Three in four people would vote to strike down the controversial harmonized sales tax if B.C. held its first citizen-initiated referendum today, according to an Angus Reid Public Opinion survey released Thursday.

Of more than 1,500 British Columbians polled last week, 76 per cent said they disagree with the implementation of the impending HST, which is set to take effect July 1. Disagreement is most pronounced on Vancouver Island and in the Southern Interior, where 78 per cent of those polled said they were against the HST.

"People are overwhelmingly opposed to it," Hamish Marshall, Research Director for Angus Reid, told

"It's pretty remarkable to have that many people agree on anything in the province."

When asked how they would vote in a referendum on HST, 76 per cent polled said they would vote to abolish it. Seventeen per cent said they would keep it and another seven per cent are undecided. More than four-in-five voters (82 per cent) said they would cast their ballot to abolish the controversial tax.

"It's truly remarkable. All political stripes and political backgrounds are all coming together on this," Marshall said.

The poll also found the support for the reigning BC Liberals sagging because of "anger and rancor" towards the tax.

Across the province, 46 per cent of undecided voters say they would support the B.C. New Democrats in their riding if a provincial election were held tomorrow. The Liberals trailed with 26 per cent (down three points since April), followed by the Green Party with 14 per cent.

Respondents were also asked if they would reconsider their support if the Liberals backed off the HST. About one-in-five, or 22 per cent, said they would, but another 28 per cent were less likely to do so.

On Wednesday, Premier Campbell told CTV News British Columbians would not receive $300 HST rebate cheques, as the Ontario government is sending out to its residents to soften the blow of the tax.

"We did a number of rebate cheques when we did the new carbon levy, the public doesn't generally like that," Campbell said. "I think that one of the things they feel is, ‘Don't try and trick me by sending me a cheque.'"

But the anti-HST movement is picking up steam in British Columbia. Late last month, the Fight HST group said it had collected enough signatures to force the government to reconsider the controversial tax.

Speaking to CTV News, campaign organizer and former B.C. premier Bill Vander Zalm called on Campbell to immediately repeal the tax.

"This is a referendum, and the government doesn't need to spend another $20 million postponing the thing. They can deal with it," he said.

Recalling MLA?

Poll figures indicated people against the HST could go to great lengths to stop it, even at the expense of the Liberal party. Voters in ridings held by the Liberals were also asked if they would sign a petition to recall their MLA -- a suggestion that has been proposed by anti-HST activists.

Almost half of respondents in those ridings (45 per cent) said they would definitely sign a petition to recall their MLA and another 17 per cent would probably sign it.

In total, 31 per cent of people who voted for the BC Liberals in the last election said they would sign a recall petition.

For an MLA to be recalled, the petition must be signed by more than 40 per cent of the voters who were, on the date of the last election of the Member, registered voters for the Member's electoral district, Marshall said.

But the poll found that even if Gordon Campbell were to step down there would be little impact on the BC Liberal vote.

Sixteen per cent of voters would be more likely to vote BC Liberal if there was another leader, but 23 per cent would be less likely.

"For a party caught in a difficult political situation, neither of these drastic options provides much relief or an easy way out," Marshall said.

Methodology: Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,612 randomly selected British Columbia adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists from June 1 to 6. The margin of error is +/- 2.4%.