We’re getting a look at the first set of numbers to come out since last week’s radio leaders debate, and they suggest the NDP has the advantage.
The Main Street/Postmedia poll, conducted April 20-22, suggests despite what some had characterized as an over aggressive debate performance the NDP has built a ten per cent lead provincewide among decided and leaning voters.
The survey pegs the NDP at 44 per cent (+5), the BC Liberals at 34 (-3), and the BC Greens at 22 per cent (+1).
The B.C. Conservatives, who are running just a handful of candidates, have been dropped from the poll, potentially accounting for some of the shift.
The numbers also do not take into account the full 21 per cent of British Columbians who remain undecided: Enough to swing the race in any direction.
The NDP’s Lower Mainland campaign blitz appears to be getting results, with the poll finding the NDP making significant gains in Greater Vancouver, commanding the support of a full 50 per cent of voters and holding a 16 point lead over the BC Liberals.
The Liberals have lost the ground they made in Mainstreet’s April 18 poll, dropping to 34 per cent from 37 per cent, while the Greens trail at 17 per cent.
Meanwhile, on Vancouver Island, the Greens again maintain their lead, earning the support of 37 per cent of those polled, to 36 per cent for the NDP. The BC Liberals trail there with 27 per cent support.
And in a piece of encouraging news for the NDP, they’ve drawn even at 39 per cent with the Liberals in the remainder of the province. That’s significant growth from the April 18 survey, when they trailed the Liberals 35 per cent to 40 per cent.
Mainstreet Executive Vice President David Valentin says if the numbers hold, the NDP stands to pick up seats in Metro Vancouver.
“But partly that’s going to be offset by losses on Vancouver Island, I do think right now with these numbers we would be seeing a minority government and the Greens would very likely be holding the balance of power.”
Valentin says in that outcome, about 27 per cent of Green supporters would like to see leader Andrew Weaver siding with the NDP, while there is essentially no support for him working with the Liberals.
The poll also signals potential stormy weather for the Liberals as far as party support goes.
The percentage of voters who call themselves “strong” Liberal supporters has dropped five per cent to 73 per cent.
Meanwhile, 70 per cent of NDP backers now say they strongly support the party, up from 68 per cent. And the Greens have made a surprising leap in shoring up support, jumping to 67 per cent “strong” supporters, up from just 53 per cent when last surveyed.
While 39 per cent of those polled still don’t know who John Horgan is, he also appears to be making headway with those who do, with a noticeable shift in voters’ second choices.
Forty-one per cent of Liberals backers now say they’d pick the NDP as a second choice, up a whopping 21 per cent.
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Seventy-four per cent of Green supporters pick the NDP second, up nine per cent, while just seven per cent would choose the Liberals, down eight points.
Valentin says he expects more voters to clearly identify Horgan following Wednesday’s televised debate, but says that’s not necessarily good news for the NDP leader.
“We could see a lot of movement after that, and that could be a very good night for John Horgan, it could be a very good night for Andrew Weaver, and it could be a very good night for Christy Clark and we know that Christy Clark is a very polished campaigner.”
Feeling out the numbers
The poll also asked respondents how they’d feel about different election outcomes.
Just 29 per cent said they would be happy with a Liberal majority government, while 24 per cent would be disappointed, 19 per cent would be angry, and eight per cent would be sad.
By contrast, 40 per cent of those polled said they’d be happy with an NDP majority, while 13 per cent would be disappointed, 11 per cent sad, and nine per cent angry.
Among undecided voters, it was an even split, with just 15 per cent each saying they’d be happy with either an NDP or Liberal majority.
Just under a third of voters say they’d be happy with the Greens holding the balance of power in a minority government.
As a final note, the poll found British Columbians split on the Site C dam, with 32 per cent in support and 34 per cent opposed, with a further 34 per cent holding no clear opinion.
Seniors backed the project by the widest margin, 39 per cent, while just 29 per cent of those 35-64 approved of it.
Just eight per cent of BC Liberal supporters oppose the dam.
The telephone poll of 1,650 British Columbians was conducted between April 20-22, and is considered accurate within +/-2.4 per centage points 19 times out of 20.
With files from Jeremy Lye