Which party leader is the most trustworthy? B.C. voters weigh in
Published Tuesday, May 2, 2017 1:20PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 2, 2017 7:01PM PDT
Trustworthy but with a questionable temperament. Dishonest but a good steward of the economy. In touch with the issues but unable to bring about the changes needed in B.C.
These are some of the public perceptions of NDP Leader John Horgan, Liberal Leader Christy Clark and Green Leader Andrew Weaver, respectively, in the run-up to next week's provincial election, according to a new poll commissioned by CTV News.
For the poll, Insights West asked people across B.C. whether the different party leaders possess 10 different characteristics, all positive, and the results paint an interesting picture of how the candidates are viewed by the public.
Thirty-four per cent of respondents said they see Horgan as "honest and trustworthy," compared to 31 per cent for Weaver and just 19 per cent for Clark.
"The numbers for Christy Clark are definitely low," said pollster Mario Canseco. "It's a difficult situation when you're running to get a second term when you have so many people believing you're not honest."
Horgan came out ahead in seven of the 10 categories altogether, while Clark was on top for the remaining three. The NDP leader was seen as being the most in touch with the day-to-day issues British Columbians face, and as being the most capable of dealing with labour unions in a dispute.
Horgan was also viewed as the candidate best suited to unite the province, and the most likely to share respondents' personal values.
On the issue of the economy, he fared far worse than his main rival, however.
"What we see right now from the NDP, especially when it comes to John Horgan, is an ability to establish an emotional connection with voters," Canseco said.
"The main difficulty with the NDP is that they're not connecting well on the economic file."
Clark was seen as a good economic manager by 36 per cent of respondents, compared to just 19 for Horgan and 10 per cent for Weaver.
The Liberal leader was also most likely to be viewed as a good communicator, and as someone possessing the "right temperament" to be premier.
Though the B.C. Green Party leader wasn't the most popular candidate in any particular category, Weaver did score second place on a number of questions – including trustworthiness.
Roughly a third of respondents also said Weaver shares their values, is in touch with the problems they face, and generally agrees on the issues they care about.
As the sole Green candidate who earned a seat in the last election, he was also seen as the least capable of bringing about change in the province, however.
Beyond perceptions of the party leaders, Insights West asked respondents whether local candidates in every riding should be forced to take part in at least one public debate ahead of the election, and found broad support from more than four-in-five respondents.
On the topic of politicians showing up at festivals and celebrations, such as last month's Vaisakhi parade, there was more widespread agreement – specifically that the time-honoured tradition is a cynical vote-grab.
"What's interesting about the analysis is if you ask minority communities – East Asians and South Asians – they feel the same way," Canseco said. "They also look at this as a situation where the politicians aren't coming to my party or my festival or my celebration because they care about multiculturalism, all they want is to get some votes."
The Insights West survey was conducted online from April 26 to 28 among 802 B.C. adults. Polls of that size have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber