B.C.'s premier is seeing record-breaking approval ratings as COVID-19 remains top of mind for residents, a new poll suggests.
According to an Insights West survey, the BC NDP's approval is growing stronger and Premier John Horgan's rating has ballooned to 68 per cent, which is the highest level obtained by a political leader in B.C. since Insights West began tracking eight years ago.
In the last poll, which was conducted in November, Horgan's approval rating was 51 per cent.
"These approval ratings could translate into a landslide victory for Horgan when we go to the polls in May of 2021," Insights West's analysis says.
"In fact, if an election were held right now, the NDP would receive 47 per cent of the decided popular vote primarily at the expense of other parties which have seen their support diminish since the start of the pandemic."
For opposition leaders, however, approval rating is dropping. Insights West says BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson's rating has decreased by five per cent since November to 30 per cent.
The Green's interim leader, Adam Olsen, has a 29 per cent approval rating, which is the lowest of any Green leader since the 2017 election. Meanwhile, Trevor Bolin, leader of the B.C. Conservatives, has an approval rating of 18 per cent.
COVID-19 has been a key focus for B.C. residents in recent months and Insights West says the provincial government has seen high ratings for its response.
"The government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic receives sky-high approval levels from B.C. residents on nearly every dimension," Insights West says. "(This) has likely created a halo effect for their ratings on other aspects of governing the province as ratings for nearly every single other dimension has risen since the last wave of tracking."
The poll shows 85 per cent think the government's done a good job on combating COVID-19, 84 say they've provided helpful information about the pandemic while 79 approve of Phase 2 and Phase 3.
"One of the side effects of the pandemic is that British Columbians, and in the same vein, most Canadians, are rallying behind their leaders over the past several months,” said Steve Mossop, president of Insights West, in a news release.
"This appreciation of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has translated into high approval ratings for incumbent leaders and has had a measurable effect among positive voter intentions at the expense of opposition parties in British Columbia."
Results were gathered through an online study conducted between June 24 and June 28, 2020. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.