Who You Gonna Trust?

NDP Start BC Election Campaign in Lead (NDP 44%, Libs 39%, Greens 12%), But Nearly Six-in-Ten (57%) Unsure Which Leader They Trust Most

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Vancouver, BC — A new Ipsos poll conducted using a dual online and phone methodology shows the NDP with a slight lead, driven mostly by younger voters, at the start of the provincial election campaign. The campaign appears to be wide open at this point as many, if not most, British Columbians are uncertain about which parties and leaders are best on the issues or in terms of attributes like trust, honesty and caring.

The Issues

Health care (31%) and housing affordability (29%) are the two top issues for British Columbians when asked to select the one or two issues that they feel should receive the greatest attention from BC’s leaders. On a combined basis, jobs/employment (16%) and the economy (11%) rival the top two issues. Other leading concerns include social issues like poverty and homelessness (17%), education (16%), and drugs/opioid crisis (13%).

Ethics and accountability, an emerging theme in the young campaign, is mentioned by only 6% of British Columbians.

The Horserace

The NDP start the campaign with a 5-point lead over the governing BC Liberals. Currently, 44% of decided voters say they would be most likely to support or lean towards the New Democrats. The BC Liberals are next at 39% support, followed by the Greens at 12%. Total ‘other party’ support is 5%, including 4% for the BC Conservatives. These results exclude the 23% of British Columbians who are undecided or express no preference.

  • Age Gap: A caution to these early results is that similar to the 2013 campaign, the NDP lead is largely driven by younger voters, the age segment that has been least likely to turn out to vote on election day. Among the 18-34 years segment, the NDP leads by 19 points (53% NDP vs. 34% Libs). The BC Liberals have a small 4-point lead among the 35-54 years segment (42% Libs vs. 38% NDP) and the two parties are effectively tied among the highest voter turnout segment of 55+ years (43% NDP vs. 41% Libs).
  • Gender Gap: The New Democrats have an 11-point lead among women (47% NDP vs. 36% Libs) and the two parties are essentially tied with men (42% Libs vs. 41% NDP).
  • Regions: The NDP has a large 17-point lead on Vancouver Island (47% NDP vs. 30% Libs) and a smaller 6-point lead in Metro Vancouver (46% NDP vs. 40% Libs). The BC Liberals have a 5-point lead in the Southern Interior/North (43% Libs vs. 38% NDP). The Green Party does best on Vancouver Island at 19% support.

Second Choice

The Green Party is set to benefit from potential vote switching. They are the second choice of 37% of decided voters, well ahead of the New Democrats (18%) and BC Liberals (12%).

  • Among BC Liberals voters, their second choice is split equally between the NDP (32%) and Greens (32%).
  • Among NDP voters, their second choice strongly favours the Greens (52%) over the BC Liberals (19%).
  • Among Green voters, the NDP (42%) is three times as likely as BC Liberals (14%) to be their second choice.

Deserving Re-Election

British Columbians are open to change. A majority (56%) believe that it’s time for another provincial party to take over. Only three-in-ten (28%) believe that the Clark government has done a good job and deserves re-election, while 16% are undecided.

But appetite for change and voting for change are two different things and other poll data show that British Columbians are a long way from making up their minds yet.

Best Premier

Though a majority think it’s time for a change, Christy Clark is still competitive with the other leaders as British Columbians choice as best Premier. She leads John Horgan by a margin of 30% to 28%, with Andrew Weaver well back at 11%. Three-in-ten (31%) are undecided about which of the three main party leaders would make the best Premier.

Best on Issues

  • At this stage in the campaign, many British Columbians are unsure which party would be best on most issues. As shown below, the largest number on every issue is ‘Don’t know’.
  • John Horgan and the NDP perform best on the issues of social issues (32% select NDP as best), housing affordability (30%), education (29%) and health care (28%).
  • Christy Clark and the BC Liberals perform best on the issues of the economy (29% select BC Liberals as best), jobs/employment (29%) and transportation/infrastructure (26%).
  • Andrew Weaver and the Greens perform best on the environment (35% select Greens as best). They are also the second most selected as best on the issues of natural resource development and pipelines (trailing Clark/Libs on both issues).

Which of the three main parties/leaders do you think would do the best job on each of the following issues?

John Horgan and The

NDP

Christy Clark and The BC Liberal Party

Andrew Weaver and The Green Party

Don’t know

Crime/justice issues

22%

22%

6%

50%

Drugs/opioid crisis

22%

18%

10%

50%

Economy

22%

29%

7%

42%

Education

29%

21%

8%

41%

Environment

12%

14%

35%

38%

Government spending/finances

20%

22%

10%

47%

Health care

28%

24%

8%

40%

Housing affordability

30%

18%

9%

43%

Jobs/employment

25%

29%

6%

41%

Keeping down taxes/government fees

20%

23%

10%

47%

Natural resource development

14%

24%

21%

41%

Pipelines

13%

24%

19%

44%

Social issues (e.g. poverty, homelessness)

32%

16%

11%

41%

Transportation and infrastructure

21%

26%

7%

45%

Leadership Characteristics

British Columbians are even more undecided about which leaders are best described by various leadership characteristics.

Notably, in a campaign that has started with questions of trust and honesty, a majority of British Columbians are unsure which of the three main party leaders is most trustworthy (57% don’t know) or honest (59% don’t know). And Christy Clark, the focus of those questions, is competitive with the other two leaders on both trust and honesty. Her numbers may not be great, but the numbers for the other leaders are not any better.

Christy Clark’s best numbers are for being tough (26% select Clark as best), capable (26%) and smart (24%). Horgan only gets to 20% best on being capable. Weaver’s top rating is 15% best on being likeable, although he still trails both other leaders on this attribute.

Which of the three main party leaders do you think is best described by each of the following words?

John Horgan

Christy Clark

Andrew Weaver

Don’t know

Caring

17%

17%

14%

52%

Capable

20%

26%

9%

45%

Honest

16%

12%

13%

59%

Likeable

17%

19%

15%

49%

Relatable

17%

17%

12%

54%

Smart

19%

24%

10%

47%

Tough

14%

26%

6%

54%

Trustworthy

17%

14%

12%

57%

Projected Outcome

British Columbians are split about how this election will be decided. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) project a Liberal majority, while two-in-ten (22%) project an NDP majority. Other residents believe there will be some other outcome (22%) or are undecided (19%).

About the Study

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll of 1,388 British Columbians conducted April 7 to 9, 2017. The poll was conducted using a blended methodology, including 1,001 online interviews via the Ipsos I-Say Panel and 387 telephone interviews (live interviews, including 40% by cellphone). 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 ±3.0 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.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

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

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of Canadian American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs is the polling partner for Global News. Internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry.

With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

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Who You Gonna Trust?

Contact

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