Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Forget the Conservative surge: in B.C., the parties are right where they were in 2004 vote

B.C. remains the stubborn exception to the Conservatives' big gain this election, a fact that doesn't seem to have been much reported. It's a reality that has big implications for people looking at voting strategically.
Here's a brief news story I did on the issue.

VICTORIA -- Liberal support may have crumbled across the country, but a new poll says the party is holding its ground in B.C. as the campaign enters its last days.

After 18 months of minority government and seven weeks of campaigning, the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats have almost exactly the same level of support in B.C. they had in the 2004 election, according to the Ipsos Reid poll.

The poll found the Conservatives have the support of 37 per cent of decided voters in B.C., compared with their 36-per-cent share of the popular vote in the last election.

Liberal support is unchanged at 28 per cent, and the NDP has inched up a statistically insignificant two points to 29 per cent. The Greens are unchanged at six per cent.

The findings buck a national trend which has seen big gains for the Conservatives and losses for the Liberals.

Nationally, the poll found the Conservatives' 30-per-cent share of the popular vote jump to 38 per cent in the poll, taken on the weekend.

The Liberals' have seen their support plunge from 37 per cent to 26 per cent, while the NDP has gone from 16 per cent to 19 per cent.

The results suggest another tight race in B.C., with close battles expected in up to 20 ridings.

The B.C. results are surprising, said Kyle Braid of Ipsos Reid's Vancouver office. "We definitely seem to be bucking the trend, and it's got me scratching my head," he said.

Braid said Liberal support may be holding because Ottawa has come through for the province in a number of areas, including funding for transportation projects.

British Columbians' social values on issues like same-sex marriage and drug use may put them at odds with Harper's party, he said. "You can do a host of issues where British Columbians are not entirely in line with the Conservatives," he said.

And the allegations of Liberal party corruption may have less of an effect here, Braid said.

"The third theory is that in B.C. we've gotten used to scandals," he said. "That's possibly the best explanation."

University of Victoria professor Norman Ruff said B.C. is still going to be the scene of a number of critical races in Monday's election.

All three party leaders are expected to return to the province over the next few days to shore up support.

The Conservatives captured 22 of B.C.'s 36 seats in 2004. The Liberals captured eight seats and the NDP five. Chuck Cadman was elected as an independent.

The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted from Jan. 13 to Jan. 15. A total of 8,256 Canadians were surveyed, with national results considered accurate within 1.1 per cent 19 times out of 20.


Anonymous said...

My Gosh, somebody in the media who isn't pushing folks to vote Conservative. What a refreshing difference.

Way to go Paul

Gazetteer said...

Maybe Mr. Willcocks is one of the few that wasn't swayed by that 'Big Mo' StratCounsel poll that ignored actual voter intentions when it was splashed across the front page of the Globe a couple of weeks ago....

Anyway, my real question is this: What does Mr. Willcocks think of Vaughn Palmer's suggestion on As It Happens Wed night that Vancouver Island might go Big Dipper in its entirety?

(details of Mr. Palmer's statements at my place).

Anonymous said...

The NDP must be doing very well on the Island as the Liberals and some other group have been sending their brochures into mail boxes of folks in places a few blocks from the riding boundaries.

One Liberal in Victoria has so many signs along the major roads it's getting to look like a act of desperation.

The voters will decide and a lot of what we think, will be dust by next Tuesday.
But let's not forget Palmer has both ears to the ground at all times and tons of contacts. I wonder if he ever gets time to sleep.

Gazetteer said...

Thanks for your comment over at my place Paul. Much appreciated, and sounds reasonable - I was actually flabbergasted by Palmer's comment actually (but not upset by it, of course).