Thursday, June 26, 2008

Interesting B.C. Poll

If you want to see a pseudo "canary in the coalmine" scenario, it is pretty interesting to see any polling coming out of British Columbia. The Mustel Group has released a new poll of the province, that shows Campbell paying little political price so far, despite British Columbians ranking "rising gas" as their chief concern:
A recent Mustel Group poll (taken June 9-19th ) among 750 BC residents shows that for the first time ever,
concern about fuel costs surpasses concern about the environment and other key issues such as health care
and the economy. When asked “What is the most important issue facing British Columbia today?” increasing
cost of fuel tops the list, with Metro Vancouver residents as concerned as those living in rural areas.

In the past poll, fuel costs were cited by a scant 3%, this time around 18%, marginally ahead of health care and the environment. One would think that Campbell would pay a price, considering his carbon plan piles on even more cost. Not really:
Libs 47%
NDP 37%
Green 14%

No statistical change for the Libs since the last poll, although the NDP do rise 6%, the Greens down 3%. To keep that in context though, the last poll looks a bit of an anomaly for the NDP, because they are now basically back where they were in a February and November offering respectively, the Greens actually up one from February. In other words, apart from some statistical noise, hard to argue any worrying trends for Campbell.

This fact is supported in the approval numbers, which sees Campbell's numbers very consistent with past findings, the same for the NDP's James. I suppose you could argue some erosion, but if you look at the February poll, Campbell is actually up, so it's playing with the numbers, the trends aren't significant.

This is the second poll I've seen that shows Campbell fairing pretty well, despite serious concerns about taxes and gas prices. Those with their own agenda will point to "you just wait until", or "Dion isn't Campbell", but given the fact that this poll shows gas price concern as the number one issue with British Columbians, you would expect to see Campbell taking a big hit right now, given his policies. On balance, I see this poll as another for the "good sign" column.

21 comments:

Trevor said...

People who are concerned about energy prices have no alternative to vote for in BC, that is not the case federally so trying to compare the two is a stretch.

If the BC NDP started campaigning to scrap the carbon tax I bet you would see their numbers jump.

Jason Hickman said...

BC has changed *a lot* since I lived there in the mid 90's, but one thing that hasn't is the polarization between the NDP and the Liberals (and before them, the Socreds), with the Greens scaring up some half-decent support from time to time.

As a result, I wouldn't expect a massive shift from LPBC voters to the NDP, even if they don't like one policy - unless that policy becomes *THE* issue, to the point where right-of-centre folks, especially in rural areas, can get behind voting for the NDP.

I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong in your analysis. But the near-unique nature of BC provincial politics means that we should be cautious about treating this as even a pseudo canary in the coalmine. I think it's still too soon to say whether Dion's plan will sell or not.

Oh, and re: your "their own agenda" comment - find me a partisan blogger who *doesn't* have "their own agenda"!

Joseph said...

The BC NDP have been campaigning to "axe the tax" for the past several weeks so I tend to think this polling results would already factor that.

The BC NDP is also on record of wanting a carbon tax, just not the one the BC Liberals put in place.

Trevor said...

Thanks Joseph, I didn't know that. What you said just reenforces my point that there is no real alternative though.

Joseph said...

I tend to agree, though I find it interesting that in this case the BC Liberals actually moved in the direction of the progressives, particularly on this file - not unlike the governator has done down in California.

That in itself is a bit telling as well.

I do agree with you that I'm not sure I would regard BC as a sample for the entirety of Canada. It is different out here.

But it does show that the issue is not a right - left divide, as the conservatives want it to be. I think Harper is hurting himself out here by in effect (and knowingly) launching such a broad encompassing attack that he alienates one of the few Provincial leaders with which he had at least a neutral relationship.

Steve V said...

"But the near-unique nature of BC provincial politics means that we should be cautious about treating this as even a pseudo canary in the coalmine. I think it's still too soon to say whether Dion's plan will sell or not.
"

Obviously, it's way to early to conclude anything, but that doesn't mean you ignore nuggets a long the way.

Always cautious :)

Steve V said...

"Oh, and re: your "their own agenda" comment - find me a partisan blogger who *doesn't* have "their own agenda"!"

Actually, that's a condition all humans share, it isn't confined to subsets.

The Right is Where its At said...

Joseph

"The BC NDP have been campaigning to "axe the tax" for the past several weeks so I tend to think this polling results would already factor that."

"The BC NDP is also on record of wanting a carbon tax, just not the one the BC Liberals put in place."

We are forgetting one important factor when it comes to B.C.politics.

There are two main parties,the Liberals and of course the socialist NDP. There is not much of a choice here. So of course they will opt for the B.C.Liberals. At the federal level it's completely different we do have a choice.

Steve V said...

"We are forgetting one important factor when it comes to B.C.politics."

I don't think anybody is forgetting anything, it's sort of a basic assumption isn't it? Anyways, thanks for the BC For Dummies rundown, very enlightening.

Joseph said...

The problem with the meme about the two main parties in BC is that there is actually a conservative party here as well.

Shouldn't there irrelevance here be telling us something?

Joseph said...

I do feel I should also point out that BC was the one province where the federal conservatives LOST seats in the 2006 election.

Maybe we left-coast wingnuts (a common accusation I'm actually beginning to accept as a compliment) recognize rigid ideologues no matter what leopard prints they don.

Steve V said...

Joseph

Just out of curiousity, where are you exactly?

Joseph said...

I'm in Vancouver.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe we left-coast wingnuts recognize rigid ideologues no matter what leopard prints they don."

Before you start to flatter yourself too much, keep in mind that BC overwhelmingly backed such rightwing deadbeats as Bill VanderZalm, Preston Manning, Stockwell Day and Gordon Campbell (and lets not get into Bennett father and son)

Joseph said...

I agree, sheepishly. That statement was partially in jest. I don't think anyone is born or can become "geographically" enlightened one way or the other ; ).

Dame said...

I Live in Vancouver since 1986 . This province is really a whacky place regarding politics . Politics attracts only very bizarre anomalies of humans here who seems to NOT be able To do "normal" life and works.. Campbell the latest whacky one is the most unlikable person who implemented the slash and burn most painful policies and still he is the Primer. he leads the "liberal" Party what is far from being a liberal at any sense .they just hijacked the name /and a "party"/ he strongly declared and Defined his ultra right wing tendencies in Ottawa while there was a Federal Liberal leadership there and everything he does is a Definition of ultra right wing politic.
So when You see the Liberals in BC.... it is everything NUT liberal here .
there is a vacuum here for decent and true liberalism here it is nonexistent.
The Other end of the Spectrum is the NDP what is trying To b more centrist but somehow cn't really occupy the central position.

I Can't explain all it is just Whacky Land .
maybe the weather does it people are not caring too much who is hijacking the province..

marta

knb said...

joseph, didn't I read somewhere that the NDP are calling for people to send their $100 cheques to that party?

Joseph said...

I seem to recall hearing that, among other things.

From what I can see, there is quite a bit of skepticism out here towards the NDP on this issue. The media protest event they had a couple of weeks ago appeared to consist of 5 or 6 MLAs standing beside the road talking to the media.

I'm not opposed to the BC NDP overall, but I think they are being about as wishy-washy as they can on this issue, and they've lost my respect.

I think they are just desperate for an issue, any issue, they hope they can capitalize on. My opinion at any rate.

Anonymous said...

"'m not opposed to the BC NDP overall, but I think they are being about as wishy-washy as they can on this issue, and they've lost my respect."

You can agree with it or you can disagree with it - but i don't think there is anything "wishy-washy" about starting a province-wide "Axe the Tax" campaign. Sounds very clear cut and simple to me.

Joseph said...

Well, then we can choose to disagree.

I find it more than a bit hypocritical that the moment the current BC government started taking climate change seriously, and actually enacted strong legislation to tackle the issue head-on, then suddenly the NDP started revving for efforts to stop the movement in its tracks. Environmental groups who praised the environmental efforts of the government are now in the awkward position of defending the BC Liberals from supposedly more progressive NDP attacks.

I find it hypocritical for the NDP to claim to want to "axe the tax" without even mentioning their own strategy for a carbon tax. Seems a little less than accountable to me.

Overall, it appears to me the NDP here in BC are willing to throw out their convictions simply because they think it might jump-start their pre-campaigning for the next election.

My nod to the NDP here, and one of the reasons I mentioned not being totally opposed to them, is because there are many many issues on which to confront the BC Liberals. But they have apparently decided to make the environment the key strategy, when it is one area where the BC Liberals have implemented efforts that ought to be commended.

So, again, we'll just have to disagree on this one. Unless the NDP find another issue on which to take on the government, I have no reason to recommend them.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that the BC Liberal record on the environment has for the most part been a total horror. One of the first things they did when they took power was to fire half the people at the Ministry of the Environment and to start gutting environmental regulations and programs. The declared open season on clear-cutting and promised to "take a chain saw" to the Forest Practices Code. They then brought in a plan to build more super highways and bridges in the 'burbs to make it easier for their voters to drive. Now they dangle this shiny bauble called the Carbon Tax and expect people to forget that this has been a government of eco-terrorists.