Roughly half the voters who supported the BC Liberals in the 2009 provincial election would park their votes elsewhere were an election held this week, according to a new poll.

The Angus Reid Public Opinion survey found only 51 per cent of those who voted Liberal last time around would do so again under Christ Clark's reign. Fourteen per cent said they'd jump ship to the New Democrats and another 33 per cent would support John Cummins' upstart Conservative party.

Pollster Mario Canseco said the Liberals' slumping performance in the polls suggests a brewing leadership crisis for the party, and reflects "one of the biggest collapses we've ever seen."

"They're losing half their votes from the last election. This is humongous," Canseco said. "You could have a situation where the NDP with 35 or 37 per cent of the vote, which is not fantastic, can win seats that they never would have dreamed of winning."

The online poll, which surveyed 800 randomly selected adults, was conducted last Thursday and Friday, just days after veteran Liberal MLA John van Dongen's highly publicized defection to the Conservatives. The results don't reflect a significant shift from those recorded in a Forum Research poll the week before, however.

The results were significantly more positive for the NDP, with 87 per cent of past supporters declaring they'd stick with the party, two per cent favouring the Liberals and seven per cent saying they would join up with the Conservatives.

Overall, the poll found the Liberals and Conservatives in a dead heat for distant second at 23 per cent support, with the Adrian Dix-led NDP continuing to surge at 43 per cent.

Canseco said Clark and her colleagues have serious work to do convincing right-leaning voters to reunite.

"It's really about doing something bold and daring: creating jobs, doing something that is more meaningful and basically saying to that centre-right voter, ‘Cummins can't form the government,'" he said.

The fact that the Conservative leader remains relatively unknown to many of the electorate could help the Liberals, Canseco added, but Clark's declining popularity certainly won't.

Fifty-three per cent of the respondents said their opinion of Clark has worsened over the past three months, with only four per cent saying it had improved.

NDP opposition leader Adrian Dix fared much better, meanwhile, with 23 per cent saying their opinion had declined over recent months and 21 per cent saying it had improved. The majority of respondents said their opinion of John Cummins remained the same at 52 per cent.

Canseco said the poll almost certainly spells trouble for the Liberals in two pending byelections scheduled for April 19.

"Byelections in B.C. go against the government, so it's going to be really tough for the Liberals to hang on to one of the seats, let alone two," he said.

Former Port Moody mayor Joe Transolini will be batting for the NDP in the Port Moody-Coquitlam race against Liberal candidate Dennis Marsden and the BC Conservatives' Christine Clark, not to be mistaken with the sitting premier.

In Chilliwack-Hope, Laurie Throness will represent the Liberals against NDP nominee Gwen O'Mahony and John Martin of the Conservatives.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

During an appearance on Monday, Clark appeared to be making an bid for votes more than a year before the next election.

She appealed to those "who care about a future for free enterprise," to help the Liberals win the May 14, 2013 election in a speech to a crowd of about 800 sponsored by the Urban Development Institute.

"I can't do it alone, my team can't do it alone. We need everyone in this room today," she said.

While Clark didn't once mention the provincial Conservative party, high-profile property marketer Bob Rennie followed up on Clark's speech by telling the crowd that a vote for the provincial Conservatives is a vote for the NDP.

"It's splitting votes. We have to get behind the Liberal party right now, we need free enterprise."

The premier didn't want to talk about polls and refused to take questions from the media after her speech. In a running scrum that took Clark, her entourage and a crowd of media cameras and reporters through the back hallways of the hotel, Clark turned to the cameras and briefly replied that she hadn't seen the latest poll.

With files from The Canadian Press