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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics September 30, 2013
  Sep 30, 2013

This ROBBINS Sce Research (1998) "RSR" survey of British Columbians who reside in the Lower Mainland of the province interviews respondents who voted in the most recent May 2013 general provincial election on questions relating to which party they voted for, age, annual earnings, and post secondary education.
This information is collected in conjunction with two referendum style questions relating to BC Hydro.
The average age of our voter respondent is 46 years of age.
The methodology and outcomes from this "RSR" survey are compared and ultimately contrasted to results from a 2010 BC Stats survey produced following the 2009 provincial general election in British Columbia. This BC Stats survey was conducted by two statisticians Joanna Burgar and Martin Monkham.
Within this "RSR" survey are considerations of two methods of economic forecasting, one based on statistics - The Consumer Price Index for Canada circa 2010/2011, the other based on individual registration at post secondary institutions.
The BC Stats survey of 2010 bases its findings on statistical information drawn from Stats Canada census information and includes census data collected from "neighbourhoods" throughout British Columbia which concludes that BC voters from the 2009 provincial general election have higher income, are older and on average have a higher education.
In the BC Stats survey higher education is classified as including post secondary certificates for trades and other vocations as well as post secondary degrees but not necessarily just bachelor degrees. This survey attempts to identify voters from census data alone and to draw conclusions about voter motivation by joining this census information to academic works from social science and economic works which are not related to the original census findings.
One example of such a citation employed by the BC Stat survey is the source "Altruism and Turnout" by James H. Fowler of the University of California at Davis, whose positions though fascinating are based in part on "testing the altruism theory of voting in the laboratory by using a technique from experimental economics."
This "RSR" survey bases its findings on information gathered from individual respondents who live in the B.C. "neighbourhoods" describe in the BC Stats survey, but who are also identified as voters. The information gathered from these respondents on education is specified to whether or not the respondents have a university or college degree.
We believe this "RSR" social science survey is superior (though simpler) to the BC Stats survey for a number of reasons. For example, the BC Stats survey draws its information for statistical outcomes from Stats Canada information on "neighbourhoods", while the "RSR survey canvasses those who voted (2013) and does not threaten respondents with fines if they do not provide information.
Also, the BC Stats survey draws conclusions for provincial use from a federal source making the information second hand, and attempts to make further conclusions about this statistical information with support from social science material which attempt to interpret voter behaviour based on internal psychological considerations, the former being somewhat objective while the evidence in support is clearly subjective and theoretical.
"RSR" believes that the BC Stats survey attempt to make the reader believe from purely statistical information on demographics as primary source supported at least in part measure by somewhat random theoretical social science and economics - that in the midst of substantial voter decline in British Columbia, those eligible persons who are still voting - are not only older and wealthier - but are also better educated than those who are not voting. We believe that British Columbians who are not able to properly decipher the complex information provided by statistics and overwhelmed with the language of academia is - that while voter turnout drops precipitously in the Province of British Columbia, the quality of remaining voters (wealth, education) is nonetheless much better than average.
In other words, the problem of perception of lower voter turnout is mitigated by the apparent quality of voters - the contra interference being that British Columbians who don't vote are of lesser quality (poorer, less educated).
It appears to us that if you are the government for an extended period of time as the BC Liberals have been (9 years at the time of the BC Stats survey) and voter interest remains a problem under your time in office, the most advantageous public relations would be to project that you are being voted into office by the best and brightest.
We believe this to be a very comprehensive and elaborate example of statistical circular reasoning.
This "RSR" survey agrees generally with the conclusions made by the BC Stats survey on the matters of older wealthier voters going to the polls. Where are "RSR" survey differs is on the matter of education. Our survey utilizes the more common worldwide standard of measuring education and forecasting wealth, a post secondary education university or college degree.
In support of our choice of using a post secondary university or college degree as the proper standard is a BMO Bank of Montreal study conducted in the State of Indiana in June 2013 which concludes that "higher education is a prime indicator of wealth among Hoosiers." The conclusion of this BMO study was that "ninety-one percent of high net worth individuals in Indiana have a university degree, with 58 percent holding a graduate or professional degree."
Jessica Shepherd, education correspondent with theguardian.com ("Observer") in a September 2010 study revealed that "31% of those who graduated in 208 with degrees in history or philosophy were the children of senior manager - the social economic group with the highest income. Across all English university course, an average of 27% of graduates were from this group.
Fairly consistent and reliable information from the mid decade point and onward suggests that British Columbia is number 2 in the nation with 24 percent of its population with post graduate degrees. Ontario is the highest in Canada with 26% and Newfoundland and Labrador the lowest at 17%.
Currently, Quebec has the highest number of persons enrolled in post secondary university or college with 6.3% of its population enrolled. British Columbia is 2nd at 5.8% with Ontario 3rd at 5.6%, and Alberta 4th at 4.8%. In terms of full time enrollment relative to total enrollment Ontario is the highest at 80% enrollment followed by Quebec at 71%, Alberta at 64.5% and British Columbia far behind at 51.5%.
When comparing the percentage of full time employment to total population Ontario scores the highest percentage at (4.5%) tied with Quebec (4.5%), followed by Alberta at (3.1%) and British Columbia at (3.0%).
Currently, Quebec has the highest number of persons enrolled in post secondary university with 6.3% of its population enrolled there. British Columbia is 2nd at 5.8%, with Ontario 3rd at 5.6%, and Alberta 4th at 4.8%. In terms of full time enrollment relative to total enrollment Ontario is the highest at 80% enrollment followed by Quebec at 71%, Alberta at 64.5% and British Columbia far behind at 51.%
When comparing the percentage of full time enrollment at post secondary universities and colleges Ontario and Quebec score the highest at 4.5%, followed some distance back by Alberta at 3.1% and British Columbia last of the 4 at 3%.
Stats Canada information for 2010/2011 years reveals that while women continue to earn less than men their post secondary graduation levels in British Columbia are not rising. In Ontario 79% of women enrolled in post secondary education are enrolled in full time studies. In Quebec this number is 74.5%, Alberta is 68%, and in BC it is a dismal 51%.
In Newfoundland and Labrador with the lowest number of citizens in possession of a post secondary university or college degree Stats Canada reveals that province to now have a whopping 75% of women enrolled in university or college full time.
Given that we know that Ontario is currently sitting at 26% of its total population with a university or college degree and British Columbia is at 24% (followed by Quebec and Alberta) it would appear that in the coming years British Columbia may be producing post secondary graduates at a rapidly declining rate to Ontario, Quebec and possibly Alberta.
If the well established conclusions of most reputable studies of developed countries including those from the London School of Economics, firmly links percentile of post secondary degrees to wealth is accepted, and it appears that the number of post secondary graduates in the Province of British Columbia is on the decline over the coming years, can we then conclude that BC's wealth in the mid to long term will also decline?
Now, let's compare our less known predictor of wealth (post secondary graduation) against more standard measurement of forecasting such as The Consumer Price Index. The Consumer Price Index is described as "an indicator of changes in consumer prices experience by Canadians." It is obtained by "comparing, over time, the cost of a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by consumers. The "CPI" is widely used as an indicator of the change of the general level of consumer prices or the rate of inflation."
According to the social media website About.com Economics there are some serious flaws in using "CPI" as a measure of inflation including: (1) new product bias (new products are not counted for a while after they appear); (2) discount store bias (consumers who care won't pay full price); (3) substitution bias (variations in price can cause consumers to respond by substituting on the spot, but the basic measure holds their consumption of various goods constant);(4)quality bias (product improvements are under counted).
The "CPI" also does not properly consider the cost of such things as food and energy relative to overall consumer spending in relation to ties with other countries in terms of trade, yet the "CPI" is tied to decision making on monetary policy which impacts directly trade and the interrelationship of economies around the free world.
According to Tyler Durden of the social media website "Zero Hedge" the food component in the United States as a percentage of overall "CPI" is 7.8%. In China it is 31.4% and in India 47.1%. Canada's is estimated at 11.5%. Mr. Durden also points out that "food and energy are an unusually small portion of the basket of goods and services used to calculate the CPI inflation rate for the United States. These factors are combined for a 16.4% CPI for the United States "versus an average 26.4% for the +20 other countries we sampled...."
Based on numbers from the Consumer Price Index for 2012 and 2013 with baseline numbers @ 100, August 2012 Canada is 121.8, while in July-August 2013 is 123.1. In comparison to these national totals British Columbia is 118.1 in 2012 and 118 in 2013. Ontario is 121.8 in 2012 and 123.4 in 2013. The province of Quebec is measured at 120.9 in August 2012 and 121.9 in August 2013, while the province of Alberta is 127.6 in 2012 and 129.4 in 2013.
The difficulty with including the statistical indicator of "CPI" as an economic forecaster is dampened beyond the examples of scientific criticism offered by Tyler Durden when we consider the energy costs component of CPI in British Columbia is designated at around 115 (with 100 as baseline) measured against Alberta's 127 CPI on energy.
After factoring the deferred debt of BC's energy giant BC Hydro (actually loans to the BC government revenue account) is an estimated 3.6 to 3.8 billion dollars (according to the Energy Minister Bill Bennett as proclaimed on the Voice of BC political television broadcast hosted by Vancouver Sun and Shaw TV) this amount is equal to $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the province or nearly $2,500 per average home.
This information regarding the interesting bookkeeping of BC Hydro in terms of assessing the actual energy CPI component of the British Columbia's total CPI totals. What if other provinces are doing the same? Does this suggest that CPI totals are not dependable?
Our "RSR" survey attempts to arrive at conclusions from more simple and likely more accurate information drawn from interviews in determining who is voting in BC elections (at least the most recent one) and arriving at conclusions which we believe sound the alarm to all elected officials and stakeholders.
Within a dwindling voter turnout, we believe those British Columbians who are voting are in fact older, wealthier but LESS educated than those who are not voting, and considering the trend downward in anticipated post secondary education levels of the province, the wealth of the province will decline in the mid and longer term, and the type of person supporting government decisions like the sale of provincial assets may not be sufficiently equipped to make these decisions.

Question #1
Either you personally or you and your spouse earn more than $70,000 per year?
Yes    34 %
Question #2
Either you personally or you and your spouse earn over $60,000 per year?
Yes    33.5 %
Question #3
You possess a post secondary university or college degree of at least Bachelor level (4 years or higher)
Yes    20 %
Question #4
According to The Consumer Price Index BC's energy charges are the lowest in the country and are 2% less than the province with the next highest total, 3% lower than the province of Ontario, and 9% lower than Alberta's based on this national index. Do you support BC Hydro obtaining permission from the BC Utilities Commission for a 5 per cent increase in hydro rate charges?
Yes    48 %
No    29 %
Question #5
Would you seriously consider selling BC Hydro 'rights earnings' (but no assets like dams and infrastructure) to a private Canadian company or federal consortium if so doing would substantially pay off a portion of British Columbia's $60 billion debt?
Yes    36.5 %
No    45 %
Commentary
This "RSR" survey reveals that 2013 voters in the British Columbia provincial general election are older, wealthier and less educated.
The governing BC Liberals and Opposition BC New Democrats have controlled the BC Legislature for over two decades and continue to do so today. These two parties represent the vast majority of voters who are less educated than those who voted for the BC Greens.
(52%) of BC Liberal voters either personally or with a spouse earn over $70,000 per year, while (23%) of New Democrats, (16%) of BC Greens, and (12.5%) if BC Conservatives fit into that category of earnings.
(32%) if BC Liberal voters either personally or with a spouse earn over $60,000 per year, while (41%) of BC New Democrats, (23%) of BC Greens, and (22%) of BC Conservatives also fit into that category of earnings.
(18%) of BC Liberal voters possess a post secondary degree of at least Bachelor level (4 years), while (22%)of BC New Democrats, (32%) of BC Greens and (5%) of BC Conservatives also fit into that category of higher education.
(14%) of women who voted BC Liberal in the 2013 general provincial election possess a post secondary university or college degree.
(52%) of BC Liberal voters would seriously consider 'selling BC Hydro 'rights to earnings', while (31%) of BC New Democrat voters, (30%) of BC Greens and (24%) of BC Conservatives would also seriously consider this proposition. (41%) of BC Liberal voters would not seriously consider this proposal, while (54%) of BC Democrats would not, (50%) of BC Conservatives would not, and (53%) of BC Greens would not.
This RSR survey is produced from lists of British Columbians who voted in the May 2013 provincial general election. This survey was conducted September 18, 2013 to September 27, 2013. Best efforts were made to ensure (a) that outcomes reflected contributing city and municipality size, gender and party votes equivalent to the May election outcome. Where necessary adjustments were made to totals.
This survey is constituted of 832 respondents and features a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%,, 19 times out of 20 at 95% confidence.
Survey produced by pollster Glen P. Robbins (Political Science - Simon Fraser University Burnaby Campus); with assistance from Kellie Robbins (Philosophy - Labour Studies - Simon Fraser University Burnaby Campus),with special consideration from Jim Van Rassel of Coquitlam BC (604) 328-5398

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