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Why Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals will never see 40% again-A scientific examination
  Mar 21, 2004

Question #1
November 16, 1999 (filed with Press Gallery) We asked: If there was a snap British Columbia election called within the next six months to a year, how would you most likely cast your vote?
Reform BC    22 %
NDP    23 %
BC Liberals    50 %
Question #2
We asked: If your were to choose the next most trustworthy Premier of British Columbia, who would you most likely vote for?
Bill Vander Zalm    14 %
Gordon Campbell    27 %
Dan Miller    13 %
Question #3
Other polls: Angus Reid (09/99)
BC Liberal    57 %
Reform    16 %
NDP    15 %
Question #4
McIntyre Mustel (10/99)
BC Liberals    57 %
Reform    14 %
NDP    19 %
Question #5
Dec 27-31, 1999 (filed with Press Gallery) We asked: If there were an election in the next six months, whom would you most likely support?
Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals    43. %
Bill Vander Zalm and Reform    24 %
NDP and new leader    32 %
Question #6
March 2, 2000 (filed with Press Gallery) NB. Reform Canada changes to Canadian Alliance. We asked: Whom would you vote for in the next provincial election in British Columbia?
Bill Vander Zalm and Reform    04 %
Gordon Campbell and BC Liberals    50 %
Ujjal Dosanjh and NDP    36 %
Stuart Parker and Green    10 %
Question #7
We asked: Are you in favour of a two party or multi party system in British Columbia?
Two Party    50 %
Three Party or More    50 %
Question #8
June 5, 2000 (filed with Press Gallery) We asked: If there was an election within the next six months to one year in British Columbia, which party will you vote for?
BC Liberals    50 %
NDP    33 %
Green Party    13 %
Reform    04 %
Question #9
September 11, 2000 (filed with Press Gallery) We asked: If there was an election called in the next six to ten months in British Columbia, how would you cast your vote?
NDP    40 %
BC Liberals    47 %
Green Party    06 %
Question #10
March 10, 2001 (filed with Press Gallery) We asked: If there were a Provincial Election in British Columbia tomorrow, which Political Leader and Political Party would you vote for?
Gordon Campbell and BC Liberals    52 %
Ujjal Dosanjh and NDP    28 %
Chris Delaney and Unity BC    15 %
Adrienne Carr and Green Party    05 %
Question #11
BC Electoral History (1952-1972), The WAC Era) 1952
CCF    31 %
Socred    27 %
Liberals    23.3 %
Conservatives    17 %
Question #12
BC Electoral History (1952-1972), The WAC Era) 1953
Socred    45.5 %
CCF    29.4 %
Liberals    23.3 %
Question #13
BC Electoral History (1952-1972), The WAC Era) 1956
Socreds    45.84 %
CCF    22.32 %
Liberals    21.77 %
Question #14
BC Electoral History (1952-1972), The WAC Era) 1960
Socreds    41 %
CCF    32 %
Liberals    22 %
Question #15
BC Electoral History (1952-1972), The WAC Era) 1963
Socreds    41 %
CCF    27 %
Liberals    20 %
Conservatives    11 %
Question #16
BC Electoral History (1952-1972), The WAC Era) 1966
Socreds    46 %
NDP    34 %
Liberals    20 %
Question #17
BC Electoral History (1952-1972), The WAC Era) 1969
Socreds    47 %
NDP    34 %
Liberals    20 %
Question #18
BC Electoral History (1952-1972), The WAC Era) 1972
Socreds    31 %
NDP    40 %
Liberals    16 %
Conservatives    12 %
Commentary
Between 1952-1972 the years of W.A.C Bennett, British Columbia’s most beloved Premier of all time, the Socreds averaged 40.5% at the election polls. The CCF/NDP over that same period averaged 31.02%. The Liberal Party of BC averaged 17.88%. The Conservatives managed 7-8%.
Gordon Campbell managed 40.8% in a losing bid in 1996 and nearly 58% in 2001. The 2001 total is an anomaly and should really not be considered. The NDP scored 9% less than their average over the 1952 to 1972 time period of 31.02% in 2001. The NDP polling numbers averaged in the low to mid thirties percentile in the year prior to the election. Reform got ‘shut-out’ of the election, and the Green Party got thousands of dollars in free press. In real terms I think its fair to say the BC Liberals should be seen to obtaining 45-50% of the popular vote in May 2001.
Gordon Campbell is not well liked. He achieved enough of the popular vote in 1996 to win, but Gordon Wilson’s PDA made a big difference in many ridings (not Reform as was most frequently argued). In both 1996 and 2001 he was advancing upon an NDP moderate to weak performances. The NDP would have us remember Mike Harcourt as a good Premier. His performance from our research perspective was weak as well. His handling of the Bingo-Gate affair was deplorable, and revealed a genuine lack of leadership.
Gordon Campbell is no WAC Bennett, and he and his BC Liberals are nowhere near 40-45% in popular opinion, nor will they ever achieve 40% again as long as Gordon Campbell is Premier. When your party Leader is as much as 5 to 15 per cent behind the party in public opinion, and the public finds out there isn’t too much to like about the party itself, the likelihood of achieving numbers similar to the Socreds under WAC are slim and none, particularly not three elections in a row. The BC public will respond to not another four years with Gordon Campbell.
Nor are the BC Liberals under Gordon Campbell anything like WAC Bennett and the Socreds. WAC was a made in BC populist, who could get the working man’s vote. Gordon Campbell is a market liberal who ideologically cannot understand the BC psyche. He doesn’t understand it and he never will. British Columbians are protectionists. We like to keep our jobs and our assets here at home. The Vancouver mentality doesn’t understand this thinking. How hard should this be to understand? There is no Capital Gains Exemption anymore. The middle class keeps most of their equity in their home. Only 20-25% of the population has a business mentality. But most of the small business people often end up believing they could have been better off in a good job with a pension, when you consider what is leftover after taxes on the sale of businesses.
The Gordon Campbell people are organized by some of the people who organized Bill Bennett. Yes the younger Bennett garnered 50% of the vote in 1975, but that was on the back of WAC’s reputation, and following an uncomfortable experience under David Barrett in 1972. Bill Bennett did win again but his popularity steadily decreased. Vander Zalm took over the reins and won the top job himself, but he ran against a weak NDP candidate in Skelly, the rest is history.
The NDP can pursue their values and principles as a leftist party and still achieve 32-33% in 2005. The Greens won’t hurt them and they will leave popular opinion in the ‘political bank account’ for Larry Campbell in 2009.
If the NDP initiates their ‘revival’ out of Victoria like it appears they will, than Gordon Campbell will face a Reform ‘horde’ in the Northern and Interior ridings that will cut him to ribbons, particularly if he doesn’t get his act together on homosexual marriages. His treatment of the so-called “heartland” (the BC Liberals were not the first to use this expression), has been abysmal and the BC Liberals will be in for it if the NDP leaves Reform alone to do the job. Gordon Campbell will than be left to duke it out on Vancouver Island and in Greater Vancouver where the NDP have many old-timers in community government ready to help out the new Turks, preparing them to achieve a good standing in the legislature in 2005 waiting for Larry Campbell to come take all home.
Gordon Campbell is the conduit between the financial community and the BC Liberals, a sort of high profile ‘bagman’. Without him, the money flow to the party will dry up. However with him the votes will dry up just as fast.
Incidentally, the Liberal Party of BC averaged around 18% during the WAC era. Which direction do you think the BC Liberals are going? Do the history!

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