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RSR Research - British Columbia Politics March 16, 2005
  Mar 16, 2005

A digit dialing of 1,000 respondents throughout the British Columbia constituency of West Vancouver Garibaldi between March 1st and March 13th, 2005. This survey is reflective of a representative sample of 16,667 respondents in that provincial constituency. Primarily respondents were derived from Whistler BC, Squamish BC and the city of West Vancouver BC in numbers as follows: 200 Whistler, 200 Squamish, and 600 West Vancouver. The final results were adjusted to properly reflect populations of each area. This survey has a margin of error of .75%-2.37%, 19 times out of 20 @ 99% competency rate. The raw cost of this survey was paid for in part by the Coalition to Save Eagle Bluffs at Horseshoe Bay and the Western Residents Association of West Vancouver

Question #1
On an ‘as is’ basis, exclusive of any other factors or contingencies, which of the following elements of the total BC economy, is the MOST important to you?
Balanced budget    10 %
Health    48 %
Education    15 %
Sustainable Environment    29 %
Question #2
Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal government promised all British Columbians an environmentally friendly 2010 Olympic Games. To date, in your opinion, has Premier Gordon Campbell kept his promise?
Yes    24 %
No    35 %
Undecided/I don't know    41 %
Question #3
Please rank the following elements of the total BC economy in order of preference with #1 designating the most important and #4 the least important in your opinion? (Average to closest 0.25).
Sustainable Environment    2.50 %
Health    1.75 %
Education    2.75 %
Balanced Budget    3.0 %
Question #4
Insofar as infrastructure development relating to the proposed ‘new highway’ from Eagle Ridge bluffs in the West Vancouver-Horseshoe Bay area is concerned, what in your opinion should be the most dominant consideration in planning, development and construction of that highway?
The cost of the highway    9.5 %
The safety of the highway    37 %
Environmental sustainability of the areas and region around the highway development    11.5 %
Function and longevity of service of the highway    19 %
There should not be a highway constructed, it should be a tunnel instead    23.5 %
Question #5
In your opinion has Premier Campbell’s BC Liberal government been forthright and honest with the citizens of British Columbia over the past four years?
Yes    49 %
No    41 %
Undecided    10 %
Question #6
Do you agree or disagree with this statement? I believe that out-of-town visitors to the 2010 Olympics in Whistler will enjoy the view from a four-lane highway constructed overland in West Vancouver?
Agree    75 %
Disagree    26 %
Question #7
Do you agree or disagree with this statement? There is no chance that I would vote to re-elect Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals now that they have chosen to build a four-lane highway instead of a four-lane tunnel at Eagle Bluffs in West Vancouver-Horseshoe Bay?
Agree    46 %
Disagree    54 %
Question #8
Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Frankly, I am tired of both the BC Liberal and NDP political parties and would be happy to see another party or independent represent my riding of West Vancouver-Garibaldi after May 17, 2005?
Agree    55 %
Disagree    45 %
Question #9
Were you aware of a controversy involving a 1.3 kilometre highway through West Vancouver-Horseshoe Bay, wherein one group supports a four-lane highway over the mountain and another supports a four-lane tunnel that won’t go over the mountain?
Yes    67 %
No    33 %
Question #10
-Do you agree or disagree with this statement? In order to preserve the environment, I support the construction of a four-lane tunnel over the construction of a four-lane highway in West Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay?
Agree    55 %
Disagree    43 %
Question #11
Dennis Perry is a West Vancouver resident, and is Chair of the Coalition to Save Eagle Bluffs. He said on the Jennifer Mathers CKNW show that a 4-lane tunnel, which he supports through Eagle Bluffs in West Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay, will be approximately the same cost as a 4-lane highway through that same region of the proposed new Sea-to-Sky development. On the other hand, BC Liberal Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon who grew up in West Vancouver said on the Jennifer Mathers CKNW show that a 4-lane highway will be approximately 70 million dollars less expensive than the tunnel he opposes. Whose economic representation do you trust more?
Former Investment Banker Dennis Perry, Chair of the Coalition to Save Eagle Bluffs    41 %
BC Liberal Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon    31 %
Neither    24 %
Undecided    10 %
Question #12
Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Until all of the information and evidence is properly made available to West-Vancouver Garibaldi-North Shore citizens concerning the 4-lane tunnel versus the four-lane highway in W. Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay, it is my opinion that no further action should be taken on my behalf by the BC government as this relates to that portion of the Sea-to-Sky Highway until after the May 17, 2005 general provincial election?
Agree    59 %
Disagree    42 %
Undecided    04 %
Question #13
**(supplemental-asked in 9th position}In your opinion was the BC Liberal government’s decision to sell BC Rail, the correct one?
Yes    31 %
No    69 %
Questions 1 and 3. ‘Balanced budget’ as a response opportunity performs equally poorly in all primary areas of strategic calling. In fact, balance budget as a MOST important element of the total economy is selected slightly less often in West Vancouver, where Gordon Campbell is more popular than in Whistler where he is much less popular. Balanced budget receives many more second choices in West Vancouver than in either Whistler or Squamish where it is most frequently selected as third or fourth important.
Respondents in West Vancouver are more inclined to pick ‘Sustainable Environment’ as least important when balanced budget is most important, however in many instances when respondents choose balanced budget as most important they choose education as least important.
Very few respondents who choose sustainable environment as least important choose the tunnel or Dennis Perry. This is particularly noteworthy in West Vancouver. However there are a number of respondents who choose sustainable environment as third most important who will also select the tunnel or Dennis Perry. Many respondents who choose sustainable environment as either first or second most important also choose tunnel, or safety, or functionality.
If balanced budget is the surprising loser in this survey, than sustainable environment is the big winner. Nearly one-half of respondents (45%) in Whistler pick sustainable environment as MOST important, and more than one in four (26%) select sustainable environment in West Vancouver. Just fewer than one in four (24%) select sustainable environment as most important in Squamish.
In Question #3 balanced budget tied sustainable environment with a score of 2.75. in West Vancouver. In Squamish balanced budget scored 3.00 while sustainable environment scored 2.50. In Whistler, balanced budget scored 3.25 while sustainable environment scored 2.0.
In West Vancouver when respondents did choose balanced budget they usually selected health as their second choice. In Squamish the respondents there also picked health as their second choice, and in some instances education, where balanced budget was their first choice. Whistler was similar to Squamish when balanced budget was first choice. Usually health or education followed, or if balanced budget was a second choice, health would precede it.
Throughout the primary regions of focus in Vancouver-Garibaldi wherever sustainable environment was first than health or education followed in second, and as indicated balanced budget was usually last.
Question #2 Although nearly (67%) of respondents in Whistler were “Undecided” about Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal government when it came to assessing his promise to be environmentally friendly about the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, those that did make a decision saw him as twice as unfriendly as friendly, to date. In Squamish approximately one-half of respondents (54%) were undecided, yet (37%) determined Campbell and the BC Liberal government to be unfriendly so far. In West Vancouver nearly one-third (31%) were undecided and a similar number were of the opinion Campbell’s Liberals had been environmentally friendly to date. Slightly more or (37%) in West Vancouver believed the current BC government as unfriendly to the environment. In West Vancouver, those respondents who answered “NO” in Questions #2 were more than 50% likely to choose the tunnel as their choice for Question #4, after factoring those who were undecided from Question #2. Many West Vancouver respondents who selected “NO” or undecided in Question #2 selected the safety of the highway in Question #4.
Question #4 Not surprisingly in Question #4 those respondents that selected balanced budget in Question #1 and “YES” in Question #2 most often selected ‘bottom line’ relating to the cost of the highway, although some selected functionality and longevity. A scarce few however who selected balanced budget in Question #1 and “YES” in Question #2 selected sustainable environment in Question #4.
Respondents in West Vancouver who selected Health and Education in Question #1, and who also selected “YES” in Question #2 were more inclined to choose ‘safety of the highway’ in Question #4, and to a lesser extent, function and longevity of service of the highway’. Also in West Vancouver, respondents were less likely to choose environmental sustainability as they had already decided to select ‘tunnel’ as their response to Question #4.
Question #5 In question #5 we find that Premier Campbell’s BC Liberal government is perceived by nearly one out of two respondents to be ‘forthright and honest’. Four out of 10 do not believe he and his government to be so, while (10%) have not formed an opinion. Will attitudes change as more information comes out regarding the tunnel vs. highway issue?
If there were changes to opinion about Premier Campbell’s government’s integrity it would have to come out of W. Vancouver where the undecided is currently (16%). Two-thirds of respondents in Whistler already do not believe the Premier and his party are ‘forthright and honest’ with (58%) of respondents in Squamish with the same opinion. Clearly the (55%) of respondents in West Vancouver are currently holding the sway for Premier Campbell and his government.
Question #6- An overwhelming majority of respondents answered “YES” to Question #6. The highest number came from Squamish (82%), while West Vancouver’s “YES” total equaled the final average. This question was intended to provide respondents with a distraction, and to hopefully cultivate a discussion as to why the BC Liberals might be pursuing a highway over a tunnel, if all other elements of the debate were proved to be relatively equal (i.e. cost, safety etc). Respondents appeared happy (albeit surprised) by this question, but most accepted as a break in the ‘discovery’ nature of the other polling questions, and we believe answered the question honestly. Those who answered “NO” to this question were either adamant tunnel proponents (West Vancouver- (35%), or in the alternative rationalized their resistance to say “YES” through other means such as “people should keep their eyes on the highway”, or “there is plenty of view on that highway, they can go without for one mile”.
Question #7- This question represents the point in the poll where we first tie the tunnel to Premier Campbell’s BC Liberals decision to build a highway. The question presumes that there is a link between the two. In West Vancouver (60%) disagree with this assertion, however there some of the respondents in that group reserved the right not to support Gordon Campbell for reasons outside the issue of the tunnel. This is supported in part in Question #9 where some of the respondents who “disagreed” with the assertion, were of the opinion that Premier Campbell and his BC Liberals should not have sold BC Rail, or in the alternative did not believe that Premier Campbell and his BC Liberals had been forthright and honest (Question #5). Respondents in Squamish were split on this issue and once again many respondents from this area also expressed the right to not re-elect the Campbell Liberals for other reasons. An overwhelming majority (65%) of respondents in Whistler agreed with the assertion in the statement, which formed part of Question #7.
Question #8- One could accuse the pollster of pushing the respondent against the status quo (including the current BC Liberal government) in this question, however we don’t think we have. Preceding questions have provided respondents with a reasonable opportunity to reaffirm support for the Premier and his government, and to some extent this has been done. This question is meant to determine to what extent respondents are willing to stay behind their original choices, or in the alternative seek refuge in the possibility that other choices may be made available to them on election day. Whistler stood its ground in this question with (65%) of respondents saying they
would “AGEE” to other persons or parties other than the BC Liberals or NDP, however Squamish respondents were all to happy to change their positions in many responses, relative to responses from previous questions, with nearly (60%) being in agreement with the proposal in the question.
West Vancouver whose overall respondent numbers reveal a minute margin of error expressed a 50/50 desire to see some other political entity other than the BC Liberals or New Democrats. It should be noted, particularly in West Vancouver that it is ROBBINS opinion that the status quo would generally hold the better numbers for the BC Liberals (or BC Liberals and New Democrats) until a ‘new’ political entity were formed and communicated its platform, which might ultimately compel the intrinsic desire for change reflected in this question.
Question {#9 in order, but featured as supplemental) provided respondents with an opportunity to focus on a particular political event that was well known to all. The sale of BC Rail by the Gordon Campbell BC Liberal government. In West Vancouver where Gordon Campbell is most popular, only 37% of respondents accepted the sale of BC Rail as the correct decision. In Squamish less than one in five supported this decision, and in Whistler less than one in four agreed with the sale.
What is also interesting about the results in this question is that a number of respondents who indicated with their response that Premier Gordon Campbell was forthright and honest, were of the opinion that BC Rail should not have been sold, or in the alternative were undecided about BC Rail. This is particularly noteworthy because the sale of BC Rail received significant attention in the news, and had economic and political implications on the North Shore (North Vancouver), as this formed part of the BC Rail line at one time. As a consequence, respondents who were ready willing and able to declare Premier Campbell as forthright and honest, realized that were not as certain when confronted with the realities of Question #9.
Question #09- A majority of respondents (67%) were aware of the controversy involving the 1.3 kilometre tunnel vs. highway through West Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay. This number is skewed upward owing to the super majority of respondents (81.5%) in West Vancouver who were aware of the controversy. What is interesting about the results of this question is that some respondents who were aware of the controversy were not crystal clear on what stakeholder wanted the tunnel and which wanted the highway. What is also interesting is respondents in Whistler and Squamish who are not pre-disposed to Gordon Campbell and his BC Liberals and who seem more pre-disposed toward sustainable environment, or in the alternative health or education, should not have a difficult time accepting the case being made for the tunnel. This hypothesis is based on Gordon Campbell’s lack of popularity in these regions of the constituency, the large number of respondents who support sustainable environment, the smaller number of
respondents who select balanced budget, and the correlation of respondents who are aware of the controversy in Squamish and Whistler and who favour the tunnel.
Question #10- Question #10 is where this survey really begins to heat up. Within the context of the question is the constructed assumption that the tunnel equals the environment. Conversely, the question presumes that the alternative choice, the four-lane highway will do some degree of harm to the environment. The results are interesting! (55%) of West Vancouver respondents (matching the outcome average) responded by saying they “AGREE”. The Whistler numbers were higher than this (62%), yet Squamish respondents were not entirely sold as they responded “AGREE” at a rate of less than 40%. This question provides some insight into what the upside support could potentially be for the tunnel as an issue measured in a more complex and global political sense particularly with a general provincial election looming.
Question #11- Question #11 re-introduces ‘political’ and ‘quasi-political’ personalities back onto the polling stage. The two opponents over the tunnel/highway controversy are the featured players. In West Vancouver, Dennis Perry is selected (37 to 31.5) over BC Liberal Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon. Dennis Perry more than doubles Falcons numbers in Squamish and bests the Transportation Minister by one-third in Whistler. Although Gordon Campbell is well liked in this riding and specifically West Vancouver, his Cabinet Minister currently responsible for the Sea-to-Sky Highway is not. The MLA for the riding has been missing in action since his marriage and purge from Cabinet, and neither the Premier nor any of his Cabinet Ministers since Judith Reid are perceived to have been working in this riding since the 2010 Olympic Games were awarded. The result has been an opportunity for the Eagle Bluff advocacy for a tunnel over a highway to gain momentum. Precisely what this group intends to do now is another political question altogether.
Question #12- Admittedly Question #12 appears to be constructed as a type of petition question with language, which critics might contend, is bias. Their criticism may have validity in the abstruse sense however ROBBINS believes that over the course of the journey that these respondents took through this survey (which many believed to be tough), by the time this question was introduced is was fair. We simply wanted to understand if respondents in West Vancouver-Garibaldi wanted the time over the election to consider the matter of the tunnel over the highway, and they do. On average 59% “AGREE” that no further action should be taken until after the May 17, 2005 general provincial election. In West Vancouver only (42.5%) did not agree while (04%) were undecided. In Whistler an overwhelming (74%) want to hear the debate through the election.
Commentary- This survey signifies an attempt by ROBBINS to define perhaps the most interesting riding in the province of British Columbia at this time. West Vancouver Garibaldi is the main lead in to the corridor connecting the North Shore of Vancouver to Whistler, which will host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Just as important, this survey perhaps more than any other showcases how ROBBINS is re-defining the art of polling in North America, and specifically British Columbia. ROBBINS uses its CSI style of methodology to ‘get inside the collective head’ of citizens residing in a particular culture, in order to identify their conscious (and unconscious) opinions on issues that matter to them. No presumptions are made about ideology based on income, but rather on issue-based responses. This poll in West Vancouver Garibaldi may empathically mark the beginning of a whole new generation of public opinion polling.
Over the past decade or more this riding has been the home of Federal Reform. Longtime MP in this area John Reynolds has left the federal stage leaving a vacuum in the federal constituency, which encompasses generally the provincial constituency. With the Federal Conservatives getting set to establish policy, what impact (if any) might a poll have on these policies considering the very real possibility that a well known citizen in this BC provincial riding, who is more aligned with Progressive Conservatism, and who has a black belt on environmental issues, will consider advancing the cause of the Green Party through a message of conservation. What implications could this have for the Federal Conservative Party and Paul Martin’s classical liberalism on the federal stage, and Gordon Campbell’s loosely stitched BC Liberal coalition, particularly after the recent resignation of federal Liberals including Christy Clark, Gary Collins, and Attorney-General Geoff Plant. Will this poll represent Gordon Campbell’s last lament for ‘assisting’ with the growth of the Green Party in this province, initially as a bulwark against the provincial NDP?
Provincially West Vancouver Garibaldi has been a BC Liberal riding. Indeed, prior to the same sex marriage of BC Liberal MLA Ted Nebbeling, this riding could only be considered a safe seat for the BC Liberals. Will the stunning implications of the results of this poll change all of this? Will CKNW’s Jennifer Mather who first introduced the gut wrenching conflict involved in this important debate on her talk radio show become an even more important radio personality as the conflict rages on and the world looks on at the possibility of a Green styled candidate seeks to become local overseer of the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics set for 2010?
Nothing in this survey changes that fact that this is a BC Liberal provincial riding. However there are powerful possibilities, which emanate from this survey. The primary one being that an issue which has been front and center within the riding, that is, the specific debate raging over whether to put a four lane highway or four lane tunnel through that part of the Sea-to-Sky Highway located in West Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay. It is this debate and the powerful desire my many within this region to defy the government objective, which compelled this survey, and the subsequent outcomes that provide some interesting contemplation about possibilities here in the coming weeks leading up to election day.
The BC Liberals would tell you there is no debate that the four-lane highway is about to become a ‘done deal’ in the coming weeks. This survey says ‘not so fast’ Mr. Falcon. Respondents are suspicious of politicians, and this fact is just as prevalent in West Vancouver-Garibaldi. Although the Campbell Liberals are not as popular in Squamish and Whistler, the Premier himself is quite popular amongst many respondents in the West Vancouver portion of this riding. The problem is that many of the Premier’s supporters speak as an apologist on his behalf. “All politicians lie, or have to lie (somewhat)” they will tell you. Or they will say “who else is there?”
These respondents make a good point. The overwhelming majority of respondents in this poll do not want any agreements signed with respect to the four-lane highway prior to the hearing of all matters relating to this issue and others over the course of the upcoming provincial general election. The BC Liberals may not have to worry about this fact unless someone else entered the political arena to challenge for this seat.
This survey reveals that Dennis Perry, a West Vancouver resident seriously involved with the Coalition to Save Eagle Ridge Bluffs could challenge the BC Liberals in this riding if he were to run. At time of the press release of this survey, ROBBINS has no confirmation as to whether or not this will happen. We can only reasonably hypothecate that if it did happen, the seat could be a challenge for the BC Liberals to keep.
Respondents in this survey have changed their opinion of balanced budgets. Why is this? Basically, most respondents don’t trust budgets. Further, the respondents in this survey were generally very sophisticated in their understanding of issues, and for the most part see economic political priorities in terms of balancing all elements of the total economy. What was a primary focus of debate years ago, is much less so in this region at this time. The new emerging issue (after health care) is a sustainable environment.
(Although it is true that the BC Liberals made an announcement for Britannia Beach near the end of this survey (and this is a significant {and long overdue} environmental announcement), the BC Liberals record generally on the environment is not stellar).
Respondents in this survey believe that their MLA has been missing, and no other BC Liberals have really been working the riding the way they ought to have. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon is not high credibility here, and local conservative and environmentalist Dennis Perry could create some dynamic political action if he were to run for this seat in Canada’s wealthiest neighbourhood.
Think of the possibilities. If Dennis Perry decided to follow the environmental aspect of his advocacy and joined the Green Party, would he be able to convert his professional career as an investment banker into a John Fraser type of Conservative-Green leadership? Could this normally Conservative riding become the first seat held by the Green Party? Would this be a Green Party seat in a minority government, an NDP government with the first duly elected women Premier, or as the balance of power in a minority BC Liberal government? Adrienne Carr has a shot in neighbouring Powell River, what if she and Dennis Perry both won seats for Green? A Green 2010 Olympics would be an interesting concept! That would be a shot heard ‘round the world’.
But much of this depends on former Investment Banker Dennis Perry’s decision to run for political office. To save Eagle Ridge Bluffs, he may have little choice but to run. If he does, this survey says he has a real shot.

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