Vancouver, BC – A new Ipsos Reid telephone poll taken six months ahead of the next BC provincial election could easily be mistaken for every other provincial political poll conducted by Ipsos Reid over the past two years. The latest poll shows the BC Liberals (44%, down 3 points from June) with a 9 point lead over the NDP (35%, up 2 points) among decided voters, with the Green Party in third place at 16% support (unchanged). The vote result in this poll is very similar to late year polls conducted in both December 2007 (Libs 45%, NDP 35%, Greens 16%) and December 2006 (Libs 45%, NDP 36%, Greens 16%).
Approval ratings for the two main party leaders and the BC provincial government are also essentially unchanged. Gordon Campbell has a 50% approval rating as Premier (up 1 point from June) and Carole James has a 54% approval rating as NDP and Opposition leader (down 1 point). Meanwhile, a slight majority of 53% of British Columbians say they approve of the overall performance of the BC Liberal government, up a statistically insignificant 2 points from when this question was last asked in March 2008.
When it comes to their choice of Premier, British Columbians appear to be more comfortable with Gordon Campbell. Campbell (53%, up 3 points from March) leads Carole James (37%, down 1 point) as the public’s choice as to which leader would make the better Premier of British Columbia. Campbell (56%) also leads James (34%) as the leader who British Columbians would trust more to deal with the BC economy in a time of economic downturn or uncertainty.
In other findings, a majority (55%) of British Columbians say they oppose the provincial carbon tax (41% support). Opposition to the carbon tax is down 4 points from a similar, but not identical, question asked in June (the June question did not specifically mention the provincial government promise that all carbon tax revenue will be returned to British Columbians through a combination of tax cuts and credits).
These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid telephone poll conducted between November 5 and November 12, 2008. The poll is based on a randomly selected sample of 801 adult British Columbians. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of BC been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual BC population according to 2006 Census data.
In order to avoid confusion with the recent federal election, all respondents were reminded at the start of the poll of the names of the major parties and party leaders in BC provincial politics.
BC Liberals (44%, down 3 points) Remain Comfortably Ahead of NDP (35%, up 2 points) and Greens (16%, unchanged)
The BC Liberals currently have the support of 44% (down 3 points from June) of the province’s decided voters and a 9 point lead over the NDP at 35% (up 2 points). The Green Party currently has the support of 16% (unchanged) of decided voters. These results exclude the 14% of British Columbians who are undecided or express no preference.
- The BC Liberals lead by 13 points in the Lower Mainland (46% Lib vs. 33% NDP) and by a smaller 4 point margin in the rest of BC (41% Lib vs. 37% NDP).
- The BC Liberals lead by 14 points among men (47% Lib vs. 33% NDP) and by a smaller 5 points among women (41% Lib vs. 36% NDP).
- The BC Liberals lead by 23 points among higher income households (53% Lib vs. 30% NDP) and by 14 points among middle income households (46% Lib vs. 32% NDP). The NDP leads by 7 points among lower income households (40% NDP vs. 33% Lib).
While the BC Liberal lead has narrowed somewhat from June (9 points vs. 14 points), the current results are well in-line with Ipsos Reid tracking over the past two years. Since September 2006, BC Liberal has support has varied between 44% and 49%, NDP support has varied between 33% and 37%, and Green support has varied between 13% and 16%.
Approval Ratings Steady for Gordon Campbell (50%, up 1 point), Carole James (54%, down 1 point) and BC Liberal Government (53%, up 2 points)
Carole James’ approval rating as NDP and Opposition leader is stable. A slight majority (54%, down 1 point) of British Columbians approve of her performance, including 9% “strongly” and 45% “moderately”. Roughly one-third (34%, up 1 point) of residents say they disapprove of her performance (16% “strongly”, 18% “moderately”).
- James' approval rating is higher among women (59%) than among men (48%).
Consistent with past surveys, British Columbians are split in their assessment of Gordon Campbell’s performance as Premier. About half (50%, up 1 point) of residents say they approve of Campbell’s performance, including 15% “strongly” and 35% “moderately”. A similar proportion (46%, down 1 point) disapproves of his performance, including 25% “strongly” and 21% “moderately”.
- Campbell’s approval rating is higher in the Lower Mainland (54% vs. 46% rest of BC) and with higher/middle income households (56% higher, 54% middle vs. 43% lower).
A slight majority (53%, up 2 points from March) of British Columbians say they approve of the overall performance of the BC Liberal Government, including 16% who “strongly” approve and 37% who “moderately” approve. Roughly four-in-ten (42%, down 1 point) disapprove of the government’s performance, including 21% who “strongly” disapprove and 21% who “somewhat” disapprove.
- Government approval is higher among Lower Mainland residents (57% vs. 48% rest of BC) and higher/middle income households (62% higher, 56% middle vs. 45% lower).
Gordon Campbell (53%, up 3 points) Leads Carole James (37%, down 1 point) as Best Premier
Gordon Campbell (53%, up 3 points from March) leads Carole James (37%, down 1 point) by 16 points as British Columbians’ choice as to which leader would make the better Premier of British Columbia. The remaining 10% of British Columbians are undecided.
- Campbell leads by 26 points in the Lower Mainland (58% Campbell vs. 32% James) and by a statistically insignificant 2 points in the rest of BC (46% Campbell vs. 44% James).
- Campbell leads by 25 points among men (58% Campbell vs. 33% James) and by 7 points among women (48% Campbell vs. 41% James).
- Campbell leads by 27 points among higher income households (59% Campbell vs. 32% James) and by 19 points among middle income households (55% Campbell vs. 36% James). Campbell and James are effectively tied among lower income households (46% Campbell vs. 45% James).
Campbell leads Carole James by a slightly wider margin when it comes to who the public trusts more to deal with the BC economy in a time of economic downturn or uncertainty. On this measure, Campbell is selected by 56% of residents compared to 34% for James. The remaining 10% of British Columbians are undecided.
Majority (55%) Still Oppose Carbon Tax
A majority (55%) of British Columbians say they oppose the provincial carbon tax on gasoline and other fossil fuels to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. This includes 40% who “strongly oppose” the carbon tax and 15% who “moderately oppose” the carbon tax. Four-in-ten (41%) residents say they support the carbon tax, including 17% “strongly support” and 25% “moderately support”.
A June 2008 Ipsos Reid survey found 59% opposition and 39% support for the carbon tax. However, the June question is not directly comparable as it did not include the information that the “provincial government says that all carbon tax revenue will be returned to British Columbians through a combination of tax cuts and credits.”
For The Record: Recent Ipsos Polling and Actual Election Outcomes
- US Presidential Election 2008: Ipsos was the most accurate of 22 firms polling the Presidential race: 53% Obama/Biden (actual 52.7%), 46% McCain/Palin (actual 46.0%).
- Canadian Federal Election 2008: Ipsos Reid's last poll compared to the actual results was Conservatives 34% (actual 37.65%), Liberals 29% (actual 26.26%), NDP 18% (actual 18.18%), Green 8% (actual 6.78%), and Bloc 9% (actual 9.98%).
- Alberta Election, 2008: Ipsos Reid's last poll (conducted mid-campaign) compared to the actual results was Progressive Conservative 49% (actual 52.66%), Liberal 28% (actual 26.37%), NDP 14% (actual 8.52%), Wildrose Alliance 5% (actual 6.77%), and Green 4% (actual 4.58%).
- Ontario Election, 2007: Ipsos Reid's last poll compared to the actual results was Liberal 43% (actual 42.25%), Conservative 32% (actual 31.62%), NDP 18% (actual 16.77%), and Green 6% (actual 8.02%).
- BC Election, 2005: Ipsos Reid's last poll compared to the actual results was Liberals 47% (actual 45.8%), NDP 39% (actual 41.52%) and Green 11% (actual 9.17%).
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Ipsos Reid Public Affairs
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