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New Democrats have healthy lead over Liberals in BC

[Ottawa – July 17, 2020] The NDP has a healthy 17-point lead over the Liberals in British Columbia (46 to 29), with the Greens in a distant third at 13 points among decided voters. A further 12% support other parties. One-in-five voters (19%) remain undecided. The NDP currently runs the province in a minority government with support in confidence votes from the Green Party, while the “pro free-enterprise” Liberal Party has the most seats, but is in opposition.

The NDP is up six points from the 40% they won in the 2017 election. The Liberals, with their new leader Andrew Wilkinson is down 11 points (they also won 40% in 2017). The leaderless Green Party is down four points from 17% in 2017. The Greens will be electing a new leader in September. The 12% of decided voters who back “other parties” are likely backing the moribund BC Conservative Party, who only ran 10 candidates in the last election. Voters deciding to park their vote here could explain the 11 point drop for the Liberals in the highly polarized BC electorate.

The NDP leads in every region of the province except the Interior, where they are in a statistical tie with the Liberals, trailing them 37% to 35%. Of note, “other parties” is polling at 17% in the Interior, a traditionally conservative-leaning part of the province, further suggesting that respondents who selected this option likely back the provincial Conservative Party. The NDP has the largest lead in the Greater Victoria Area, where they have a 28 point edge (53-25) over the Liberals. The Greens, who won 2 seats in the Victoria area in 2017, are also polling well in the capital at 19%. While there is only a five-point gender gap for the NDP, which is polling at 44% among men and 49% among women, the gender gap is much stronger for the Liberals, which are polling at 35% among men and just 23% among women. The gender gap is the inverse for the Greens, which are polling at 9% among men and 17% among women.

There is a fairly weak correlation in voting patterns among each age cohort, though it is notable that the NDP is surprisingly weak among voters under 35, at just 37 points, leading the Liberals by just six points. This can partly be explained by the Greens polling higher among younger voters at 20%. The NDP lead over the Liberals holds strong among all other age groups. Like we have seen in our other recent provincial polling, there is a strong correlation among the different education groups. The NDP leads the Liberals by just five points (36-31) among high school educated voters, while the NDP has a 14 point lead (44-30) among college-educated voters and has twice as much support than the Liberals (54-27) among university-educated voters.

While the NDP seems to have a decent lead over the Liberals, one cannot ignore the polarization of the BC electorate. Since the 2005 election, the two parties have always been within 5 points of each other in provincial elections. If most of the 12% of decided voters who say they’re voting ‘other’ do end up backing the Liberals, the race does become much closer, and that’s not even accounting for the 19% of the electorate that is undecided.

Methodology:

This survey was conducted using High Definition Interactive Voice Response (HD-IVR™) technology, which allows respondents to enter their preferences by punching the keypad on their phone, rather than telling them to an operator. In an effort to reduce the coverage bias of landline only RDD, we created a dual landline/cell phone RDD sampling frame for this research. As a result, we are able to reach those with a landline and cell phone, as well as cell phone only households and landline only households.

The field dates for this survey are June 16 to July 17, 2020. In total, a random sample of 1504 British Columbia residents aged 18 and over responded to the survey. The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Please note that the margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as region, sex, age, education). All the data have been statistically weighted by age, gender, education, and region to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the British Columbia electorate, according to Census data and past election turnouts.

Please click here for the data tables.

Please click here for a copy of the questionnaire that was used for this survey.

1 comment to New Democrats have healthy lead over Liberals in BC

  • Arlene Feke

    This is certainly excellent news for me, who have been an NDP supporter all my life and worked hard between and during election campaigns. The NDP has done an outstanding job in managing BC and correcting the many deplorable policies of the BC Liberals in their long tenure in this Province. Their mismanagement of BC Hydro, ICBC, Their cancelling of the contract with the Health Employees Union back in 2002 which resulted in so many deaths in seniors homes during the Covid pandemic, and the abdication of any responsibility in the money laundering that was rampant in BC that led to a dramatic increase in housing prices are only a few of their missteps that have come to light since the NDP is government. The Libs deserve a LONG period in Opposition.

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