Poll shows signs of life for stagnant BC Liberals
Andrew Weichel, CTV British Columbia
Published Friday, November 23, 2012 6:40PM PST
Last Updated Friday, November 23, 2012 8:45PM PST
After months stagnating in the polls, the BC Liberals appear to be inching toward the opposition New Democrats in popularity.
Support for the governing Liberals eked up three points to 29 per cent in the latest Angus Reid Public Opinion poll, released Friday, while the NDP dropped two points to 47 per cent.
Pollster Mario Canseco said even though the NDP has managed to maintain a commanding lead, the Liberals should be pleased by the sudden signs of life.
“This shows that they can become competitive if they keep it up and they start gaining every month until the election,” Canseco said.
Most of the momentum appears to have come at the expense of the BC Conservatives, whose support dropped to the lowest level in 18 months.
“Eight months ago, they had 23 per cent of voters saying they would vote for the BC Conservatives. Now that number is down to 12,” Canseco said. “This idea that the BC Conservatives could actually challenge the Liberals and be the centre-right alternative is now no longer feasible.”
The Green party remained in last place at nine per cent.
The New Democrats also remained a strong frontrunner in the leadership category, with Adrian Dix receiving 48 per cent approval. Christy Clark matched her party, gaining three points to reach 29 per cent approval.
More promisingly for the Liberals, Clark and Dix now appear tied in voter confidence when it comes to economic stewardship.
“Dix used to be ahead of her in the last four surveys, now they are tied again. So this issue of connecting on the economy has certainly helped her,” Canseco said.
Courting the female voter
But if the party wants to be avoid a shellacking in the next provincial election in May 2013, Canseco said they still need to make headway with two groups: young voters and women.
“Women tend to care more about issues such as health care and education, which are usually handled better by the NDP,” Canseco said, adding that the “social democratic values of the younger voter tend to be more in tune with what the NDP is discussing.”
The latest poll shows NDP earning 49 per cent support among women, while Liberals increased four per cent to 25.
Clark has already been hard at work courting women, holding a number of closed-door meetings with groups across the province. But pollsters and pundits alike say the Premier is going to have to start offering firm female-friendly policies if her party hopes to close the gender gap.
“There’s many cherries she can pick that really resonate with women,” conservative political commentator Alise Mills told CTV News. “Things that women like me are looking at is can I afford to send my child to post-secondary? Are my streets safe?”
Mills said policies favouring small business owners would also go over well, as women make up the majority of that group, as would calls for lower taxes.
“Taxation, women talk about this all the time – they want more money in their pockets to be able to pay for child care, to be able to do other things.”
The Angus Reid poll surveyed 800 randomly selected B.C. adults online on Nov. 21 and 22. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Rob Brown