April 2011 Update on BC NDP Leadership Contenders

Public Paying Little Attention to Leadership Race

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Vancouver, BC – A new Ipsos Reid online poll shows that the provincial NDP leadership race, which wraps up on April 17th, has failed to capture the attention of British Columbians. The poll also shows Mike Farnworth staying well ahead of the other candidates in public opinion, but still slightly behind Christy Clark as British Columbians’ choice as to who would make the better Premier.

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

How Closely Following Leadership Contest

Currently, only one-third (33%) of British Columbians say they have been following the provincial NDP leadership contest either “very closely” (6%) or “somewhat closely” (27%) so far. This is down from 39% in February and 53% in January.

Past NDP voters (48%) are much more likely than past BC Liberal voters (27%) to be following the contest closely, although interest has dropped among both sets of voters.


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Impressions of Leadership Contenders

Impressions among All Voters: Among all British Columbians, Mike Farnworth has 37% positive impressions versus 15% negative impressions, for a NET impression score of +22, which places him well ahead of the four other leadership contenders. John Horgan is next best with a NET impression score of +3, followed by Nicholas Simons (-4), Adrian Dix (-6) and Dana Larsen (-10).

These results are mostly consistent with a poll taken in February.

With only a short time to go before party members vote, many British Columbians still have little or no impression of these leadership candidates. Only about half (52%) of British Columbians have formed either a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ impression of Mike Farnworth at this point. This is slightly higher than for Adrian Dix (44% have formed an impression) and much higher than for John Horgan (21%), Dana Larsen (18%) and Nicholas Simons (12%).


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Impressions among 2009 NDP Voters: Among those who voted for the NDP in 2009, impressions are the most positive for Mike Farnworth (NET +38). Past NDP voters are also more likely to have positive than negative impressions of Adrian Dix (NET +15), John Horgan (+14) and Nicholas Simons (+5). Dana Larsen (NET -2) has about an equal number of positive and negative impressions.

These results are mostly consistent with the February poll, although Mike Farnworth’s negatives have moved up 8 points (from 5% to 13%).


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Impressions among 2009 BC Liberal Voters: Among those who voted for the BC Liberals in 2009, only Mike Farnworth has more positive than negative impression ratings (NET +19). Past BC Liberal voters are most negative toward Adrian Dix (NET -22) and Dana Larsen (-17). They are also somewhat negative toward John Horgan (NET -9) and Nicholas Simons (-9).

While still the most negatively viewed, the numbers for Adrian Dix have improved since February. His positives have risen by 4 points (from 10% to 14%) and his negatives have dropped 9 points (from 45% to 36%).


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Candidate Most and Least Likely to Generate Interest in Voting NDP

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 NDP in the next provincial election.

On this measure, Mike Farnworth continues to be well ahead of the other candidates. Among all voters, Mike Farnworth leads at 25%, with Adrian Dix well back at 8%. Six-in-ten (59%) British Columbians said ‘none’ (37%) or ‘don’t know’ (22%).

Among past NDP voters, Farnworth leads Dix by 34% to 13%. Among past Liberal voters, Farnworth leads Dix by 25% to 4%.


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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 NDP in the next provincial election.

Among all voters, Adrian Dix is first at 19% followed by Dana Larsen at 10% and Mike Farnworth at 9%. A majority (56%) of British Columbians said ‘none’ (24%) or ‘don’t know’ (32%).

Among 2009 NDP voters, Mike Farnworth (15%) is first, but Adrian Dix (13%) and Dana Larsen (12%) are basically in a statistical tie. Among 2009 BC Liberal voters, Adrian Dix (27%) is far ahead of Dana Larsen (11%).


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NDP Candidates vs. Christy Clark as Better Premier

Among All Respondents: The poll also asked respondents to rate each of the five NDP leadership candidates against BC Liberal leader Christy Clark on the attribute of who would make the better Premier of BC.

On this measure, Christy Clark beats all five of the NDP candidates. Mike Farnworth does best, trailing Clark by only 6 points. Adrian Dix and John Horgan are next best, but both trail Clark by a margin of 19 points.

Thirty percent or more of survey respondents said they could not offer an opinion on these questions.


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Among 2009 NDP Voters: Among 2009 NDP voters, three of the five candidates are well ahead of Christy Clark as potential Premiers. Mike Farnworth does best with a 45 point lead over Clark, followed by Adrian Dix and John Horgan, both with 31 point leads over Clark.


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Among 2009 Liberal Voters: Among 2009 BC Liberal voters, Christy Clark decisively beats all five of the NDP candidates. Even Mike Farnworth, who is positively viewed by BC Liberal voters, does not stack up well against Christy Clark in terms of who would make a better Premier.


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These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid online poll conducted on behalf of Global BC. The poll was fielded March 31 to April 4, 2011 with a representative sample of 700 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 ±3.7 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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April 2011 Update on BC NDP Leadership Contenders

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