time she was asked about it in the House of Commons-the Parliament, should Minister Bev Oda be compelled to resign?
Yes    67 %
No    17 %
Question #9
Currently, the Canadian Minister of Justice in Ottawa selects Judges to the BC Supreme Court. In your opinion should Judges to the BC Supreme Court be elected by British Columbians rather than appointed by Ottawa?
Yes    71 %
No    23 %
Commentary
Baseline question #1 among 2009 BC voters from the provincial general election in Vancouver, Surrey, and Okanagan-Kamloops reveals the BC New Democrats have a slight lead over BC Liberals. The top BC Liberal leadership candidates are: Christy Clark (Vancouver), Kevin Falcon (Surrey) and George Abbott (Okanagan-Kamloops).
From this question we can see the BC New Democrats (BC NDP) lead the BC Liberals among 2009 BC Voters 52% - 48%. In Surrey the BC NDP leads the BC Liberals 58% - 42%. In Vancouver the BC NDP leads the BC Liberals 54% - 46%. In the Okanagan-Kamloops the BC Liberals lead the BC NDP 58% - 42%.
BC Liberal leadership candidate George Abbott has the best opportunity to dominate the region and secure the ridings for the BC Liberal Party within that region of the province he represents. This fact is underscored by two other considerations. There is no NDP candidate for leader who challenges him in the region (Okanagan-Kamloops) and he is able to dominate with higher BC Conservative support in his region as well.
Question #2 adds in party response choices other than the two favourites, the BC New Democrats and BC Liberals. Although it is true that political parties other than the BC Liberals and BC NDP have more success in polls before an election than on election day, these outcomes from question #2 are relatively consistent for parties like the BC Conservatives and BC Greens than in other mainstream polls.
Of these two less popular parties representing the left and right sides of the spectrum, the BC Conservatives are more likely to improve in the next general provincial election as it is more certain they will run candidates in many more ridings than they did in the 2009 general provincial election where they attracted 2% of the vote running in one third of constituencies available to them. The BC Greens have yet to prove election successes equal to most mainstream polls.
Based on decided outcomes from question #2 in Vancouver, Surrey and Okanagan-Kamloops the BC New Democrats lead the BC Liberals 37% - 35%.
Christy Clark is running to become the next leader of the BC Liberal Party and Premier along with 3 other candidates. However her support isn’t high enough in Vancouver, Surrey and Okanagan-Kamloops to suggest that she would be successful with general support from the BC public in these 3 regions of the province if a vote were held tomorrow.
Results from question #3 reveal that Christy Clark does not have majority support among BC Liberal voters with (28.4%) BC Liberal support in Surrey, (18.2%) in Okanagan-Kamloops, and (55.3%) BC Liberal support in Vancouver. This places her average support from these three regions - home of the 3 main candidates at approximately (34%) of BC Liberal voter support in this poll.
Christy has little cross over support from respondents in question #2. She attracts a small minority of BC NDP support - but we suspect from anecdote some of this may be tainted by strategic responses. She receives no BC Conservative, BC First support, and a handful of Other party/Independent supporters. (16%) of Green Party supporters select Christy Clark.
Christy is strong in Vancouver and does moderately well among BC Liberal voters/supporters in Surrey, but does poorly in the Okanagan-Kamloops region (North and Interior). Although Vancouver Island (among other regions) is not surveyed in this poll - we are aware that the BC Liberals have less support there than they attract in these three regions of the province. Christy has no seat in the BC Legislature--and would be confronted with a major battle trying to win a seat in a by-election, likely Premier Campbell’s old seat in Point Grey three months from now.
A Christy Clark leadership win could seriously disrupt the BC Liberal Party‘s opportunity to find its way back to higher levels of public support. Based on these numbers, she looks much better as a federal Liberal candidate.
The BC Liberals aren’t doing well in Surrey. The BC New Democrats have a big lead over them there. This does not bode well for Kevin Falcon who could become the next Premier if he wins the BC Liberal leadership contest, and may not deliver the majority of seats in the constituencies around him. Surrey’s popular mayor Dianne Watts cannot support Falcon - she has an election this year and would not want to alienate the BC New Democrats supporters who support her as mayor.
George Abbott is the right candidate in the right place at the right time for the BC Liberals. The front runner Christy Clark doesn’t have the support of BC Liberal supporters/voters to win a first ballot (although voters are not party members), and she will not be able to hold off a BC Conservative challenge where every percentage point that party takes will hurt the BC Liberals in many ridings as increased competition puts downward pressure on the two main parties totals
Christy Clark can be trumped by the selection of Adrian Dix NDP leadership candidate, also popular in Vancouver, or Mike Farnworth popular in the suburbs-and likely able to do well in Vancouver also. George Abbott’s home region in Okanagan Kamloops has the highest BC Liberal numbers of any of the 3 regions in this poll, and can if necessary accommodate higher BC Conservative numbers in his region owing to the bigger lead the constituencies in his region have over the BC New Democrats who are not running a leadership candidate from this region.
Abbott could do well against Dix as many voters look forward to a new Premier from outside Vancouver - and NDP leadership candidate Mike Farnworth not well known in the North and Interior where federal Conservatives do well. The other BC NDP leadership candidate is John Horgan from Victoria---on the opposite side of the province from George Abbott.
Alcohol like drugs and tobacco has harrowing health and social implications. For years it has been less reviled because of its common use for pleasure and social events. For most people whom alcohol is an occasional pleasure - there is no issue. But as the World Health Organization has recently indicated - rising middle classes in Asia India and elsewhere are creating higher health and social costs. These social costs are putting pressure on British Columbia’s budget as those who abuse alcohol are creating many problems increasingly from a health and certainly from a social perspective including violence - destroyed homes, lost economic output and more.
British Columbians are split on whether or not increasing taxes will mitigate against the problem, with many respondents who support the tax anecdotally suggesting taxes ought to be but one element of a more far reaching plan including education.
There is no doubt that BC voters support an increase to the minimum wage. The overwhelming majority support of respondents from question #5 believe the minimum wage in BC ought to be $10 an hour or better. (62%) of those respondents who support $11 per hour also are FOR the HST (question #5).
The HST “FOR” vote is increasing in popularity very slowly - and still has a ways to go to achieve (51%) in these three major regions of the province. What we aren’t sure of is whether the threshold for “AGAINST” will be (60%) or (51%) and whether or not a higher standard for getting rid of the HST would create a blowback to the besieged HST clawing its way back to acceptance based on odd rationales from respondents including such anecdote as -- “I decided not to make any major purchases and probably won’t now so why not - we don’t want to have to give all of the money back…” Other supporters said “There are some things that are good about it”. Many respondents “AGAINST” the HST simply “hope it fails” - for no particular reasons.
Support “FOR” the HST decided is (41.5%) in Vancouver.
Computer On-Line voting has not been seriously considered by most respondents in this poll. In order to make it palatable to voters it would be necessary to ensure voter verification is properly in place, and that ballot boxes would also be available. There is significant anecdotal evidence under “Yes” respondents that On-Line voting would NOT be acceptable to them - if there were not conventional voting stations available as well.
These numbers affirm what federal Opposition parties have been demanding, Bev Oda should resign. Her mistake is simple - she lied - and within the context of the question (and the truth) she lied to the people through the Legislative Branch - The House of Commons. Voters in British Columbia are certain of one thing - they won’t accept politicians lying, particularly when the lie is clear cut.
Many years ago - these numbers in support of BC Judges being elected would not have been so overwhelming--perceived as a United States tool of democracy. Loss of confidence in law makers, loss of confidence in the courts, and a growing belief that the BC courts may not be immune from politics has most British Columbians from this poll (and others) now unequivocally supporting the concept of voting for Judges.

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