THE third Insights West “BC Government Report Card” conducted in partnership with Business in Vancouver shows that residents of the province are losing confidence on the way Victoria is dealing with several pressing issues.
In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, the provincial administration lost ground on eight of the ten issues that are reviewed twice a year. Victoria’s best ratings—with the endorsement of just over a third of residents—are in dealing with crime and public safety (36%, -5 since May) and the economy and jobs (35%, -5).
Less than three-in-ten British Columbians think the provincial government is doing a good job in handling energy, pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) (28%, -8), health care (27%, =), the environment (26%, -9), education (25%, -3), business taxes and red tape (25%, -3) and the shortage of skilled workers (25%, =). The worst ratings are in government accountability (19%, -7) and housing, poverty and homelessness (17%, -5).
“The biggest drops observed for the provincial government this semester are on the environment, energy and accountability,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “Still, there is also a higher level of dissatisfaction on issues that used to see better ratings, such as safety and jobs.”
When it comes to specific decisions, almost half of British Columbians (47%) think the provincial government did a good job in implementing changes to legislation related to the sale of alcohol, and slightly fewer (43%) feel the same way about apologizing to the Chinese community in BC for “historical wrongs”.
On the energy file, there is a pronounced decline in perceptions related to the push for the development of LNG, with just 34% (-5) saying the provincial government has done a good job. The numbers are lower for the way Victoria has dealt with the Northern Gateway Pipeline (27% Good, 55% Bad), the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline (23% Good, 57% Bad), and the Mount Polley tailings pond breach (18% Good, 53% Bad).
The most important issue for British Columbians is the economy and jobs (21%, -1), followed by health care (18%, +5), housing, poverty and homelessness (17%, +3), and government accountability (13%, +2).
THIS month, the opposition BC New Democratic Party (NDP) is first among decided voters with 40% (+1 since April), followed by the governing BC Liberals with 36% (-2), the BC Green Party with 14% (unchanged), and the BC Conservative Party with 8% (also unchanged).
The New Democrats hold an 18-point lead over the BC Liberals among female voters (46% to 28%) but are still behind the governing party among men (34% to 45%).
The NDP is the top choice for voters in Metro Vancouver (41%) and Vancouver Island (40%), while the BC Liberals are first in the Southern Interior and the North (41%). More than one-in-five decided voters in Vancouver Island (22%) currently support the Greens.
Most British Columbians are still undecided when asked about the performance of interim BC Green Party leader Adam Olsen (56%) and BC Conservative leader Dan Brooks (also 56%). Official opposition and BC NDP leader John Horgan’s rating stands at 34% (+3), while 30% (+4) disapprove of his performance.
Just one third of residents (34%, -7) approve of the way Premier and BC Liberals leader Christy Clark is handling her duties, while 54% (+5) disapprove.
All four party leaders post negative momentum scores (-37 for Clark, -8 for Brooks, -4 for Olsen and -2 for Horgan). Across the province, 43% of residents say their opinion of Premier Clark has worsened in the past six months, including 24% of people who voted for the BC Liberals in 2013.