THE extremely close provincial election in British Columbia has left a large proportion of the electorate unhappy, a new Insights West “exit poll” conducted for CTV Vancouver has found.
In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians who cast a ballot in the provincial election, more than half of voters said they would feel upset if the BC Liberals assembled a majority (57%) or minority (53%) government. Similarly high proportions of voters would feel upset if the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) were to govern in a majority (52%) or minority (50%) scenario.
A formal coalition government with the BC Liberals and the BC Green Party would upset 49% of voters, and slightly fewer (45%) would be upset with a formal coalition government featuring the BC NDP and the Greens. A merger between the BC NDP and the BC Green Party is also contentious, with 40% of voters saying this agreement would make them happy, and 43% saying they would be upset.
Across the province, three-in-five voters (60%) say they do not like the current premier and think her government should not continue after this election—including 96% of BC NDP voters and 87% of BC Green Party voters.
In addition, two-in-five voters (41%) say that they do not like the leader of the party they voted for, but felt the party seemed like the best option at this time. This proportion is highest among BC Liberal voters (49%), but drops among those who cast ballots for the BC NDP (40%) and the BC Greens (26%).
When asked about what influenced their vote in the election, a sizeable majority of voters in British Columbia (87%) point to party proposals, ideas and platforms, and more than half (54%) say they were moved by the performance of leaders in debates—including 61% of those who supported the BC Green Party.
About two-in-five voters say discussions with family (42%) and discussions with friends (38%) were influential in their final vote. Considerably fewer voters say they were influenced by interaction with candidates on social media (19%), interaction with other people on social media (17%), endorsements from non-governmental organizations (19%), endorsements from unions (16%), endorsements from trade associations (12%) and endorsements from newspapers (also 12%).
When asked about specific proposals made by different parties and candidates in the campaign, more than three-in-four voters say they would be “happy” if the following were implemented:
* Balancing the provincial budget (89%)
* Establishing a ministry responsible for mental health and addictions (84%)
* Banning grizzly bear trophy hunting in British Columbia (82%)
* Establishing a public watchdog to oversee government advertising and communications (81%)
* Banning political donations from unions and corporations (78%)
More than half of voters also said they would welcome the following ideas:
* Allowing ride-hailing services—such as Uber and Lyft—to operate in British Columbia (63%)
* Adopting a proportional representation system for provincial elections (59%)
* Implementing a $10-a-day Child Care Program in British Columbia (55%, and 64% among voters aged 18-to-34)
* Eliminating bridge tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges (53%)
* Expanding the development and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) (52%)
“Voters of all political stripes are urging whoever forms the next government to take action on issues such as mental health and big money in politics,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “There is also an appetite for electoral reform, particularly from those who cast ballots for the New Democrats and the Greens.”
The idea of voting strategically was not as popular in this provincial election as it was in the 2015 Canadian federal election. Across the province, just one-in-four voters (26%) said they voted for the candidate in their riding who had the best chance of defeating a party they dislike, even if the candidate they voted for was not their first preference. In the Insights West exit poll of British Columbians conducted after the 2015 federal election, 34% of voters in British Columbia said they voted “strategically”.
Traditional media continues to be the main form of political engagement, with 81% of voters saying they saw, read or heard an advertisement for a provincial election candidate and 78% saying they saw, read or heard media stories where provincial election candidates discussed their position on issues.
Almost half of voters (48%) read a provincial party’s electoral platform, and two-in-five (39%) watched or attended a debate featuring provincial election candidates.
Interaction on social media and at a personal level is decidedly lower, with 27% of voters saying they visited the website of a provincial party or candidate, 19% saying they met canvassers or candidates who knocked at their door, and 13% saying they interacted with a provincial election candidate on social media.