Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Depends On How You Look At It

A new Ipsos poll of British Columbians, shows a sizeable majority disapproves of the carbon tax. But, that is only part of the story:
Ipsos Reid has found that 59 per cent of those polled are against the new tax (39 per cent support) -- set to begin July 1 with a 2.4-cent-per-litre increase in the price of gasoline -- with just under half of the respondents saying they oppose it "strongly."

Opposition to the tax is greatest in the Interior, followed by the Lower Mainland and then the rest of mainland B.C.

See, see, a carbon tax is political suicide. Well, not so fast. Seems to me, such widespread opposition should manifest itself where it counts, voting intention. Interesting then, that the Campbell government pays NO political price, in fact the gap between themselves and the anti-carbon NDP is higher than ever:
The poll shows the Liberals have the support of 47 per cent of decided voters, a number slightly above what they've held throughout the past year.

The NDP has 33-per-cent support, down three points from this time last year.

The seatless Green Party remained steady at 16-per-cent support, a level it has essentially held for the past year as well.

"I think the most important number is that at this point the vote hasn't changed one iota, despite the fact a lot of people knew this [the carbon tax] was coming," said Braid.

"It's been discussed since February and it hasn't had any impact whatsoever."

Obviously, "the most important number", actually, the only number that matters. Campbell's numbers "slightly better", the NDP down marginally, hardly supporting the political suicide argument of the naysayers. I think this disconnect speaks to the dual themes of hating taxes, but appreciating leadership. Nobody likes taxes, as acknowledged by the pollster:
"You shouldn't read too much into the opposition here," he said.

"You could insert any kind of tax and you'd probably see a 40/60 split, maybe even worse."

In other words, that's the kneejerk response, it's expected. What is relevant, if that disagreement shifts political opinion, clearly it hasn't and that's the bottomline. I'm sure the detractors will cite this poll to support their opinion, but in my view, they miss the point entirely. Last time I checked, the purest measure of opinion was vote intention. On that score, all factors considered, this should allay some fears as to the coming "suicide".


Anonymous said...

The BC Liberals are also very lucky that there is no party to the right of them that can easily capitalize on the anti-tax sentiment. At the federal level, there are a ton of Liberal/Conservative switchers who will drop the federal Liberals like a hot potato as they get linked like crazy glue to the Carbon TAX (memo to Dion's communications people - maybe you should have come up with another name for your scheme that didn't include the word "tax")

Steve V said...

"At the federal level, there are a ton of Liberal/Conservative switchers"

That isn't true, particularly in the west, or Quebec for that matter. Besides, what about pulling some votes from the left? That works both ways, doesn't it??

Anonymous said...

When you propose a new tax - you will never gain any new votes - its a question of whether you can minimize how many votes you lose.

I don't recall ANYONE back in 1990 saying "Oh boy I was thinking of voting Liberal but now that the PCs are doing something wonderful like bringing in the GST and making it revenue neutral because they are getting rid of the manufacturers sales tax (which we all know is a "silent killer of job") - By golly I'm voting PC all the way!! Yay GST!

There are more Liberal/Conservative switchers in Canada than there are anything else: How else do you explain how from 2004 to 2006 the Liberals vote dropped from 36% to 30% while the Conservative vote increased from 30 to 36% - those extra Conservative votes had to come from somewhere and it sure wasn't all from gains from the BQ in Quebec.

Steve V said...

Yes, and the NDP vote was up 2%, the Bloc down 2%, so there goes that causal relationship.

"When you propose a new tax - you will never gain any new votes"

Oh bullshit. Look at the Green numbers, and then ask yourself what they say on the same question.

Anonymous said...

The Ipsos poll says that even a majority of green voters in BC oppose the Carbon Tax. That's pretty damning.

I don't get your math, Conservative support rose by 6% from 2004 to 2006 - a big chunk of that had to be Conservative gains in Ontario where the went up by about 4% - who did they gain those votes from? It sure wasn't from the NDP - which also gained ground in Ontario. There are a LOT of people in suburban and rural Ontario (you know where most of the marginal seats are) who will always be Liberal/Conservative switchers. I don't know why people are so resistant to something that has been a fact of life in Canadian politics for generations.

The Liberals better start fishing where the fish are swimming and come up with a strategy to win back those right-of-centre Paul Martin/John Manley/Frank McKenna type Liberals before its too late.

The Grumpy Voter said...

BC is the land of the shrooms where the practical realities of things like, oh political suicide don't seem to have much impact on voter consciousness. For this reason alone, people can still believe that Dion's policy will give them the shifts and still support Gordon Campbell.

Steve V said...

"It sure wasn't from the NDP - which also gained ground in Ontario."

Well, where did that vote come from? You can argue it, which ever way you choose.

You mention Green supporters in B.C. Again, their polling remains untouched, proving again that any discomfort isn't translating to vote intention. That's the bottomline, which to my mind, trumps everything else.

Steve V said...


If I were you, I'd stick to lifting your opinions from Warren, your arguments tend to suffer when you freelance.

Anonymous said...

Are you seriously trying to argue that when the Conservatives surged from 30% in 2004 to 36% in 2006 - that none of that was votes gained from disaffected Liberals??? Oh brother....

wilson said...

BIG differences here Steve.
-Campell's party is already the government.
-Cambell is popular.
-If I remember correctly, there were no public consultations, just a budget with an immediate cheque to BCers.

-Dion's party in opposition.
-Dion's ranks 4th in competence.
-BC voters are sending out the caution signal to the ROC BEFORE electing Dion and his carbon tax.

Steve V said...


Obviously not, oh brother. But, you are wrong to just assume the only fluctuation is between the two parties. That's just flat wrong.


And, just why exactly would anyone take your glup the koolaid by the gallon perspective seriously? Who cares. Everything Harper does is genius, everything the Libs do is wrong, rinse, repeat. ZZZZZZZZ.

Anonymous said...

I never said that the "only" fluctuation in Canada politics was between the Liberals and Conservatives - only there are still a lot of Liberal/Conservative switchers. The Liberals better start working on winning back all the Liberal/Conservative switchers they lost last time.

Steve V said...


I'm not arguing against the notion, just that it's the only dynamic in play. It isn't, in fact the rise of the Greens only makes it more complicated.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the Liberals more or less create the Green party hoping it would take votes from the NDP? - but instead judging from what happened in Vancouver-Quadra - it's more like firefighters starting a breakfire that then blows back and engulfs the people who started it.

Maybe the Liberals need to stop outsmarting themselves and go back to the strategy that has been successful for them in the past - be the pro-business, elite party with a dash of social liberalism and try to win back economic conservatives from the CPC.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I'm not in BC and I haven't been following the details of teh BC carbon tax. Is it designed to be revenue neutral? I haven't heard that it is and the "revenue neutral" phrase has been thrown around a lot wrt Dion's policy and the GPC policy but I don't recall hearing it mentioned in connection with the BC tax.

If the tax is a new, additional tax that is not offset by reduced taxes on something else (income, usually), then it will certainly be unpopular.

The Green Party just released it's Green Tax Shift Plan. I have details and links at my blog.

The GPC documentation has several examples of how the proposed tax will affect various typical Canadians -- low income, rural, average income, upper income, pensioners, unemployed, etc.

Some typical tax payers will pay a little more ~1%. Some, like rural seniors, will get a 9% break over what they pay now. Business and industry will pay the most because. after all, they use the most CO2 producing energy. And, yes, they will pass their costs along.


Anonymous said...

Yes, the BC Carbon Tax has been billed as being "revenue neutral" - not that anyone believes that.

RuralSandi said...

Well, I'll wait to hear what the Plan is folks, thank you very much.

Ah, Wilson - Harper liked Campbell's plan - remember?

Ya, Grumpy - reads Kinsella then acts like he has an independant opinion on things LOL. He also claims he's old and grumpy - in his 40's I believe - that's middle age.

Steve V said...

"Ah, Wilson - Harper liked Campbell's plan - remember? "

I believe the word was "complimentary" or was it "compatible"? Baird like it too, so did Lunn. Very strange.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the BC carbon tax WILL be revenue neutral.

In fact, BC Global prepared a news report today outling the financial impact of the carbon tax on a 4-member family.

The BC government has reduced personal income taxes and also will provide a climate change ? dividend in a couple of weeks as part of the carbon tax equation.

The net effect for the 4-member family? They will be ahead financially by ~$350.00 taking the ~2.5 cent carbon tax into consideration.

I suspect no one wants a raise in taxes and especially when gas prices are rising so quickly in any event and that's why there is the obvious opposition.

Steve V said...


Enough with the facts please, we're fear mongering here. Geez.