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Will B.C.'s appetite for change in municipal elections translate to provincial politics?

In the bid to become B.C.'s next premier, former cabinet minister David Eby is being challenged by climate activist Anjali Appadurai – and a new poll sheds some light on how the contest could play out.

A Research Co. survey of 800 British Columbians suggests Appadurai has a lot of work to do to convince British Columbians to choose her over a party stalwart. Of those asked, 30 per cent approved of Eby, while just 12 per cent approved of Appadurai.

Among just NDP voters, that gap grows to 42 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

The poll also asked who voters would choose for the province's top job if they were sent to the polls now. Eby was favoured over Kevin Falcon by nine per cent, while Appadurai trailed the BC Liberal leader by two per cent – which works out to a statistical tie. The margin of error s +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


At a campaign event in Vancouver announcing a jobs and climate plan, the NDP leadership hopeful said she believed voters are in the mood for change. Asked by CTV if her policies were broad enough to beat Kevin Falcon, Appadurai responded, "absolutely."

"I believe and we have received countless signals over the years that British Columbians are ready for a much bolder and ambitious and hopeful vision for the future," Appadurai added.

Change was the theme of municipal elections in the province as the two largest cities -- along with dozens of other communities -- saw incumbent mayors ousted.

Mario Canseco, a pollster who is the president of Research Co. noted the mood is changing.

"We've seen a significant number of municipalities that went against the governments that were there last week, so the sentiment for change is growing."

Falcon believes that mood for change extends to provincial politics. He pointed out NDP cabinet ministers George Heyman and Adrian Dix, along with Eby endorsed Kennedy Stewart whose bid for re-election in Vancouver was decidedly unsuccessful.

Falcon criticized them for "...knocking on doors to maintain the status quo, when it was so clear to me the public wanted to see change."

Heyman said he didn't see it that way.

"I'm not worried about translating what happened at a municipal level to a provincial level. The people are different the issues are different, so we'll see what the mood is in 2024," he told reporters in Victoria.


Fall 2024 is when the next election is supposed to be held. Yet, parties do their own polling to see what issues are important and how their leaders are doing. When Horgan called the snap election in 2020, his approval was high. For whoever wins the leadership race, that type of data will be crucial for making a calculation about taking the risk of sending people to the polls early.

"You want to call it under favourable circumstances -- so it might be time to wait it out a bit and establish more of an emotional connection with voters before you pull the plug," explained Canseco.

What remains to be seen, is whether Appadurai has recruited enough new NDP members to vote her in as the next premier. This week she finds out if she's passed the party's vetting process.

"I ran as a federal candidate for the federal NDP last year," Appadurai said. "I'm not very worried at all about being vetted out of this process." Top Stories

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