Polls show 'big climb' in People's Party support in B.C. since start of campaign
New election surveys have found increased support among British Columbians for the People’s Party of Canada, the right-wing party whose platform opposes vaccine passports and mandatory vaccinations for any segment of society.
According to a survey conducted by Nanos Research for CTV News and the Globe and Mail, which was released on Wednesday, support for the PPC among decided voters in B.C. has jumped from one per cent in mid-August to eight per cent in mid-September.
That’s greater than the jump nationally, which saw support spike from 2.1 per cent to 6.8 per cent.
The survey of British Columbians conducted from Aug. 18 to 22 had 221 respondents, with a margin of error of plus or minus 6.7 per cent 19 times out of 20. The survey conducted from Sept. 10 to 14 had 300 respondents, with a margin of error of 5.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Pollster Mario Canseco, the president of Vancouver-based polling firm Research Co., says his numbers, while more modest, tell a similar story.
“There’s a big climb for this party. They’re at five per cent nationally, four per cent in British Columbia,” Canseco said.
Canseco’s survey also asked those who had voted Conservative in 2019 if they planned to cast a ballot for the PPC instead in 2021. One in 10 said yes, according to his survey, which asked the question nationally.
“This is massive,” Canseco said. “The reality is, (the party) has really tapped into a lot of people who are dissatisfied with the pandemic.”
Research Co.'s survey was conducted from Sep. 11 to 13 among 1,000 adults across Canada, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
LOCAL PPC CANDIDATES SAY PARTY IS ENGAGING NEW VOTERS
Two local candidates running for the PPC in Metro Vancouver agree that on the ground, the big attraction to the party seems to be from those who support its position on vaccines and vaccine passports.
Damian Jewett, an IT consultant and software developer running in Vancouver Granville, said it’s clear from conversations he’s had with voters that people who are backing him want to be able to choose for themselves.
“We respect peoples individual right to choose whether they become vaccinated or not,” Jewett said.“My father is vaccinated, he chose to become double-vaccinated. I respect his decision.”
Brad Nickerson, a risk management consultant running in Burnaby North-Seymour, thinks the PPC is drawing in voters who aren’t typically engaged, rather than pulling from the Conservatives.
The common theme Nickerson said he’s hearing: government overreach.
“The feeling that government measures are getting too extreme, that we’re drifting toward totalitarianism” Nickerson said.
Both candidates have priorities that go beyond the PPC’s position on personal freedoms and the pandemic.
For Jewett, it’s a matter of restoring what he calls fiscal responsibility.
Nickerson said he’s heard from small and medium-sized businesses who have anxiety about the pandemic recovery and where the economy’s headed.
And both said there’s a firm line between expressing opinions, however unpopular they might be with many voters, and harassment or violence.
“I do think we need to be respectful,” Jewett said, addressing some protests across the country where those marching in the streets blocked entrances to hospitals or heckled health-care workers.
Jewett wasn’t among a group who marched outside Vancouver General Hospital on Sept. 1, but said he would have joined respectfully.
“I’m here because I want to make a difference, a good positive difference. I’m fighting for freedoms for all Canadians."
And Nickerson added he also wants to create respectful dialogue: “That’s the point of democracy,” he said.
The PPC, founded by controversial leader Maxime Bernier in 2018, brands itself as a mix of "common sense, populism, classical conservatism and libertarianism." Apart from promising to reduce government intervention in the free market, its platform includes pledges to decrease immigration, restrict the definition of hate speech in the Criminal Code, and withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord and all United Nations commitments.
A national dual-frame (land+cell) random telephone survey is conducted nightly by Nanos Research throughout the campaig using live agents. This report is comprised of a comparison of two five-day periods of the election campaign, the first wave being between Aug. 18 and 22 and the second between Sept. 10 and 14, for voters in the province of British Columbia.
The margin of error for a survey of 249 and 323 respondents is ±6.3 percentage points and ±5.5 percentage points respectively, 19 times out of 20.