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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics March 24, 2014
  Mar 24, 2014

Question #1
Which leader and political party from the choices offered are you most inclined to support at this time?
Christy Clark and BC Liberals    31 %
John Horgan and BC NDP    30 %
Andrew Weaver and BC Greens    12 %
Rick Peterson and BC Conservatives    7 %
Undecided    20 %
Question #2
Would you support a new, fully funded and completely independent Commission of Public Integrity, a type of super watchdog with sweeping powers to investigate government, including government corruption, elected officials, lawyers, doctors, teachers, charities, societies, and other organizations which are registered or related to government by other means?
Yes    35 %
No    35 %
Question #3
Quebec receives far more money historically from federal equalization payments than other provinces. In your opinion should the Province of British Columbia seek greater independence from Ottawa for this reason and other reasons as well?
Yes    32.5 %
No    47 %
Question #4
Self litigants are persons who attend to court without a lawyer. In the United States over one half of law cases involve at least one party who does not have a lawyer, while in BC it is about one in four, but the number is growing. In your opinion should the Law Society of British Columbia which collects annual fees from all lawyer members, be given charge of control over the conduct of other British Columbians who are not lawyers and who pay no fees to the organization?
Yes    21 %
No    70 %
Commentary
Question 1 of this RSR Survey informs us that both of the two main political parties in British Columbia, the BC Liberals (31%) and BC NDP (30%) have lost support among voters since the May 2013 general provincial election, while Andrew Weaver and BC Greens hold higher support today (11%). Rick Peterson and BC Conservatives are also above the percentage (7%), then obtained by former leader John Cummins in the May 2009 election at 4%.
Often in polls or surveys taken in between elections, 3rd and 4th place political parties attract more support from respondents than they are able to attain in votes from the most important poll or survey, the vote.
The highlight of this survey after nearly a year since the last provincial election is the high percentage of undecided. If the numbers in this survey were presented as decided, premier Christy Clark and her BC Liberals would attract (36.5%) and John Horgan and BC NDP would attract (36%). Anecdotally, it is clear that John Horgan is not as well known to British Columbia's voters as Christy Clark is.
John Horgan was included as party leader for the BC NDP in this RSR Survey and during the taking of the survey, decided to run to leader of his party. In another RSR Survey conducted February 17- March 1, 2014, Mike Farnworth, another NDP candidate for leader, attained (38%) support, while Christy Clark and BC Liberals attracted (34%) and Andrew Weaver and BC Green Party at (15%). However, the undecided from respondents in that survey was only (9%) and not (20%) as in this survey.
British Columbians are split on their opinion of a fully funded independent Commission of Public Intregity, described as a 'super watchdog' over government and self regulating agencies.
A significant minority of British Columbians seek greater independence from Ottawa in relation to assertions offered to them that Quebec, with a history of seeking greater independence receives far more money than other Canadian provinces.
An overwhelming majority of British Columbians do not believe that the Law Society of BC should have charge or control over persons who are not member lawyers of that society.
Support for Christy Clark and BC Liberals-on: Vancouver Island (26%), Lower Mainland (29%), Fraser Valley (33%), North and Interior (34.5%).
Support for John Horgan and BC NDP- on: Vancouver Island (44%), Lower Mainland (27.5%), Fraser Valley (27%), North and Interior (28%).
Support for Andrew Weaver and BC Greens-on: Vancouver Island (17%), Lower Mainland (15%), Fraser Valley (7%), North and Interior (5%).
Support for a Commission of Public Integrity-on: Vancouver Island (32%), Lower Mainland (34%), Fraser Valley (35%), North and Interior (37%).
Support for greater Independence for BC from Ottawa-on: Vancouver Island (34%), Lower Mainland (32%), Fraser Valley (30%), North and Interior (35%).
Support for Commission of Public Integrity by leader and party: Christy Clark and BC Liberals (29%), John Horgan and BC NDP (39%), Andrew Weaver and BC Greens (28%), Rick Peterson and BC Conservatives (17%), Undecided (42%)
Support for greater independence from Ottawa by leader and party: Christy Clark and BC Liberals (26%), John Horgan and BC NDP (38%), Andrew Weaver and BC Greens (42%), Rick Peterson and BC Conservatives (18%), Undecided (52%).
In the last five weeks RSR has provided two surveys relating to leader and party popularity in the Province of British Columbia. Based on decided totals Christy Clark and BC Liberals are averaging (33%) while Mike Farnworth - John Horgan and BC NDP are averaging (37%).
There is a clear desire for discussion among British Columbians for a Commission for Public Integrity to watch over government and other agencies including self regulating bodies, a concept supported by (50%) of decided respondents/voters from last May's 2013 general election.
From anecdotal evidence it appears support for greater independence from Ottawa is based on (1) anti Ottawa, anti Stephen Harper and Conservative sentiment, anti pipeline sentiment, and potential increase in economic benefits to the province, evidenced by historical payments favouring Quebec. There is also a noteworthy thread of general support among all respondents for greater independence from Ottawa on the basis of one stop provincial taxation and that a more autonomous province would be more accountable to the citizens at the local level.
Our question about the Law Society of BC and self litigants drew mostly similar comments along the lines of the law society being in some type of conflict of interest. This language to one degree or another was provided by no less than 50 respondents of the 200 or so who provided anecdote. The average person is inclined to 'follow the money' and if one classification of persons (lawyers) pay the society fees as members, than it follows from public perception that those person who aren't lawyers and who don't pay fees won't be treated as fairly as those lawyers who do.
It is interesting to not that with municipal and city elections coming in November 2014, a little more than a half year away, and a new BC NDP leader being declared this September 2014, that municipal politics in British Columbia will likely also set the tone in the BC NDP leadership contest, which may impact on discussions of issues which infer greater autonomy for the province, and a challenge of sorts to Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals in the face of a federal general election in one years time, where her own party will be challenged in that contest of super popular federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau v incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper, each of whom are staunch federalists.
Methodology (including disclaimer(s): This telephone RSR Survey includes 1,021 British Columbians who vote in the most recent provincial general election. The respondents in this survey are known to RSR in that we know which party they voted for in May 2013.
We believe this survey includes a higher average voter age, as well as a higher number of home owners.
The Margin of Error (M.O.E.) of this RSR Survey conducted March 13-19, 2014) is 3% plus or minus, 19 times out of 20 at a confidence level of 95%. This survey is supported in part by other parties who wish to remain anonymous.

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