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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics June 13, 2011
  Jun 13, 2011

Question #1
In the upcoming Referendum on the H.S.T. - based on your opinion today - will you vote to “extinguish” - get rid of - the H.S.T.?
Yes    46 %
No    41 %
Undecided    13 %
Commentary
This follows our Glen P. Robbins - The 1st HST - 2 billion dollar poll (This is not an Internet Poll) 37.5% support HST in Lower Mainland, which featured a 60/40 decided split among respondents in a major sample poll of (approx.) 1,500 - with the clear majority OPPOSED or “Yes” to the extinguishment of the Harmonized Sales Tax.
Our subsequent ROBBINS poll of British Columbians in the North and Interior poll of 500 Glen P. Robbins HST 2 billion dollar poll - North and Interior BC - HST (25%), PST/GST (48%) Neither Tax (23%) Avg support L.M + N.I (33%) 4HST featured only one in four (25%) supporting the H.S.T.---including the Interior -- Kamloops, Kelowna, and Vernon. Internet pollster - big league pro - Angus Reid (formerly part owner of Ipsos Reid) produced an 800 + respondent province wide Internet (unscientific) poll with the respondents specifically from the Interior of the Province in that Angus Reid poll suggesting that (45%) supported the H.S.T. Our ROBBINS numbers in the North and Interior compared to Angus Reid’s would produce approximately (3%) less support for the H.S.T. province wide (statistically).
Over approximately the same general time period French polling conglomerate Ipsos Reid and favourite go to pollster for Toronto owned media-- dominating broadcast rights in the Province of British Columbia- produced an H.S.T. poll which featured a 50/50 split between the H.S.T. and the PST/GST - published by partisan mainstream broadcasters supporting the H.S.T.---however this Ipsos poll was (appropriately) criticized by Adrian Dix, leader of the BC NDP for being a ‘push poll’ - because the questions featured information relating to the BC Liberal government’s promise to cut the H.S.T. by (1%) in 2012 and another (1%) in 2014. Technically this is a push poll - although given what we have witnessed in actual push polling over the years ( i.e. Hello we’re ABC polling/ if Gordon Campbell saved children from a house fire / would you think he is doing a good job as Premier?)--- I would more accurately depict it as an appropriate social science poll for purposes of considering public policy options--- as a technically manipulative question//---manipulative questions are valuable// but ethically should not be published in the mainstream – as their publication is intended to produce cause and affect/effect which is unfair in the lead-up to a Referendum.
In a follow up polling Goliath - Ipsos between June 8 -10, 2011 their numbers reflected the following: “The poll showed that 44% plan to vote to remove the H.S.T. and reinstate the PST and GST. This is a six point lead over the 38% who want to keep the H.S.T.”
THIS ROBBINS poll reflects a similar picture to the most recent Ipsos poll but only in the Lower Mainland of the province and not province wide and with a smaller polling sample.
This ROBBINS poll reflects a (6%) lead for the Fight H.S.T. group a decline of nearly 10 (Raw) percentage points a week ago - in the Lower Mainland of the Province with our ROBBINS numbers reflecting the high population region of the province. The decline in support to opposition to the H.S.T. is noticeable as is the size of Undecided. From 60/40 -- lead for the Opposition to the H.S.T. to a (53%) to (47%) Decided - 20 percentage points to 6 percentage points in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia--based arguably on a less scientific - and smaller sample poll of Lower Mainland residents.
This ROBBINS poll retraces our steps of last week through the Lower Mainland including Vancouver City, West and North Vancouver, Richmond, Ladner, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission, and Langley - but not the remainder of the Fraser Valley including Abbotsford and Chilliwack----- in a smaller sample - higher margin of error sampling—as we track public opinion over the H.S.T.
In this poll we ask only one question and it is H.S.T. centered with no option for the PST/GST save for the “Yes” component of the question being equivalent to the “Yes” component of the actual Referendum question where the word “extinguish” is employed. In this ROBBINS poll we- define “extinguish” not as put out (as in a fire) but “get rid of” -- pretty clear – push- language. This outcome is not as scientifically substantial as our original of 1,500 with considerably less error - but in our opinion has some merit - particularly in light of the substantial number of advertisement dollars spent by the Government for the H.S.T. - advertising which in our opinion is misleading and unethical, specifically advertising which suggests that the H.S.T. is lower now than what the PST/GST was - which is completely untrue.
The H.S.T. is 12% - the PST/GST was 12%, but there were significantly more exemptions under the former PST/GST than there are under the current H.S.T. Effectively the former PST/GST was less than 11% because of all the exemptions and effectively less than 10% for many British Columbians including mothers with children under 18 - so in FACT the former tax system was less expensive to the vast majority of British Columbians than the current H.S.T. is and less expensive than the H.S.T. ---will ever be-- based on the promises of the BC Government to make future cuts to the H.S.T.
The Government of B.C. has promised to reduce the H.S.T. to 11% in 2012 - if the Referendum outcome retains the H.S.T. - but this isn’t for another a year - a future value - based on the value of the word of The Government of British Columbia - a value each individual must assess.
THIS ROBBINS poll---- suggests that respondents in the Lower Mainland of the Province are defending the H.S.T. in slightly higher percentages both in Raw and Decided numbers - and support the Fight H.S.T. or “Yes” position is attracting slightly lower support (51% Decided - 46% Raw)--reflected in higher Undecided numbers. To be clear, the margin of error through smaller sample size could explain – however it could also support a statistical tie between support for the H.S.T. --- the “NO” side and support for a return to the PST/GST or “Yes” side.
Based on this smaller sampling in the Lower Mainland of BC, the Fight H.S.T. “Yes” to extinguish - get rid of the H.S.T. could be construed as losing support to Undecided and to the “No” to extinguish - getting rid of the H.S.T.
There was no shortage of respondent anecdote to support the theory inferred by these results particularly among women respondents clearly the more reluctant of the genders to support the H.S.T. from previous ROBBINS polls. This apparent modest change of heart by many women was clearly due in our opinion - in large measure to government advertising suggesting that the H.S.T. would be dropped from 12% to 10%. This advertising does not include information relating to when this percentage drop will take place - 1% in 2012 and another 1% in 2014. It is as we have declared unethical and misleading advertising.
On my personal call sheets of 45 respondents I have denoted 6 of 27 of my total respondents (who were women) invited further discovery of their opinions by referencing the fact the H.S.T. charged would be dropped. NONE of these respondents was aware that the adjustment downward of the H.S.T. from 12% to 10% would happen over 3 years - and when asked - ALL believed that the percentage would drop immediately if the vote to keep the H.S.T. was successful. Two male respondents gave similar information - and one of these I spoke to for 40 minutes was most helpful in revealing to me - that even the generally best informed respondents - remained misinformed to some degree or another--at a minimum on the basis of when the tax would be reduced.
Other callers ALL reflected a very similar (lack) of awareness to the matter of when the tax would be reduced - with most (anecdotally) believing that the H.S.T. tax would be reduced to 10% immediately after a successful Referendum.
The government advertisement on all stations - reveals two stick men bickering as to whether or not the H.S.T. or the PST/GST is better - the SOLUTION offered in the Government advertisement widely disseminated- is reflected in a newspaper headline indicated “Government Listens”. How does it listen? -- by dropping the H.S.T. to 10% from 12%. It’s a clever ad and based on these numbers makes the government appear to some to provide a solution to a problem between two combative consumption tax proposals//The ‘old BC Liberal government’ Campbell H.S.T. and the Vander Zalm - Fight HST------- PST/GST --//the solution being provided by the ‘new BC Liberal government’ Christy Clark H.S.T.--- and anecdote beneath this singular polling question appears that it has been successful to a degree – but this success must be tempered with the knowledge that it is gained through dishonesty and distortion - by what it does not disclose that is - the drop in percentage isn’t immediate after the Referendum results are released (if successful). In any context of valid debate an omission is always a lie - broadcasters – in this province-- appear unwilling to ritualize much if any principle insofar as integrity is concerned when it comes to the H.S.T. debate.
A few respondents wanted to know where Bill Vander Zalm the Fight HST warlord was in all of this - his “absence” leaving a vacuum of sorts with voters. With - some - other respondents claiming not to like the Fight HST because they “don’t like BC NDP leader Adrian Dix” who has been speaking publicly against it - it is probably as good a time as any for Mr. Vander Zalm - to be heard. Make no mistake though – with the City of Surrey and elsewhere using tax payer dollars for city workers to remove “Yes” signs – against the H.S.T. and camera crews catching former BC ski hero Nancy Green frothing at Bill Vander Zalm – suggest this battle is brewing – no wonder – there’s 2 billion at stake!
A random telephone sample of 483 respondents throughout the Lower Mainland of British Columbia between June 10 to 13, 2011. The Margin of Error is (4.83%), plus or minus, 19 times out of 20 times at 95% confidence. This poll was funded in part by New Trend Optical (604) 942-2008. Mention this poll and you will receive proprietor Jim Van Rassel’s BEST deal on your eyewear including some terrific looking Sun Glasses.
(Mr. Van Rassel supports the HST nominally for his business – but not personally).

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