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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics February 16, 2011
  Feb 16, 2011

411 net respondents (111) from South and Mid Vancouver Island, 300 from Lower Mainland of BC from the City of Vancouver to Langley February 6-12, 2011. Respondents are confirmed as: Strong supporters of the BC New Democratic Party and say they are following the BC NDP race. (Undecided too high in initial North and Interior sampling). Margin of error 4.83% plus or minus @95% confidence 19 times out of 20.
Breakdown: Vancouver Island
Horgan- (45/111); Dix (25/111); Farnsworth (22/111); Other (8/111); Undecided (11/111)
Breakdown: Lower Mainland BC
Dix-(112/300); Farnsworth (83/300); Horgan (62/300); Other (25/300); Undecided (18/300)
Margin of Error suggests that all three BC NDP candidates could theoretically be tied. However, predicated on decided respondents and after factoring high and low from margin of error Ė ROBBINS concludes that there is an 86% probability that Adrian Dix has a lead over John Horgan and an 87% probability that Adrian Dix has a lead over Mike Farnworth based on the description of the respondents herein.

Question #1
From the following response choices offered which BC New Democrat candidate for leadership in your opinion is the most likely to win a BC general provincial election?
Adrian Dix (MLA Vancouver Kingsway, Vancouver)    33.3 %
John Horgan (MLA Juan de Fuca, South Vancouver Island)    26 %
Mike Farnworth (MLA Port Coquitlam, Lower Mainland)    25.5 %
Other candidate    8 %
Undecided    7.1 %
Commentary- by Peter Kelly
The NDP is headed into its leadership vote and there is no clear front runner. While Adrian Dix has an edge with the random respondents contacted, far from the clear lead the potential leader needs in order to claim the brass ring.
Adrian Dix leads with 33.3% to second place John Horgan's 26%, but Mike Farnworth is a hair behind with 25.5%. This means that itís still anyoneís race, and one has to remember that unlike a US primary election, voting for a party's nominee is excluded to paid-up members of a registered Canadian political party.
The NDP is at an awkward place politically speaking. Itís probably the only political party in BC history that while in opposition could win an election with a high negative rating.
The NDP needs to pick a leader that can restore some widespread public backing and unite a progressive coalition that has not existed since the days of Mike Harcourt. The NDP's voting universe (meaning, the factions of the progressive movement) is still fractured. Small businesses don't trust the NDP; the environmentalists believe the NDP is too close to the industrial unions that are often in the targets of environmentalist protests. Social activists have been upset at the NDP too, as the party governed from a centre-right angle at different points in its last 2-term stint in office; including public sector layoffs and cuts to social programs.
The NDP and its new leader need to pacify its voting universe so that they'll trust the party again. Each of the candidates for leadership has strong points and weaker ones.
Adrian Dix provides the base support of the party with some political 'red meat' in the form of a combative and confident (almost arrogant) leadership style. Party activists have been critical of the party for being rather bland and not appearing to differ much from the BC Liberals the NDP pretends to oppose.
Mike Farnworth is experienced - possibly more than any of the BC Liberals that challenge for their party's leadership. Mike Farnworth comes across as a moderating voice who has appeal on both sides of the political spectrum - despite conservativeís general opposition to the NDP itself. Mike Farnworth is no less qualified to lead as any other MLA, but probably doesn't have the populist appeal and firebrand image as Adrian Dix.
John Horgan is a local favorite to Island area supporters probably due to the fact that he is the local guy. John is well liked and is a capable MLA but probably suffers from a lack of name recognition beyond the Island and Greater Victoria area.
This contest for the NDP will come down to Adrian Dix and Mike Farnworth. Members will determine if their party is to be a populist lead party or a moderate, cooler headed party. The experience of Glen Clark shows that when a party is led by a firebrand and zealot, it polarizes the electorate. The NDP suffered heavily for Clark's antics and arrogance, among other reasons.
They haven't won an election since 1996. So the NDP is ready to win and need to pick a leader that lands the popular support of BC voters. Letís hope they pick wisely and choose a leader that doesn't embarrass BC like previous Premiers.

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