February 2011 Update on BC Liberal Leadership Contenders

Impressions of Christy Clark Worsen, but She’s Still the Clear Favourite of Past Liberal Voters Past NDP Voters Warm to George Abbott

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vancouver, BC– With less than a week to go before BC Liberal party members choose a new leader and Premier, a new Ipsos Reid online poll shows that overall public impressions of Christy Clark have slipped somewhat in the last month. Nevertheless, Clark remains a clear favourite to lead the party among past Liberal voters. The poll also shows that George Abbott has improved his standing among past NDP voters.

It is very important for readers to note that this poll is a survey of British Columbians as a whole, not of BC Liberal party members. References to Liberal voters refer to 2009 BC Liberal voters and not to BC Liberal party members.

How Closely Following Leadership Contest

A slight majority (52%, down 5 points from January) of British Columbians say they have been following the BC Liberal leadership contest either “very closely” (12%) or “somewhat closely” (40%) so far. Past Liberal voters (64%, down 7 points) are somewhat more likely than past NDP voters (52%, down 6 points) to be following the contest closely.



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Impressions of Leadership Contenders

Impressions among All Voters: Among all British Columbians, George Abbott currently has 25% positive impressions versus 19% negative impressions, for a NET impression score of +6. George Abbott is now the only one of the four Liberal leadership candidates with more positive than negative impressions.

Christy Clark is next best with the same number of positive impressions (32%) as negative impressions (32%), for a NET score of 0. The NET ratings are negative for Mike de Jong (-14) and Kevin Falcon (-27).

Since January, the ratings have shifted most for Christy Clark, who has seen her NET impression score drop from +11 to 0, based on an 8 point drop in positive ratings (from 40% to 32%) and a 3 point increase in negative ratings (from 29% to 32%).



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Impressions among 2009 BC Liberal Voters: Christy Clark continues to have the most positive image among those who voted for the BC Liberals in 2009. Half (50%) of past Liberal voters have a positive impression of Clark versus 18% with a negative impression, for a NET score of +32.

George Abbott is now the only other candidate with more positive than negative impressions among past Liberal voters (NET +15). Both Mike de Jong (NET -2) and Kevin Falcon (-5) now have slightly more negative than positive impressions.

Impressions scores of all four candidates have worsened since January.



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Impressions among 2009 NDP Voters: Impressions of George Abbott have improved among past NDP voters over the past month. In fact, Abbott now has more positive impressions (26%, up 10 points) than negative impressions (23%, down 7 points) among past NDP voters. His NET impressions score now stands at +3.

Past NDP voters continue to be most negative toward Kevin Falcon (NET -48), but are also quite negative toward both Christy Clark (-35) and Mike de Jong (-27).

While Abbott is making gains with past NDP voters, Christy Clark is moving in the opposite direction. Her positive ratings are down 8 points since January (from 25% to 17%), while her negative ratings are up 9 points (from 43% to 52%).



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Candidate Most and Least Likely to Generate Interest in Voting BC Liberal

Most Likely to Generate Interest: The poll also asked respondents to select the leadership candidate that would be most likely to get them to consider voting for the BC Liberals in the next provincial election. On this measure, Christy Clark continues to stand out from her rivals, especially among past Liberal voters.

Overall, one-quarter (25%) of British Columbians say that Christy Clark is the leadership candidate that would be most likely to get them to consider voting for the BC Liberals in the next election. George Abbott (14%) and Kevin Falcon (7%) are well back in second and third place, respectively. These overall results are basically unchanged from January.

Among 2009 BC Liberal voters, Christy Clark (43%) has more support than the four other contenders combined. George Abbott is second at 17%, followed by Kevin Falcon at 15%. Christy Clark has moved up 7 points since January (from 36% to 43%).

Among 2009 NDP voters, George Abbott (15%) has jumped ahead of Christy Clark (11%). Notably, a majority (59%) of past NDP voters say that none of the candidates would be likely to get them to consider voting for the BC Liberals.



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Least Likely to Generate Interest: The poll also asked respondents to select the leadership candidate that would be least likely to get them to consider voting for the BC Liberals in the next provincial election.

Overall, Kevin Falcon (25%) is mentioned most often as the candidate that would be least likely to get British Columbians to consider voting for the BC Liberals. Christy Clark (18%) is next most frequently mentioned, followed by Mike de Jong (11%) and George Abbott (10%). The ranking of the four candidates remains the same as in January.

  • Among 2009 BC Liberal voters, Kevin Falcon (24%) is mentioned most often, followed by Mike de Jong (16%), George Abbott (15%) and Christy Clark (14%).
  • Among 2009 NDP voters, Kevin Falcon (26%) and Christy Clark (24%) continue to stand out as the top two candidates that would be least likely to get them to consider voting for the BC Liberals.


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Leadership Contender Best Described by Attributes

Attributes among All Voters: The poll also asked respondents to select the Liberal leadership candidate that they think is best described by a battery of 11 words. This question was not asked in previous polls.

The main finding of this question should be the high level of don’t know responses, which range from 42% for ‘likeable’ to 65% for ‘visionary’.

Christy Clark is chosen most often as the candidate best described by 7 of the 11 words. Her largest lead over her competitors is on the attributes of ‘charismatic’ (25 points ahead of Falcon), ‘friendly’ (22 points ahead of Abbott) and ‘likeable’ (15 points ahead of Abbott).

George Abbott is chosen most often as the candidate best described by 4 of the 11 words, most notably for ‘down-to-earth’ (9 points ahead of Clark).



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Attributes among 2009 BC Liberal Voters: Among BC Liberal voters Christy Clark is chosen most often as the candidate best described by 9 of the 11 words. Her largest lead over her competitors is on the attributes of ‘charismatic’ (41 points ahead of Falcon), ‘friendly’ (32 points ahead of Abbott) and ‘likeable’ (24 points ahead of Abbott).

George Abbott is chosen most often as the candidate best described by 2 of the 11 words, most notably for ‘down-to-earth’ (7 points ahead of Clark).



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Attributes among 2009 NDP Voters: Among past NDP voters, the main finding is the very high level of don’t know responses to all 11 words. Christy Clark leads on 6 of the 11 words, while George Abbott leads on the other 5.



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These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid online poll conducted on behalf of Global BC. The poll was fielded February 17-21, 2011 with a representative sample of 800 adult British Columbia residents. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error will be larger 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 British Columbia population according to 2006 Census data. The polling was conducted using Ipsos Reid’s “Voice of the West Interactive Forum” – an online panel of more than 6,500 British Columbians who have been recruited to match the overall characteristics of the adult residents of the province.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Kyle Braid
Vice President
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs
(778) 373-5130
kyle.braid@ipsos.com

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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February 2011 Update on BC Liberal Leadership Contenders

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Contact

Kyle Braid
Senior Vice President / Vice-Président Senior, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 778 373 5130
kyle.braid@ipsos.com