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BC Liberals hold statistical lead over NDP (Province) plus six suburbs
  Apr 08, 2005

A random digit dialing of 1672 respondents ‘voters’ throughout 76 individual ridings and 14 designated regions in British Columbia between March 12th-21nd, 2005. (Cites towns and regional calling numbers available for a fee). Respondents were asked after they agreed to take the poll, if they regularly vote in provincial and federal elections, (if yes) than they were asked if they were 19 years or over, and than asked if they were a man or a woman. Numbers have been adjusted to reasonably reflect voter turnout in ridings and gender, but does not necessarily accurately reflect visible minorities. Accordingly a conservative statistical margin of error is 2.75%, 18-19 times out of 20 @99% competency. ROBBINS President Glen P. Robbins achieved 312 respondents personally making this poll indicative a of polling sample of 5,628 respondents, with Robbins personal calling representing a sample size of approximately 4,368 voters. Approx. 83% of persons who answered the telephone and were asked to participate in the poll answered all of the questions. In this poll when respondents did ask what the poll was about, callers were instructed to indicate ‘that it is a poll about the new electoral format called STV, and other questions.’ Generally, this was more helpful in terms of return on calls/respondents. ROBBINS and calling associates note an inclination towards more men refusing to take poll as opposed to women, recent polls reflect a 55-56% random ratio of women to men, compelling a statistical adjustment, and further adjustments for voting trends in regions of the province as well as voter density (see Saanich North and Island as an example of the former and Vancouver City as example of the latter).

Question #1
Do you agree or disagree with BC Liberal finance Minister Colin Hansen’s plans (if re-elected) to accelerate privatization of some aspects of BC’s health care system?
Agree    41 %
Disagree    54 %
Undecided    05 %
Question #2
Do you agree or disagree with BC NDP Leader Carole James plans to reduce classroom sizes in grades Kindergarten to five from 32 to 24 students per classroom?
Agree    52 %
Disagree    44 %
Undecided    04 %
Question #3
Which of the following words BEST reflects Premier Gordon Campbell’s managing of BC’s environment over the past four years?
Good    23 %
Fair    12 %
Poor    58 %
Undecided    07 %
Question #4
In your opinion could the current ‘Liberal’ sponsorship scandal negatively affect British Columbians perception of all liberal politicians including BC Liberals?
Yes    61 %
No    36 %
Undecided    04 %
Question #5
Which of the following elements of BC’s overall economy is the MOST important to you?
Education    27 %
Balanced Budget    29 %
Health    31 %
Sustainable Environment    10 %
Question #6
Which of the following statements in your opinion BEST reflects who is most responsible for BC’s current economic ‘condition’?
BC Liberals    52 %
(Former NDP government)    15 %
Neither-forces outside provincial government control such as high oil and gas prices have impacted the provincial treasury    21 %
Both the (former) NDP and BC Liberal government’s are to blame    12 %
Question #7
To which provincial leader and party are you most attracted and likely to give your vote in the May 2005 general provincial election?
Gordon Campbell and BC Liberals    42 %
Carole James and NDP    40 %
Adrienne Carr and Green    11 %
Tom Morino and Democratic Reform    07 %
Question #8
How satisfied are you with the current method of voting used in British Columbia, that is one person-one vote?
Very Satisfied    05 %
Satisfied    60 %
Dissatisfied    27 %
Very Dissatisfied    08 %
Question #9
Within the context of how you perceive the meaning of the term ‘the establishment’, do you trust the establishment?
Yes    26 %
No    74 %
Question #10
Can you accurately name a Canadian public opinion polling firm?
Could    16 %
Could not    84 %
Question #11
Whose public opinion polling numbers would you trust more, a polling firm which is part of the media establishment, or one that is independent of the media establishment?
One that is part of the media establishment    15 %
One that is independent of the media establishment    50 %
Neither    21 %
Undecided    14 %
Question #12
Are you going to vote for a change to the BC Electoral format, specifically the STV model which basically allows the voter to select a first, second, and third choice on the ballot?
Yes    53 %
No    44 %
Question #13
In your opinion should the Office of the Attorney General of British Columbia:
Remain as it is now, as part of the legislature    38 %
Become a non-partisan office, like Elections BC or the Ombudsman’s office    56 %
Undecided    06 %
Question #14
Do you agree or disagree with this statement: These days a young person requires a post-secondary education or certificate simply to find a decent job?
Agree    79 %
Disagree    18 %
Question #15
In your opinion should a post-secondary education be FREE for all persons who have been a British Columbia resident and citizen of Canada for a minimum of eighteen years?
Yes    52 %
No    46 %
Question #16
How likely are you to support Gordon Campbell’s re-election on May 17, 2005?
Very Likely    11 %
Likely    33 %
Unlikely    35 %
Very Unlikely    22 %
Question #17
How likely are you to elect the New Democratic Party on May 17th, 2005?
Very Likely    17 %
Likely    22 %
Unlikely    29 %
Very Unlikely    32 %
Question #18
Is it fair to say that you would be reasonably satisfied if the May 17, 2005 general provincial election produced a BC Liberal minority government?
Yes    46 %
No    52 %
Question #19
For which political party and leader to you intend to cast your vote on May 17, 2005?
Adrienne Carr and Green Party    13 %
Carole James and New Democrats    38 %
Tom Morino and Democratic Reform Party    07 %
Gordon Campbell and BC Liberals    43 %
These six ridings in the Northeastern suburbs of Vancouver could all conceivably be won or lost by either the BC Liberal or New Democratic parties during the May 2005 provincial general election. If either were to occur the entire election outcome would be altered significantly, particularly if that outcome were to the BC NDP party’s advantage.
The BC Liberals have managed to convince a solid block of voters in this region and in these specific ridings that a good economy (“balanced budget”) is required for the social programs to be well funded. It remains to be seen if the BC Liberals can hold this ‘pose’ for another month and one half (because there is no flip side to this ’45), and Premier Campbell’s lavish giveaways are making many respondents re-evaluate his party’s claim to fiscal responsibility. With the economy in apparently good shape, and every radio station, television, and newspaper in the province on the BC Liberal bandwagon, (and in their advertising pocket) this one hit wonder needs the ‘economy song’ to stay atop the political charts for six more weeks and attain another political majority and avoid political catastrophe for Gordon Campbell.
Most respondents who currently support the BC Liberals are prepared for some privatization of health care. Most NDP, Green, and some DRBC and undecided voters do not agree with any privatization from the Campbell government. Generally speaking, these respondents do not trust the Premier on matters of privatization.
Most of the ‘undecided’ in Question #3 is Gordon Campbell support. It is clear from respondent patterns that neither health nor the environment are winning issues for the BC Liberals
Most NDP and Green respondents support reduced class sizes in the primary grades. Some BC Liberal supporters in this poll do as well. Also, some respondents who see education as important, and who support the BC Liberals, may have interpreted BC Teachers Federation member’s most recent ‘silence’ over contract issues, as contentment with BC Liberal policies relating to education funding and class size generally. It may have been a mistake for teachers to be so docile over education issues including hiring, class size etc. It appears that this has allowed the BC Liberals to take education votes from the NDP.
It is apparent that Premier Campbell is not able to corral a solid block of the 50 per cent center right vote on the merits of his and his party’s performance over the past four years. (The BC Liberals appear so desperate for any ‘bump’ they have induced establishment pollster and nominal wage advocate Joan McIntyre formerly of Mustel McIntyre {now Mustel Group-why was Evi Mustel personally calling ROBBINS this week “Mr. Robbins I have some clients interested in your polling” (?)} as their ‘go to’ political cigar store Indian in West Vancouver Garibaldi).
It is unclear whether the BC NDP is playing it close to the vest, or playing for second, but it is even clearer that if they don’t start to turn up the volume fairly soon the latter scenario is the more likely reality of the two. Although it is true that election campaigns are so intense that keeping your powder dry when you are in a close race might be the best strategy, it is also true that you have to be seen to be in it to win it. With federal Conservatives likely to go to the polls sooner than later (yes we’re polling too-look for eastern establishment pollsters to come out saying that Canadians don’t want an election right away-they are virtually all in the federal Liberals pocket-unless they have collectively figured out it is time to find a new dime), this according to respondents could help the NDP as well. (Don’t the words Liberal and Leper sound sort of the same?).
DR BC is attracting some reform and protest vote in these six pivotal ridings, they will probably attract even more voters to their own ‘protest’ than the ‘actual’ number of viewers that will ever be bothered to actually watch a BC election debate (be wary of establishment numbers on who watches read or listens to anything-they all drink from the same trough-ROBBINS numbers on who watched the federal election debate were significantly lower than those advertised by the mainstream media).
The Green party appears to be in good shape as the primary protest party. With the inclusion of bona fide leaders for BC like recently nominated Green party candidate and Deputy Leader in West Vancouver Garibaldi Dennis Perry ( (folks-this dude is the type of recruit BC really needs), and the fact that many global warming fence sitters have finally come around (after seeing images on TV of Polar Bears starving to death), issues relating to the environment have ceased to be a laughing matter. (It is 9-11 time and even crusty old Conservatives at ROBBINS have figured this out). BC Liberals have become increasingly worried now that the Green monster their media friends built to interrupt the NDP is now siphoning votes from their party. (How ‘fresh’).
Some BC Liberal respondents in this poll asked callers in Question 6 “A” “are you saying the current economic condition is bad or good?” A few BC Liberal supporters who after questioning the wording of choice “A” in Question #6 made a conscious decision to answer Question #6 with “C”, evidently deciding that the condition was presumed to be positive but couldn’t risk any misinterpretation that might have come about from “A”. (Throughout the poll BC Liberal supporters seemed significantly more careful about answering questions than respondents who supported other parties-this tells me the BC Liberals have their game faces on). Two respondents who selected BC Liberals chose “B” in Question #6. We can only speculate that they did so because they interpreted “A” to have a negative connotation. This hints at the possibility that a few BC Liberal ‘swing’ supporters are following the party line that the economy is in fact in good shape, but have not personally come to that conclusion either intellectually, ideologically or based on personal experience.
Currently, the Green party and DR BC party have two candidates each nominated in these six ridings. In strict political science and statistical terms, this would translate into party support of 47% and 47-48% for the New Democrats and BC Liberals respectively. (AT ROBBINS we only claim to be accurate).
ROBBINS estimates the BC Liberals have a six-point cushion over the NDP in Port Moody Westwood. However the Greens have not nominated a candidate in this riding as yet and based on responses in this survey if Greens in Port Moody Westwood all voted NDP, than NDP would win the riding. Conversely, the NDP candidate in Port Coquitlam Burke Mountain, former Cabinet Minister Mike Farnsworth is estimated to be 7 points ahead of his rival, BC Liberal candidate and Port Coquitlam city councilor (and good guy) Greg Moore. Currently, there is neither a Green nor DR BC candidate nominated in that riding making it Mr. Farnsworth’s to lose.
The BC Liberal candidate in Maple Ridge Mission has a slight lead in that riding over the NDP candidate. There is a Green candidate in this riding as well, and no DR BC candidate. This seat will therefore likely remain with the BC Liberals. If the status quo persists and the Green Party does not run a candidate in Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows while DRBC is running a candidate there, than the NDP has a reasonable shot at stealing this seat from the BC Liberals. In Coquitlam Maillardville the Greens are currently running a candidate and DR BC is not. Despite this fact this remains a close race with the incumbent Richard Stewart currently a marginal favourite. If DR BC runs a reasonably effective local candidate in this riding that margin is reduced to zero (minus). If former Reformer and all time BC Lion great Nick Hebeler shows up to represent his home riding of Coquitlam Maillardville, the BC Liberals can kiss this riding good-bye.
Neither the Green party nor DR BC are currently running candidates in Burquitlam which remains a very close race.
If the Greens decided not to run any candidates in any of these ridings, and DR BC ran candidates in all of these ridings, the likelihood of the NDP winning all six ridings is good. Conversely if DR BC did not run any candidates and the Greens ran in every riding the chances of the BC Liberals winning every seat is also very good. The Green Party and DR BC at least theoretically could (if the ridings in this survey are any indication), decide the outcome of the BC general provincial election in May 2005.
This poll was conducted over a number of days in which the outcome of the Air India trial was the top news story in print, radio and television. ROBBINS has no evidence that this outcome affected the respondents in any particular way relative to the questions asked. (*Also, this poll does not reflect the very politically significant recent pay-out to ICBC managers and executives at a time when Insurance rates for safe drivers have not decreased substantially-ICBC workers have been undervalued, and gas prices are through the roof-ask Premier Lord about this).
ROBBINS determines that in the 23 ridings ‘East of Hope’ the BC Liberals are averaging (40.5%), however they are over (40%) in only nine ridings. The NDP are averaging (38%) over the same ‘23’ ridings, however the NDP have (40%) or more in 10 of those ridings. The Democratic Reform BC party is averaging (11%) over the same 23 ridings with some of its total focused in constituencies that are more center right (Okanagan-Peace River). If DR BC runs candidates in all 23 ‘northern’ ridings they will impede the BC Liberals in five (5) ridings. Alternatively the Green Party is challenging the NDP and to a lesser extent the BC Liberals in the Kootenay region. The Green Party is also showing life in the Okanagan (of all places), as some BC Liberal women abandon Gordon Campbell for a more comfortable fit with Adrienne Carr’s crew.
In the lower mainland ridings the NDP averages (38%). The BC Liberals average (45.5%) over the same ridings (this is 5.5% less than the amount attributed to the BC Liberals by Ipsos Reid). The Democratic Reform BC party averages (6%), and the Green Party (12.5%). The New Democrats achieve (40%) or better in 28 lower mainland ridings, while the BC Liberals achieve the same average in 22 ridings, however the BC Liberals are close to the (40%) mark in the majority of the lower mainland ridings. In Vancouver, Surrey, Tri-Cities, Burnaby and New Westminster the NDP average better than (40%)
On Vancouver Island the New Democrats average (43%) while the BC Liberals average (37-38%). The Greens who perform above their provincial average on Vancouver Island (13.5%), achieve much of that total in ridings where the New Democrats are more likely to win in any event. The Democratic Reform BC party achieves (6-7%) on Vancouver Island, however this support (in a region where center left voting is more dominant) is sufficient to cause problems for the BC Liberals in a number of ridings where that party is competitive with the New Democrats. (In two of the ridings that we did not contact in this poll, namely Powell River and Sunshine Coast, and West Vancouver- Garibaldi, the Green popularity in those two ridings alone is sufficient to raise the Green Party by (.75%), to nearly 14% provincially.
A recent poll of 800 British Columbians by French polling conglomerate Ipsos Reid reveals 51% of decided voters siding with the BC Liberal in the lower mainland of BC. This ROBBINS poll of a much large sample size, suggests this BC Liberal total is smaller in the same area (assuming we are both defining the lower mainland the same way). The difference to overall polling numbers for the BC Liberal party across 79 ridings (the province-Ipsos-Mustel) is thus approximately (3.5%) according to the ROBBINS poll (76 ridings) (the difference from 79 ridings to 76 ridings is (4%).
In the City of Vancouver (10 ridings) ROBBINS numbers reveal more ‘average’ support for the NDP than the BC Liberals (even after the announcement of Carole Taylor to the BC Liberal Team). Also, for some months now ROBBINS has identified a growing trend amongst former BC Liberal women voters who refuse to vote for the NDP and who will now vote for the Green Party. ROBBINS believes that many women (and some men of course) from wealthier demographics who are not comfortable with Gordon Campbell will continue to move towards the provincial Green party ‘without prejudice’ to the provincial NDP’s totals.
All things being considered, this could explain ROBBINS showing the BC Liberals provincially at (43%) and Ipsos Reid and the Mustel Group showing the BC Liberals at 46%. It should be noted that ROBBINS poll is more current.
One thing is certain, if the next provincial general election is close, even if the BC Liberals win a slight majority, it will spell trouble for Gordon Campbell’s political career, considering he started government with 77 seats. Also a 40-41 seat majority and a successful ‘showing’ but no victory for STV will spell nothing but trouble for Campbell given the huge number of Doubting Thomas’s and other ‘rail birds’ that will dog his every move and undoubtedly look for the first opportunity for recall. ‘Why weren’t you promoting STV during the election Gordon?’ they will ask. (That’s why ROBBINS is predicting a Gordon Campbell resignation even if the BC Liberals win a slight majority-see Rich Coleman-BC Conservatives-Carole Taylor-BC Liberals).
A majority of respondents in this survey are ‘satisfied’ with the current method of voting in British Columbia. Only a small fraction of respondents are ‘very satisfied’ with the current system however.
This poll suggests that the STV may be adopted in British Columbia after the May 17, 2005 vote as (53%) of decided respondents/voters are willing to vote for this change (60% is the basic threshold-are a majority of ridings a factor? ask Jennifer Miller of Elections BC). This is up by (18%) from earlier ROBBINS polling. (This could be due to the recent mail-out from Elections BC, and significant discussion in local newspapers and on talk radio (particularly) Green Conservative- Rafe Maier’s show (600 AM)). There is no evidence to suggest however that respondents understand all of the nuances of STV beyond the rather rudimentary explanation provided for in poll question #5.
More than one half of BC Liberal ‘supporters’ in this poll support STV. Approximately one third of respondents who support NDP also support STV. Most (but not all) Green and DR BC supporters also support STV.
The potential election of the STV electoral format coupled with the fact that almost one half of respondents in this poll would be reasonably satisfied with a BC Liberal minority government, provides Gordon Campbell and his BC Liberal Team with some interesting knowledge.
For instance, most respondents who support STV in this poll also support a Gordon Campbell minority government. How will Premier Campbell whose government initiated the Citizens Assembly, (which selected STV), reconcile the fact that many of his current supporters prefer STV, AND would be reasonably satisfied with a minority BC Liberal government, with the fact that he likely needs to win a majority government to survive as leader of the party?
To date only party leader Tom Morino and his Democratic Reform BC Party have articulated support for STV, but this party has not been provided with much, if any media attention despite this fact. In light of the conspicuous STV support in this poll, and the tremendous cost and democratic input from BC citizens towards this potentially historical electoral change, it now seems a little odd (or suspicious), with neither of the mainstream parties publicly declaring their support for STV, that Mr. Morino and his party would be so obviously ignored by the mainstream press (particularly when they have a member in the BC legislature).
In addition, given the prevalence of Green voters in the European Union, the fact that the IOC bureaucracy is in Europe, the fact that Vancouver has the 2010 Winter Olympics, the fact that Green policies in Europe hurt our lumber exports in the 1990’s and the fact that we haven’t heard a peep from Gordon Campbell about environmental policies as this relates to the Olympics, suggests to ROBBINS that the BC media is not doing a thorough job of covering this aspect of the 2010 Winter Olympic development. The media establishment continues to rely on abstract discussion about intrinsic economic development, which appears to ROBBINS to be a fairly narrow focus given the British Columbians apparent readiness to have a more dynamic debate about the province’s future. BC’s political culture is a far more interesting province than that.
The majority of respondents from all parties agree that maintaining the BC Attorney General’s Office should not be a political one. These are the same respondents who do not trust the establishment (and although not strictly specified in this poll, this would be reasonably presumed to include the courts, and the ‘people’s’ representative within the scope of jurisprudence). BC’s latest Attorney General resignation Geoff Plant is a very good example of an excellent legal mind wasted on a weak politician.
The news media, politicians, lawyers, ex judges (et al) can all come out and testify as to the credentials of a certain individual (special prosecutors etc.) but the voters do not buy it anymore. (Words of advice for the media: the public doesn’t understand why people with such tremendous curriculum vitae’s and academic credentials would take a job as a politician. ‘Giving back’ has become a tiresome answer. Also, the public doesn’t understand why PhD’s and University professors would be on the news all the time-the media is operating on an outdated ‘boilerplate’ for articulating ‘expertise’ to the public). Media in the political industry should understand that if less people are voting there are less people tuning in, reading or watching their political stories. This should be of tremendous concern to anyone with tens of millions of dollars invested in media. (It is simply a potential opportunity for those with only 1 or 2 million invested).
The ‘majority’ of the ‘minority’ of respondents who disagree with the statement ‘these days a young person requires a post-secondary education or certificate simply to find a decent job’ ALSO support Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals. On the other hand, a significant ‘minority’ of BC Liberal supporters are of the opinion that ‘any person who has been resident of BC and citizen of Canada for a minimum of 18 years should get a FREE post secondary education’.
The majority of NDP and DR BC respondents, and the overwhelming majority of Green respondents ‘AGREE’ that a post-secondary education should be FREE under proscribed conditions of citizenship. *These numbers on respondents supporting FREE post-secondary education reflect a growing mistrust amongst British Columbians of government representations vis-à-vis budgets etc., and an increasingly independent voice articulating demands. (If you mistrust politicians and you mistrust their economic representations, than the easiest thing to do is simply make demands for what you want and let the politicians seeking re-election work it out for themselves. Essentially, this is a new trend amongst voters designed to get some value for their franchise after years of feeling powerless).
Is the mainstream media purposefully staying away from DR BC in order to save Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals? Or, are mainstream pollsters and the media ignoring DR BC because of their nomination totals to date? Whatever it is, it isn’t fair to any reasonable democratic standard in ROBBINS opinion to exclude them from public opinion polls. Under what criteria are mainstream pollsters considering political parties as choices in polling questions?
It appears that a higher percentage of respondents are willing to accept a BC Liberal government so long as its leader Gordon Campbell is given a significantly shorter leash, as many respondents are of the opinion that if the BC Liberals are given another mandate, their current leader obviously cannot be trusted with a majority government.
ROBBINS asserts that a significant number of respondents who indicate that they are likely to support Gordon Campbell’s re-election asked ‘who else is there?’ It is uncertain whether this response pattern is meant as an ‘apology’ for respondents who actually intend to vote for Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal Team but are too embarrassed to admit it to a stranger over the phone (this was a similar situation in 2000 and 2001 with NDP supporters in Sce Research polling), or that respondents have not been offered a real alternative. (Clearly, many respondents who support the BC Liberals are not proud of it). If it is the former than perhaps the BC Liberals can expect another term, if it is the latter and Carole James and/or Tom Morino and DR BC and/or Adrienne Carr can answer that question during the Writ period, than the BC Liberals may lose government (and badly).

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