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ROBBINS--BC Provincial Poll-1.5% margin of error (est.)
  Nov 17, 2008

A targeted sample of 820 British Columbians who voted in the last provincial general election. Based on both statistical methodology AND targeted methodology—ROBBINS estimates the margin of error at 1.5%, 19 times out of 20. This poll was conducted between November 7th and 14th, 2008. Poll was sponsored in part by Jim Van Rassel (604) 328-5398 and by John Hallam of Norlease Corp who resides in Nixon, British Columbia.

Question #1
For which leader and party did you caste your ballot in the last provincial election in British Columbia in 2005?
Gordon Campbell and BC Liberals    45 %
Carole James and BC NDP    41 %
Adrienne Carr and Green    12 %
Other    2.5 %
Question #2
If an election were held tomorrow for which leader and party would you caste your ballot?
Gordon Campbell and BC Liberals    38 %
Carole James and BC NDP    44 %
Jane Sterk and BC Green    8.5 %
Wilf Hanni and BC Conservatives    6.5 %
Other    2.5 %
Undecided    12 %
Question #3
Vaughn Palmer well known columnist with the Vancouver Sun newspaper recently wrote an article relating to the most recent provincial by-election in Vancouver October 29, 2008, as this relates to the upcoming provincial election in spring 2009 ASKING which leaders and party should be invited to attend next elections televised debate sponsored by media. We are asking a couple of questions relating to this subject matter based on Vaughn Palmer’s article. In your opinion who should decide which leader and party should be permitted to participate in the televised leader’s debate during the provincial election in the spring?
The public    33 %
The media who cover BC politics and sponsor the debate    44 %
Undecided    23 %
Question #4
Which of the following choices best reflects which leaders and parties in your opinion should be invited to participate in the leader’s debate?
The BC NDP and BC Liberals only    45 %
The BC NDP, BC Liberals and BC Green only    19 %
The BC NDP, BC Liberals and BC Conservatives only    12 %
The BC NDP, BC Liberals, BC Conservatives and BC Green    9.5 %
Undecided    15 %
Question #5
In your opinion, is global warming?
occurring for the first time in history    41 %
something that has occurred a number of times in history in repeated cycles of climate change    34 %
Undecided    25 %
Question #6
In your opinion, is climate change?
caused primarily by human production of carbon dioxide    38 %
caused primarily by nature (i.e. natural changes in the sun’s intensity)    41 %
Undecided    21 %
Question #7
In your opinion, is global warming?
an imminent threat to the planet that can be prevented with swift drastic action by government    21 %
a phenomenon that this planet has handled many times in the past and can handle in the future, particularly with changes to our lifestyle    35 %
Undecided    44 %
Question #8
In your opinion, should government?
Increase taxes to pay for the fight against global warming    15 %
Increase taxes on those commercial enterprises that are doing most of the polluting    36 %
Concentrate on building a strong economy with lower taxes and offering positive incentives to businesses and individuals to help fight real pollution    34 %
Undecided    15 %
Question #9
From the following list of choices who should benefit from 25 billion or more of federal government deficit spending:
The Banks    04 %
The People    72 %
There should be no deficit spending    11 %
Undecided    13 %
Gordon Campbell and BC Liberals have (84.5%) of the public support they enjoyed after the 2005 provincial general election. The Opposition BC NDP support has increased (07%) over the same period. The BC Green party -which changed leaders since the last election-- has lost (29%) public support. The BC Conservatives have diffuse support throughout the province and will be a factor.
The BC NDP is solid in the mid 40’s percentile. They are inching forward in public support while the BC Liberal support is withering.
The major change in this ROBBINS poll from more recent polls was the effort of the BC Conservative Party under leader Wilf Hanni. The Conservative Party scored an average of over (4.0%) in the recent two provincial Vancouver by-elections, which was likely higher than expected by most in the media. The BC Conservatives score well in the Okanagan in this ROBBINS poll but scored under 4.0% in Vancouver and Victoria with (6.0%) throughout the lower mainland of British Columbia.
The BC Conservative Party which has no official affiliation with the Federal Conservative Party—but- has the benefit of a strong name brand which has enabled them to take votes from the BC Liberal Party.
The Vaughn Palmer-Vancouver Sun question regarding the televised debates produces some interesting results. First of all (57%) of the public in this ROBBINS poll are of the opinion the media should make the decision relating to the debate that THEY are sponsoring. Of decided respondents (53.0%) insist that only the BC NDP and BC Liberals should be in the debate. British Columbians are providing the sponsoring media with their collective affirmation to take responsibility for any wrong choice they might wish to make, based on this ROBBINS poll. ROBBINS also advises that the criteria provided by the media for participation in 2005 was (10%) voter support in the previous general provincial election—which the BC Greens failed to achieve. BC NDP vs. BC Liberals ONLY or all four parties, BC NDP, BC Liberals, BC Green, and BC Conservatives is the correct way to go for the media in our opinion. Media airtime cost money and only the BC NDP and BC Liberals can afford it. The BC Greens fared little better than the BC Conservatives on BC Green turf in the recent Vancouver by-elections, which considering there are pockets of BC Conservative support which may be as high as (25%) in the Interior.
(28%) of respondents are of the opinion BC Green should have a place in the television debates, while (21.5%) are of the opinion that the BC Conservatives should have a place, AND (9.5%) of respondents believe both BC Greens and BC Conservatives should have a place in the television debates, enough evidence to exclude them both. Two-thirds of BC NDP supporters are of the opinion that ONLY the BC NDP and BC Liberals should be in the televised election debates while one half of BC Liberal supporters are of the same opinion.
Just less than one half of BC Liberal supporters are of the opinion all four parties ought to be included in the televised debates AS compared to those BC Liberal supporters who are of the opinion that only the BC NDP, BC Liberals and BC Green should be in the televised debates. Similarly only one half as many BC NDP supporters want the BC Greens as those BC NDP supporters who want the BC Conservatives in the televised debates.
More BC Liberals than BC NDP supporters are Undecided about the televised debates, however a higher percentage of BC Conservatives are Undecided about the debates than any other party, while the highest percentage of BC Greens are Decided.
(54.7%) of decided respondents are of the opinion that global warming is occurring for the first time in history, while (45.3%) are of the opinion that global warming has occurred before in our history. (48%) of respondents are of the opinion that global warming is caused by human production of carbon dioxide, while (52%) selected the sun’s intensity (nature) as the culprit.
Only one in five British Columbians is of the opinion that global warming is an imminent threat to mankind requiring government intervention, while slightly more than one third is of the opinion that global warming is a phenomenon the earth has handled many times.
Only a minority of respondents (15%) are willing to back increased taxes to pay for the fight against global warming, while the balance of respondents is split between taxing commercial polluters and the more saccharine option of “building a strong economy, lowering taxes, and offering incentives to business”.
A significant minority of BC Liberals, BC Conservatives, and BC NDP supporters---affirm choices under the Global Warming questions, which along with a very large Undecided (25% on average) would make any reasonable person question how the entire global warming issue ‘shakes out’ with voters along party lines.
Based on these questions BC Greens are most inclined to support a carbon tax; they don’t seem to support Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals in the process however. This failure on Premier Campbell’s part to entice voters to his Green agenda, his decisions to keep the carbon tax when the economy provided an opportunity to shelve it temporarily, the decline of the BC Green Party and the emergence of the BC Conservatives---combine to create a relatively safe lead for the BC NDP—with most ‘voter/respondents’ concerned with securing health care and other ‘social protection’ that they do not trust Campbell on anymore. In our opinion, the spin that Campbell is the go to guy in tough economic times (as a rationale for why he has a chance) is not what voters are talking about provincially.
There is NO appetite for deficit spending by the federal government directly to banks- or other institutional organizations. The BC public wants to see the money in the public domain and there is a high level of suspicion surrounding the deficit spending news, based primarily on confusion. Many respondents are of the opinion the Prime Minister or Finance Minister of Canada are not telling us everything about the banks, or don’t trust the arrangement, believing that that we are not being told everything. Apparently, the only way to convince British Columbians is on the “show me don’t tell me” principle. Handing money over to the banks does not apparently meet this standard.
Despite what recently published polls have suggested about the two major party leaders—the reality is that a majority of respondents having nothing to say about Carole James and nothing good to say about Gordon Campbell. This—you can put in the bank. (On the leadership question by both Angus and Ipsos—we don’t believe the numbers—it is just our opinion--- they may both be cheerleading a little for contest). (Media is in serious financial trouble—with media values plummeting, lay-offs en masse-new opportunities are required—not re-shifting the corporate deck chairs).
In order for the Campbell Liberals to alter their fading electoral fortunes they need a stunning story—fast ferries, and the threat of the BC NDP worsening the economy is not enough. It simply isn’t enough. Voters who detest the BC NDP also are very luke warm on Gordon Campbell and his party. We are sufficiently confident in this to suggest that even if BC Conservative support dropped—it would not be attracted by the BC Liberals. Some BC Liberal support simply isn’t going to vote is our prediction.
The BC Liberals are losing the trust of BC voters, particularly swing voters—including current BC Conservative supporters who might not generally support unions, but who do not support what Gordon Campbell’s Liberals “did to health care workers”.
It is also pretty clear that Gordon Campbell is not having success converting environmentalists to votes. BC Conservative supporters in this ROBBINS poll selected choices to Global Warming questions which would suggest they do not by and large support conventional Global Warming science—or do not understand the argument beyond the 2 years of news hype it has received. How Wilf Hanni and his BC Conservative Team wish to ‘spin this’ without being pigeon-holed by public relations dollars as ‘ignorant to the environment’ is not an easy task, however there is ample evidence in this poll that at least one third or more of voters in British Columbia do not seem to believe that Global Warming is a new phenomenon or that Mankind—particularly everyman—woman and child is responsible. There are many new converts who believe the entire thing is a hoax to create a new taxation rationale. This must be delicious inducement to BC Conservative leader Wilf Hanni and his Board of Directors.
This is how it REALLY is. The left leverage the BC Liberals once enjoyed with the BC Greens (allegedly taking from the BC NDP) is now countered by the rise of the BC Conservative Party on the centre right with more British Columbians making centre left party selections than centre right selections. The BC Green guard the BC Liberals have enjoyed is either shrinking slowly into the BC NDP or into Undecided—but not to BC Liberals. The emergence of the BC Conservatives, affirmed following by-election ‘success’ October 29, 2008 not expected (4.5%) in Vancouver—certainly not their home field—means that BC Conservative MUST be offered in BC political polls to ensure honesty and fairness. BC Conservatives suggest they already have 30-35 candidates ready to go for May at this moment with interest rising since the Vancouver by-election. According to party leader Wilf Hanni the BC Conservatives spent $2,500 in each of the two by-elections in Vancouver, while other parties spent significantly more.
With the BC Greens apparently in modest decline in public support, and the BC Conservatives with solid residual position—and the political pendulum swinging slightly left, if Gordon Campbell does not take drastic action – the BC NDP may realize 45 seats or more next May, 2009.
These results confirm a recent poll by Angus Reid showing the BC NDP ahead of the BC Liberals by (05%), a similar outcome to this ROBBINS poll (06%). We disregarded the Ipsos Reid poll (showing the BC Liberals 9 points ahead) as pandering to the news media who want and need something to write about as voter apathy prevails. The validity of the fringe support for BC Conservatives, slow decline of BC Greens (‘voters’ are quite sick of Global Warming talk for awhile), and the near disappearance of Global Warming as an emergency issue, and absolutely no taste for taxes on regular people—at all or particularly as they relate to solving Global Warming make electoral success for Campbell’s Liberals next May more doubtful with each passing day.
Political parties and actors need to understand that men have more of fascination with polling numbers than women—who are more naturally suspicious of what they see as public relations exercises. Men will choose which poll they like best based on the outcomes presented to them. What is interesting is that it is easier to get female respondents to take a poll, than it is to get male respondents to take one—but easier to get men to talk about one—in the coffee shop than women.
Glen P. Robbins
Glen P. Robbins

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