'Blockbuster' poll shows BC NDP trouncing Liberals
Published Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:16AM PDT
If an election were held today, the BC Liberals would be in for a shellacking, according to a new poll that suggests the New Democrats would capture all but 10 seats in the legislature.
Just 21 per cent of the respondents in the phone survey, released Tuesday by Forum Research, pledged support for the Liberals, placing the floundering governing party in a tie with John Cummins' Conservatives.
Forty-seven per cent said they'd vote for the NDP, which pollsters calculate would put the surging lefties in line to score 75 of 85 seats in a provincial election.
Opposition leader Adrian Dix says the results reflect a failure of the Liberals' "out of control" attack ads aimed at him and his party.
"I think people want to choose positive politics," Dix said. "I'm not running personal attack ads… the premier apparently thinks that's going to work for her, and we'll see how that goes."
Most British Columbians won't head to the ballot boxes for more than a year, and Dix said he's not counting his chickens – but the survey results may suggest smooth sailing for former Port Moody mayor Joe Trasolini, who's running with the NDP in a pending byelection.
The Forum poll also suggests the Liberals have botched their handling of the ongoing teachers' dispute, with more than half of respondents disapproving of the government's back-to-work legislation, Bill 22.
Only one-third of respondents supported the legislation, which imposes a cooling-off period preventing teachers from striking for six months, as well as changes to class sizes and composition.
Simon Fraser University public policy professor Doug McArthur called the results "stunning."
"This is kind of a blockbuster poll," McArthur said. "The big problem the Liberals have right now is that people don't have a sense of confidence in their ability to govern. They seem to be too engaged in politics."
More respondents disapproved of Education Minister George Abbott's job performance than BC Teachers' Federation president Susan Lambert's, at 56 and 46 per cent, respectively, but there was still little support for the union as a whole.
Respondents were three times as likely to say they support the teachers than the BCTF, which received only 16-per-cent support for its role in the dispute.
McArthur said the poll should be taken with a grain of salt, having been conducted in the midst of a bitter labour battle, but it's imperative that Clark and her government figure out a way to clean up the mess.
"This is a real kind of tipping point," McArthur said. "If the numbers are going this way, there's a danger that the Liberals slip behind the Conservatives… if that starts to happen, then anything can start to unravel."
The telephone poll surveyed 1,063 randomly selected British Columbians over the age of 18 on Monday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Rob Brown