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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics June 9, 2011
  Jun 09, 2011

Question #1
Which of the following consumption taxes do you prefer?
Harmonized Sales Tax (H.S.T.)    25 %
Provincial Sales Tax (P.S.T.) plus G.S.T    48 %
Neither    23 %
Undecided    3 %
Question #2
Do you have any children under age 18 where you reside?
Yes    18.5 %
No    81.5 %
Question #3
Do you have any seniors where you reside?
Yes    56 %
No    44 %
Question #4
Do you reside in a:
Detached house    55.5 %
Other Accommodation - Condominium, Townhouse, Apartment, Mobile Home    44.5 %
The responses in this poll of the Northern and Interior regions of the Province of British Columbia were collected randomly from the phone book. The percentage of “seniors” may be higher than actual. However, most respondents who answered “Neither” to both the H.S.T. and P.S.T./G.S.T. had seniors in their residence AND children under age 18.
The BC Liberal government has failed completely to connect with these two demographics in the North and Interior of the Province - and to a significant degree in the Lower Mainland of the Province (in our previous Lower Mainland H.S.T. poll).
Those respondents who support the H.S.T. can be found in both “Detached homes” and “Other Accommodation” in relatively equal numbers. Based on the response outcomes relating to the upcoming Referendum ‘offerings’ in the Lower Mainland of British Columbian PLUS the North and Interior of the province the support for the H.S.T. is around (33%) while the support for the P.S.T./G.S.T. is around (52%) with the cumulative number of respondents @ 2,000 representing recent polling of both regions- providing a margin of error of approximately (2%).
According, in the Lower Mainland of BC and the North and Interior - combined- and representing (75%) of the total provincial population the support for the H.S.T. is (31-35%), while support for the P.S.T./G.S.T. trends (50-54%). Respondents who want “Neither” tax is (17%) - though “Neither” will not be on the Referendum it is interesting to note that support for the H.S.T. plus those respondents who reject both consumption tax options - “Neither” combined about equals support for the P.S.T./G.S.T.
Readers should to be interested to note that anecdotally - many respondents in the North and Interior identified their response selection of the P.S.T. plus G.S.T-- as simply “GST”. Respondents in the Lower Mainland were more inclined to identify their response selection including both P.S.T./G.S.T. or depending on the rotation as “the second one” etc. but not as the “G.S.T.” In the North and Interior the G.S.T. appears to compete with the H.S.T. to a greater extent than one might have ever predicted.
Respondents are baffled by information overload as this relates to the Referendum question on the H.S.T. and P.S.T./G.S.T. Anecdotally - the only respondents who seem to be fully informed are “business owners” - but they are the first to recognize how unpopular the H.S.T. in their communities and how “misinformed” they believe consumers are--with some blaming the government for this “predicament”.
The problems relating to how the H.S.T. was brought in under former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberals are not dominant but they linger like a strong cooking odor in a home - the H.S.T. has a bad name - it isn’t easy to like it/it provides fodder for contrarian personalities but little more - and it cannot be justified by simply saying that “No taxes are popular” - though CKNW’s Bill Good has said all along - he “can’t see people voting FOR a tax.”
People in the North and Interior like the G.S.T. - it was dropped by Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 7% to 5% - keeping it very simple-//now he supports something else// and the G.S.T.’s companion in the Referendum question - the P.S.T. --was not experienced on every consumer receipt or bill - - likely mothers with younger children and seniors were the ones who recognized the exemptions on P.S.T. most - and believed this consumption tax method to be fairest - as they were able to find relief in it. Not so in the H.S.T.
Nothing about the H.S.T. is seen to be fair by respondents in the North and Interior of the province - it is unpopular - and people in this region of British Columbia “aren’t out buying expensive items every other day”.
Ultimately however - the H.S.T. has become a long drawn out and unattractive - complex taxation debate among many people who simply have difficulty just keeping their ducks in a row to get through the day-- as this women in Starbuck’s in the Interior revealed - when asking out loud for a key to the women’s washroom. The proprietor responded by saying - “There is no key for the washroom” - to which the women responded “If there is no key then how will I get in?”
At this point in time - I have to SERIOUSLY question the motive(s) behind the Referendum question provided by Craig James et al of Elections BC.
A random telephone sample using Telus Pages of 500 respondents “of voting age” in the North and Interior of the Province of British Columbia and specifically: Ashcroft, Barriere, Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon, Enderby, Salmon Arm, McKenzie, 100 Mile House, Prince George-Fort St. John and Creston B.C. This ROBBINS poll was conducted between June 7-9, 2011 and features a Margin of Error of (4.38%) 19 times out of 20 - plus or minus - based on American Research Group Inc. calculations for population of 800,000 and sample size of 500. This poll was funded in part by New Trend Optical of Port Coquitlam, British Columbian 604 942 2008.

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