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BC Health Poll-BC'ers cautious about 2 tier-BC Liberals losses R Greens gains.
  Mar 10, 2006

A random digit dialing telephone survey of 630 respondents throughout 14 regions in the Province of British Columbia between March 1st. and March 8th, 2006. This survey features a margin of error of 3.75%, 18 times out of 20 @ 97% competency. This survey was sponsored by New Trend Optical of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Jim Van Rassell proprietor- (604) 942-9300.

Question #1
Which provincial political party do you currently support the most? (Decided ‘voters’)
BC Liberals    38 %
New Democrats    42 %
Green    20 %
Question #2
In your opinion should Stephen Harper’s Conservative government make amendments to the Canada Health Act to facilitate expansion of private health care?
Yes    31 %
No    68.5 %
Question #3
Harvey Voogd coordinator for “Friends of Medicare in Edmonton Alberta” says that “being able to pay to get medically necessary services quicker violates the Canada Health Act which guarantees public payment for health care and mandates all necessary services must be available within the public system.”* In your opinion with this statement in mind will an introduction of ‘legislated provincial private health care’ eventually ‘finish’ the public health care system?
Yes    50 %
No    49.5 %
Question #4
In your opinion should British Columbians who can afford to do so be permitted to pay ‘out of their own pocket’ for such items as knee and hip replacements or cataract surgery if they wish to skip waiting lists?
Yes    51 %
No    49 %
Question #5
In your opinion should health care provided at private health facilities be permitted in some instances to access public health care dollars?
Yes    29 %
No    71 %
Commentary
British Columbians are split in their support of BC Liberals and New Democrats with the NDP having a marginal but distinguishable lead in popular support. The Green Party is a renewed presence with (20%) of popular support in the Province of British Columbia.
BC Liberal support is highest in the Okanagan and Northern regions of the province, Richmond, North Shore and Vancouver. New Democrats are dominant on Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Kootenays Cariboo and West Coast areas including Powell River. Greens perform well in suburban lower mainland, Vancouver Island, Vancouver, Kelowna, North Shore and Kootenays.
Slipping BC Liberal popularity can be linked in large part to the health care file as this survey reveals. Some very unfavourable health news (particularly the Fanny Albo case) in the Kootenays contributed to the BC Liberals poor showing, who are losing to the NDP on the Health, Children and Families files, and social issues generally. The BC Liberals are skillful at economic promotion, but are less so on social issues. In BC the governing party must have a social conscience or it becomes politically marginalized quickly.
Some social justice supporters who won’t back the NDP prefer the Greens to the BC Liberals.
Journalists like Michael Smyth “Liberals great at shirking responsibility” (Province newspaper Sunday March 5, 2006) are providing a chronology of BC Liberal mistakes, which clearly depict a government, that appears to many British Columbians to be uncaring, and (until just recently) unable to take responsibility for mistakes. Premier Gordon Campbell’s trip to Europe and BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor allegedly wearing $600.00 shoes at Budget time is not helping to diminish the public perception that the BC Liberal government has become ‘separated’ from the people they were hired to serve.
Premier Campbell will have a difficult time selling significant changes to current public health care system as he and his party lack credibility on social files like health and welfare. European health models will attract more interest than any south of the border, but this is a made in Canada problem and any solutions should be contemplated primarily in that context.
The New Democrats are working doggedly to secure firm support on social files, which is reflected in solid and widespread support over 40% at this time. NDP Children and Families critic Adrian Dix has pummeled BC Liberal Minister Stan Hagen relentlessly, particularly over the Sherrie Charlie case, which remains a black eye for the BC Liberals.
NDP numbers in BC Liberal strongholds like Langley and Abbotsford are increasing.
The Green Party requires significantly more financial support to realize the polling numbers they have achieved in this ROBBINS poll. Although the next provincial general election is in 2009, there is an STV vote in 2008. To be a credible influence on that vote, and in the general election, the Greens need to find more money, and improve their messaging and selling the Green package. (Sometimes it isn’t the best idea to have your party insiders designing the public relations).
About one-third of British Columbians believe that PM Harper should amend the Canada Health Act to sanction private health care as part of the overall federal statute.
Conservative PM Stephen Harper and his Cabinet colleague Health Minister Clement have made it clear that there will be no changes to the Canada Health Act, and that the Quebec model of health care (doctors cannot participate in both public and private sides of the health care equation) will be the likely standard. It would appear from responses in this poll that once again BC and Quebec has a lot in common.
In question #3 we took a ‘creative’ approach to the Health question referring to an increase in ‘legislated provincial private health care’ and its affect on the public health system. One half of respondents believe this trend will eventually “finish the public health care system.” Clearly the political lines are split in BC over the issue of two-tiered health care.
Slightly more than one-half of respondents are willing to accept some type of private health care, with many of these respondents being aware that these medical operations already exist. We believe that the difference in numbers from Q#3 to Q#4 relates to the fact that in Q#4 we clearly stipulate that payments are “out of their own pocket”, although we did not ask the specific questions to prove this.
The idea of private health care interests accessing public health care monies does not sit well with the vast majority of British Columbians, who think that this defeats the entire purpose of having some private initiative in health care.
A significant minority of respondents stipulated that if private health care is out of pocket that tax dollars for public health care should actually be reduced.
There is also a significant minority of respondents who are of the opinion that the overall purpose of two-tiered health care is to reduce the high costs and waits in the public health care system, in other words to stabilize costs in the present public system, not make doctors and political friends more wealthy.
Doctors are not viewed by the public with quite the same reverence as they once were.
Some respondents are quick to blame other British Columbians who smoke, drink excessive amount of alcohol, are obese from eating junk food and fast food, or generally don’t look after themselves. A lot of reporting came out during the polling period relating to an obesity study and related discussion (March 5-7, 2006 {March 7th Christy Clark filling in for Bill Good on CKNW}).
Watch for Canadian Taxpayer spokesperson Sara McIntyre and Global accounting/environmentalist David Suzuki (‘Crash’ politics) to become the most politically relevant personalities in the coming weeks and months. Where these two might find common ground is also where some novel approaches to public policy may be hatched, particularly as health care and other social matters are concerned.
There is little to be gained for interested voters in the perpetually recycled world of BC politics-with the similarly recycled to and fro debate of special interests.
Notice (Methodology)-We would like to ask you five questions relating generally to current health care topics. This survey will take two minutes or less. The first question is a baseline question to help better understand the implications of your health care answers.
-(71%) of persons who answered the telephone agreed to take the survey on that basis. “Did you (sir or madam) participate in the last federal general election January 2006, by casting your ballot for the party, party leader or candidate of your choice in your designated federal riding?
Female respondents 53.5%; Male respondents 46.5%. Mean and median were determined at increments of 100 responses added together and divided into 2, with the related percentage outcome taken to the nearest one-half percent. Residual amounts beyond 100 were ‘grossed up’ to 100 and averaged the same as the others were averaged except for the responses from Vancouver Island, which were treated as one group (120). 160 responses were derived from responses in the north and interior of the province, 120 from Vancouver Island, and 350 from the lower mainland of British Columbia for a total of 630 individual responses. Glen P. Robbins produced 56 responses from calls to the lower mainland, Vancouver Island, and the north and Interior as follows: 16 Vancouver Island, 30 lower mainland, and 10 in the north and interior. Outcomes from respondents telephoned by Glen P. Robbins in total are similar to total outcomes when margin of error is considered despite non-proportional geographic response allocation.
Adjustments were made for gender relative to responses within this poll and the percentage of men/women relative to response location. (i.e. what is the male/female ratio in Chilliwack/Abbotsford/Aldergrove and what was the response pattern per question for male and females in that specific area?) Respondent numbers approximate population. Additional data collection required 2.5 hours. A legal specimen of telephone calls for this poll can be obtained for a price of $500 payable to New Trend Optical located at 2550 B Shaughnessy Street, Port Coquitlam, B.C., V3C 3G2, (604) 942-9300. ‘Voter’ designation revealed in Q#1 relates to respondents who said they voted in the last general federal election. No other questions were asked to determine validity of this assertion on the part of the respondents.
You can have a Poll produced by ROBBINS, which can be secured through New Trend Optical, and New Trend will be the recognized sponsor of record (if desired). Sponsors of polls will have anonymity protected at all times. ROBBINS has right to refuse questions in order to avoid conflict. Sponsors have last right NOT to have poll published. Data collection is NEVER discussed with sponsor or any other party outside of ROBBINS or SCE Research until the Poll is completed. Legal specimens of questions can be provided under legal affidavit for additional charge.
Glen P. Robbins (604) 942-3757 -30-

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