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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics October 3, 2011
  Oct 03, 2011

Question #1
Which leader and party did you vote for in the 2009 provincial general election?
Gordon Campbell and BC Liberals    46.5 %
Carole James and BC New Democrats    42 %
Jane Sterk and BC Greens    7.5 %
Wilf Hanni and BC Conservatives    2 %
Other Party    1 %
Question #2
If an election were held today for which leader and party would you caste your ballot?
Christy Clark and BC Liberals    34 %
Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats    38.5 %
Jane Sterk and BC Greens    5.5 %
John Cummins and BC Conservatives    20 %
Other Party    1.5 %
Undecided    12 %
Question #3
In your opinion does government properly consider your interests in its policy and decision making?
Yes    29 %
No    55 %
Undecided    16 %
Question #4
Do you support a BC Liberal appointed Municipal Auditor General?
Yes    38 %
No    44.5 %
Undecided    17.5 %
Question #5
Do you support the installation of BC Hydro smart meters on BC homes without public consultation?
Yes    33 %
No    64 %
Undecided    3 %
Question #6
In your opinion is the $550 million dollar expenditure to repair the roof and generally refurbish BC Place Stadium worth it to you as a tax payer?
Yes    25 %
No    66 %
Undecided    9 %
Commentary
Christy Clark and her BC Liberal Party are down -and it increasingly appears- out- with public opinion. Her party is 27% below 2009 provincial elections totals of 46% +. Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats are down 7.5% and BC Greens are down 26.5%.
The big winners in this ROBBINS poll - are John Cummins and his BC Conservatives – beneficiaries of a growing sense of discontent among BC voters with one in five (20%) of 2009 voters –Now- supporting – the Grand ‘New’ BC Conservative Party.
Age and gender reveal a lot about the new configuration in public support of political parties in the Province of British Columbia. The average age supporting the BC Conservative Party in this ROBBINS poll is 55. The average age supporting Christy Clark’s BC Liberals is 46. BC Conservative support is comprised of (64%) male and (36%) female. Christy Clark is supported by men (47%) and women (53%). Many Gordon Campbell supporters from 2009 (before the HST) have apparently moved over to John Cummins and his BC Conservative Team. With Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats receiving (52.5%) support from women and (47.5%) support from men and average age of support at 45, it is clear that Adrian Dix and Christy Clark are fighting over many of the same voters ---while John Cummins may need to reach out to slightly younger more progressive – /- voters to increase his totals in the Lower Mainland of the Province to prove that the millstone of ‘the crank’ is the not the guardian of his political future as it has been with most renditions of conservative politics in BC for the past few decades.
During this polling period the Clark government attacked BC Conservative leader John Cummins and then launched a somewhat lackluster jobs plan. Essentially – the ads were weak – but illuminated attention onto John Cummins and his party as they headed into their AGM – the BC Liberals could not have better helped the BC Conservatives. Then – the BC Liberals rolled out a number of announcements for jobs – and the net effect was that many British Columbians – concluded that John Cummins might be better at creating jobs – then Christy. To be very clear, anecdote supports the move away from BC Liberal voters (2009) to BC Conservatives – NOW-as far more than just a protest.
Bye Bye we gone.
During the same period, the federal Conservative majority government developed a comprehensive crime bill - in the midst of scant resources from the BC Liberal government/shortage of provincial judges/shortage of prosecutors/shortage of supporting resources/to deal with the anticipated onslaught of criminal prosecutions/ much overdue/ - while the rest of the world concerned itself with a precarious economy. The Ottawa Conservatives – then got into a war of words with the BC Liberals over the RCMP contract – with some news reporting that the federal government was upset that the BC Liberals went to the media. British Columbians are light years beyond worrying about protocols surrounding federal provincial relations and in camera nonsense. Most want to know what is going on (complete transparency) and they suspect many think they could do a better job than those in power—it simply isn’t a job they choose to do. Elected people in this province – all act to one degree or another – like elites. They are aware how difficult it is to be replaced – and in the case of the provincial government – the desire to go into debt to increase pay for government workers – in the cumulative makes it abundantly obvious that 'a them and us' battle exists between government and the people.
During this same announcement period The Supreme Court of Canada ordered that Insite drug injection facilities be kept open – with federal Conservatives naively claiming that the relatively modest monies for the drug injection facility would be better spent on treatment – with little or no evidence of action on drug and alcohol addiction treatment across the Province of British Columbia – because it’s a health matter ‘stupid’ – thank you Supreme Court of Canada. On the subject of addiction, BC Liberal health minister Mike de Jong contemplated aloud the possibility of charging higher MSP Premiums to smokers –. Generally this was not received for a number of good reasons and appears particularly ill conceived given the World Health Organizations recent 911 call to curb alcoholism – and the health risks and massive costs associated with over consumption along with other obvious considerations along this line including overeating – etc.
NDP leader Adrian Dix found room on the political stage over this period to speak to provincial policing including matters involving the re-negotiation of the RCMP contract with the province of British Columbia – and wondered aloud why BC Liberal doesn’t have a backup plan including a costing of a provincial police force. At polling end – Christy Clark indicates she has a viable plan for a provincial force, but at the same time insists she has looked at only ‘some of the information on BC Hydro Smart meters’ – proclaiming to UBCM members that it is a done deal nonetheless. Christy Clark’s BC Liberals get a “C+” on the RCMP file – because Public Safety Minister Bond showed some moxie on the matter – but allowing Adrian Dix to point out the lack of credibility of negotiating without a backup plan – is reinforcing the impression that Dix is intelligent and insightful - while Christy Clark is much less so—on the two – policy platforms RCMP and Smart Meters the BC Liberal government scores overall “C”.
Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer made BC Liberal Minister Pat Bell appear defensive (nearly HST-like) on Bill Good’s CKNW Radio Show -- the $600 million BC Place roof cost – which escalated over a short period of time in similar fashion to the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre which cost double the amount promised – both efforts completed (it would seem) by BC Liberal affiliate David Podmore. In the matter of Palmer v Bell – this court of public opinion holds for journalist - Palmer. Elected Officials should spend less time goat talking over files – and listen to that CKNW Audio Vault – simple dates and facts – support your position. The City of Vancouver has no idea how sick the rest of the province is of it – no idea whatsoever.
In our Glen P. Robbins mid September 2011 random telephone poll of British Columbians – our first place BC political party - Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats attracted (44%) from respondents. In this late September – October 2011 telephone poll from lists of 2009 general election voters Dix and his BC NDP has (38.5%). In the mid September poll second place Christy Clark and BC Liberals attracted (34%) support from all respondents; in this poll her party attracts the same total (34%). As the BC Legislature gets set to open – with only BC Liberals, BC NDP and 2 Independents holding seats, the BC Conservatives have no seats in the House—but as this ROBBINS attests are growing fast in public support among British Columbians. In our mid-September ROBBINS poll BC Conservatives scored (16%) support among all British Columbians, among 2009 voters they attract (20%) support.
A compelling (63.5% decided) of BC voters from the 2009 general election does not believe that “government” acts in ‘their’ interests. This high number suggests that the model of governance employed at all levels in Canada is not working for BC citizens. These models include corporatism, elitism, and classical pluralism. When I hear politicians like former BC NDP leader Carole James – prattling on about civility in politics – I find this passive arrogance hard to believe. There is a revolution set to take place right under your nose lady from age 20 to 80 – the people are not pleased with the work of elected officials – they don’t have much confidence in government. It’s time to grow up and smell the new pragmatism.
Corporatism is control of the state by large interest groups like business, labour or both. Elitism is the idea that certain groups of persons should dominate in society. Classical pluralism advances the concept that politics and decision making comes primarily from government, but non government agencies may have influence. In each of these models, particularly corporatism and elitism, the individual is easily lost in the equation of public policy development. This assertion is easily supported by the circumstances associated with the HST which seriously damaged the credibility of the BC Liberal government – credibility which may yet be damaged worse by the introduction of BC Hydro Smart meters without public consultation.
The new roof on BC Place Stadium is a problem for voters in their capacity as tax payers. I love the BC Lions – I am a huge fan of the Canadian Football League – but unfortunately – this deal smells more like politics to British Columbians and more cherries for the City of Vancouver. Voter/Respondents in the North and Interior gave a (9%) thumbs up to the BC Place Roof and other – that’s rather pitiful.
(62%) of BC Liberal supporters in this poll answered “Yes” to question 3 on government (considering the average citizen in policy making), while (3%) of BC Conservative, (17%) of BC New Democrat, and (15%) of BC Green supporters answered “Yes”. (21%) of BC Liberal supporters answered “No”, while (88%) of BC Conservative, (70%) of BC New Democrat and (71%) of BC Greens answered “No”.
In question 4 the concept of a Municipal Auditor General (“MAG”) seems reasonable to many BC voters, however resistance for many more begins at the prospect of this “MAG” being BC Liberal appointment anecdotal evidence supporting the lower overall numbers in support for the governing party. Of all voter/respondents – (28%) or (82.5%) BC Liberal supporters also support a “MAG”. (10%) of BC Conservative, (16%) of BC New Democrat, and (37%) of BC Green supporters also supports the “MAG”.
In question 5 the introduction of new BC Hydro smart meters fails to be supported by British Columbians. A ROBBINS poll of Victoria residents a few years ago realized then that only one in five supported the plan. Barely one in three across the entire province supports the plan now – like the failed Harmonized Sales Tax – with no regard to public consultation. Christy Clark – BC Liberal supporters support the plan (52%), (5%) BC Conservatives, (11%) BC New Democrats and (32%) BC Greens support the plan. Insiders are already talking about the doubling of the costs of these meters and the economic relationship between BC Hydro and the BC Liberal government. All of this speculation exists in the midst of a BC Auditor General report which suggests hundreds of millions – and perhaps billions of dollars of tax payers are not being properly accounted for.
Downtrodden BC Liberal finance minister Kevin Falcon ‘appears’ to have insufficient energy to make any defense to these charges beyond a ‘difference of opinion’ with the Auditor General – at the same time that the government hopes to introduce the appointment of a Municipal Auditor General. At this time the Christy Clark BC Liberal government ‘appears’ to be a government in turmoil with no playbook – and if there is one – no-one on the government side appears to be reading it. Christy Clark hopes for benefit by re-branding the party in her image – British Columbians apparently do not believe she is necessarily the solution to her government’s current problems.
Across the Province of British Columbia support for First Place Adrian Dix – BC New Democrats on Vancouver Island is (44%), Lower Mainland (43%), Fraser Valley (28%), North and Interior (31%).
Second Place Christy Clark and BC Liberals on Vancouver Island is (23%), Lower Mainland (35%), Fraser Valley (37%), North and Interior (40%).
Third Place John Cummins and BC Conservatives on Vancouver Island (22%), Lower Mainland (14%), Fraser Valley (32%) and North and Interior (25%).
Fourth Place Jane Sterk and BC Greens – Vancouver Island (11%), Lower Mainland (8%), Fraser Valley (3%) and North and Interior (4%).
Based on these suggested ROBBINS numbers, John Cummins and his BC Conservative Party need to take advantage of both the BC Liberals and BC New Democrats – captive to battle in the BC Legislature in Victoria on Vancouver Island – and increase his Lower Mainland support totals – in the middle of major media focus. An increase in Lower Mainland support more consistent with his overall totals would produce party support in the low 20 percentile but more importantly pull the BC Liberals back toward 30% - placing his party within striking distance of the floundering government as by-elections arrive in early 2012 setting the stage for the general provincial election to follow a year after.
Christy Clark has serious problems – she hasn’t been very sure footed on any file and conversation surrounding her ability as Premier is diffuse at coffee shops, auditoriums and other community areas – and the general sense from voters is that she isn’t competent to lead or alternatively – where there is no clear opinion – it is leaning against her. No matter anyone’s opinion of Gordon Campbell now- there was never any doubt he was in charge - when he had some credibility.
Christy may be nice to look at/for some/ – but it is not clear how well she comprehends the complicated subject matter of public policy – including the essential elements of law and science. Her appointment of Harry Bloy – her only supporter during the BC Liberal leadership contest – followed by his demolition by the mainstream press after an exhibition of a general lack of understanding of his file –in the midst of callous treatment if disabled workers - supports the general theory from Christy Clark detractors – that this is not intelligent governance – a kind of a “Bridesmaids” effort at running the province (and we know how that worked out).
Adrian Dix needs to really rally New Democrat numbers on Vancouver Island to the 50% range they ought to be at and hammer Christy Clark in the Lower Mainland – assisting the BC Conservatives gobbling away at the right flank of her BC Liberal Party in the most populous region of the province.
Although I personally like Jane Sterk – I have no idea what the BC Green party is accomplishing.
Through the month of September 2011 it appears BC Liberal leader Christy Clark has her work cut out for her. I suspect she is operating to some degree on the basis that her personal popularity is higher than that of the BC Liberal Party. At ROBBINS we unequivocally do not agree with this assumption and our evidence through the month affirms our position. Our evidence is supported by polls conducted earlier in the year that showed Christy Clark’s negative in the 50% + region. Mainstream pollsters have long been selling Christy as very well liked – we don’t believe it. What do you think?
BC NDP leader Adrian Dix is in good shape. His party must come up with some ideas for the economy – rather than run out the clock until the next election/with platitudes and rhetoric – as his predecessor Carole James was prone to do. The BC Conservatives are coming. Previous mid term polls – during Gordon Campbell’s tenure as leader of the province – often showed the BC Liberals down in support and some other third party with some strength – this was because – people didn’t like Campbell but when push came to shove they liked him slightly better than former BC NDP leader Carole James at election – and third parties did not have the required resources to make a serious attempt - for votes.
BC Conservative leader John Cummins is different. Money continues to trickle into the party/with the threat of a flow – they will run a full slate of candidates – and have many experienced political players on their team. Where many British Columbians doubt Christy Clark’s ability to lead – or are unsure if they like or trust Adrian Dix’s more social democratic agenda – those British Columbians who are aware of John Cummins have a lot of confidence in him already and his party could quite feasibly turn the BC Legislature into a minority government after the May 2013 general provincial election – these ROBBINS numbers say this is all happening now. This backdrop should make for an interesting fall sitting of the BC Legislature.
A Strategic Calling Environment telephone sampling of 1,071 respondents who voted in the May 2009 general provincial election in BC. This poll was conducted between September 23-October 1, 2011. This ROBBINS poll features a margin of error of 2.99% plus or minus – 19 times out of 20 @ 95% confidence. Outcomes from questions 1 adjusted slightly to more accurately reflect 2009 general provincial election totals – and mathematically adjusted in question 2 for consistency. Outcomes adjusted for gender.
This poll was sponsored in part by Jim Van Rassel of New Trend Optical 604 942 – 9300 along with another party who prefers to remain anonymous.

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