British Columbians are not looking for change: Ipsos poll

The NDP has a 23-point lead in Metro Vancouver: 55% NDP vs. 32% Liberals

A new Ipsos poll conducted using a dual online and phone methodology shows the NDP with substantial leads in voter preference, leadership and issue management. There are, however, a larger number of undecided voters compared to the start of previous BC elections.

The Issues

British Columbians care about a wide variety of different issues in this provincial election. Coronavirus/COVID-19 is at the top of the list but is still only mentioned by three-in-ten (30%) residents. Other important issues include cost of living/affordability (24%), jobs and the economy (19%), health care (19%) and housing affordability/availability (17%).

The Horserace

It’s not close. The NDP start the campaign with an 18-point lead over the BC Liberals. Currently, 51% of decided voters say they would be most likely to support or lean towards the New Democrats. The BC Liberals are next at 33% support, followed by the Greens at 12%. Total ‘other party’ support is 4%. These results exclude the 31% of British Columbians who are undecided or express no preference.

The good news for the BC Liberals and Greens is that there are more undecided voters available this election compared to the start of the 2017 campaign (31% today vs. 23% in first poll of 2017 campaign).

Age Breaks: The NDP leads by a wide margin across all age groups, including by 18-points among traditionally higher turnout older voters (NDP 52% vs. Libs 34% among 55+ years).

Gender Breaks: The NDP have a 25-point lead among women (53% NDP vs. 28% Libs) and a narrower, but still substantial, 11-point lead among men (49% Libs vs. 38% NDP).

Region Breaks: The NDP has a large 26-point lead on Vancouver Island (51% NDP vs. 25% Libs) and a 23-point lead in Metro Vancouver (55% NDP vs. 32% Libs). Things are much closer in the Southern Interior/North, where the NDP has only a 5-point lead (44% NDP vs. 39% Libs). The Green Party does best on Vancouver Island at 20% support (vs. 11% in Metro Vancouver, 9% in Southern Interior/North).

Deserving Re-Election

The 2017 election opened with nearly six-in-ten (56%) voters saying it was time for change. This election, only half as many voters (28%) say it is time for another provincial party to take over. Nearly half (45%) of British Columbians believe that the Horgan government has done a good job and deserves re-election. As with vote, the good news for the other parties is that there is a sizable pool of voters who are undecided about whether it is time for change (27% today vs. 16% in first poll of 2017 campaign).

Best Premier

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and newly elected Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau need to use the first part of the campaign to raise their profiles. John Horgan, at 44%, has a huge lead over both Wilkinson (14%) and Furstenau (6%) as the leader who British Columbians think would make the best Premier of the province. Again, the number of undecided voters is large, at 36% (vs. 31% in first poll of 2017).

Best on Issues

John Horgan and the NDP own most issues. They are well ahead on the top 5 campaign issues of Coronavirus/COVID-19 (31-point lead), cost of living/affordability (18-point lead), jobs/economy (11 point lead), health care (23-point lead) and housing affordability/availability (20-point lead).

Sonia Furstenau and the Green Party lead on the issue of climate change and the environment. Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberals do not lead on any issue and are closest on government deficits and debt (4-points behind), which a top issue for only 6% of voters.

Election Timing and Impact

There is no pervasive anger at the decision by John Horgan and the NDP to hold an election now instead of waiting for the planned fixed election date in October 2021. Just less than half (46%) of British Columbians say they disapprove of having an election now, while 32% approve of the decision.

The current NDP lead in vote intention is the best sign that voters are not yet planning to punish John Horgan and the NDP for calling a snap election. We also asked respondents directly whether it would impact their vote and only 15% said they were seriously considering a vote for the NDP and are less likely to do so now. Twice as many residents (32%) said they were seriously considering a vote for the NDP and the snap election has no impact on their vote.

Another two-in-ten (21%) residents said they were not seriously considering a vote for the NDP and one-third (32%) had no opinion on this question.

Confidence in Voting Safely

Seven-in-ten (70%) residents say they feel either ‘very confident’ (38%) or ‘somewhat confident’ (32%) that they will be able to safely cast a vote in this election being held during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly two-in-ten (18%) feel ‘not very confident’ (11%) or ‘not at all confident’ (6%) about voting safely, while 12% are undecided.

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll of 1,251 British Columbians conducted September 24 to 28, 2020. The poll was conducted on behalf of Global BC and CKNW using a blended methodology, including 1,001 online interviews via the Ipsos I-Say Panel and 250 telephone interviews (live interviews, mix of landline and cell). These data were statistically weighted by region, age, gender and education to ensure the sample composition reflects that of the actual BC population according to Census data. The precision of Ipsos polls containing online data is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the overall poll is accurate to within +/ – 3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all eligible voters been polled. Some of the questions were asked only of online respondents. The result for these questions is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all eligible voters been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.