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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics September 5, 2011
  Sep 05, 2011

Question #1
Which of the following BC provincial party leaders and parties do you currently support? (Straw number) -adjusted percentage.
Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats-(369)    39.84 %
Christy Clark and BC Liberals-(323)    34.93 %
John Cummins and BC Conservatives-(143)    15.45 %
Jane Sterk and BC Greens-(86)    9.31 %
Undecided/Can’t Answer/Other Party- (203)    18 %
Question #2
Do you support the following public policy proposal? Cut spending by municipal and provincial governments by 1% per year based on present total spending (2010) for a period of 3 years, AND simultaneously tax wealthy British Columbians and Corporations sufficiently to raise an additional one billion dollars in additional revenues per year for a period of 3 years to improve British Columbia’s overall financial health.
Yes-(495)    44 %
No-(482)    43 %
Undecided/Can’t Answer-(147)    13 %
Question #3
Do you support a wage increase for BC School Teachers – Kindergarten to grade 12 – of 3% per year over a three year period for a total wage increase of 9% over three years?
Yes-(570)    56 %
No-(449)    34 %
Commentary
Support for Adrian Dix and New Democrats as follows (decided numbers) is Vancouver Island and Coastal regions (45%), Lower Mainland from Vancouver-Richmond –North Shore through to Surrey (42%). Fraser Valley including Langley (30%), Okanagan Shuswap (29%), North and Kootenay (40%).
Support for Christy Clark and BC Liberals as follows: Vancouver Island and Coastal regions (26%), Lower Mainland (36%), Fraser Valley - Langley (42%), Okanagan Shuswap (40%), North and Kootenay (34%).
Support for John Cummins and BC Conservatives as follows: Vancouver Island and Coastal regions (16%), Lower Mainland (12%), Fraser Valley – Langley (23%), Okanagan Shuswap (24%), North and Kootenay (15%).
Support for Jane Sterk and BC Green as follows: Vancouver Island and Coastal regions (13%), Lower Mainland (10%), Fraser Valley – Langley (5%), Okanagan Shuswap (7%), North and Kootenay (11%)
New Democrat label supporters also respond “Yes” to question 2 at a rate of (40%), while Liberal label supporters respond (44%) “Yes”, BC Conservative supporters respond (60%) “Yes” and Greens support it (38%) “Yes”.
“No” from BC Liberal Education Minister George Abbott – to BC Teachers on a wage increase demand isn’t going to cut it with British Columbians. Recent well publicized BC Teacher demands – have not been entirely rationalize – but 3% per year for 3 years is easily acceptable to BC voters and the government should act accordingly.
Children in K-12 are not responsible for the financial problems caused to the budget by the HST – and BC parents want Teachers paid fairly. On the other hand – Teachers need to make reasonable demands for specialized teachers for children with disabilities, and be reasonable about a wage increase (reasonable is around 3% per year – for 3 years – keep it simple – and sane).
According to this ROBBINS poll – Christy Clark’s BC Liberals are down (intrinsically) about 15 seats from their present position and seat holdings in the BC Legislature. Clark’s decision not to hold a general provincial election at this time makes sense – because she would lose. It is difficult to speculate on what she could do to change these second place conditions/because there isn’t much that can be done – these mid 30 per cent (public support) numbers seem to be her lot at this time and for the foreseeable future.
Two BC Liberals, Barry Penner (Chilliwack) and Iain Black-(Stein) (Port Moody) have abandoned their seats – making a by election in those traditional BC Liberal strongholds a reality for early 2012.
Speculation abounds as to whether or not BC Conservative leader John Cummins will run in either of these two by – elections, and whether or not more BC Liberals will fold their tents for easier softer appointments in the coming weeks. A strong BC Conservative candidate in Port Moody may turn Port Moody New Democrat considering the 12% difference between BC Liberal candidate Iain Black (Stein) (52%) and New Democrat Shannon Watkins (40%) in the 2009 general provincial election. BC Liberal Black (Stein) won 54% in 2005, and the BC Liberal support in the recent HST was 50%. BC Liberal numbers are steadily declining while BC NDP numbers are slowly increasing. A stronger BC Conservative candidate could break the BC Liberal stronghold.
Jane Sterk will do her party a favour by ‘sitting’ the by elections in Port Moody and Chilliwack out – because – in so doing – if the BC Conservatives run a credible candidate in those by elections – a seat change from BC Liberal to New Democrats in (at least) Port Moody will compel Christy Clark to adopt policy that pleases the BC Greens, lest Sterk come to some more agreeable arrangements with the New Democrats more favourable to her party’s objectives and beyond the loss of 15% support each election outing.
John Cummins who has chosen Langley - his former home – from which to initiate his provincial political career – is expected to run in the Chilliwack by election – to establish high numbers for his party – or alternatively win the by election with voter support from a strategic group of the 30% New Democrats in the riding effectively finishing Christy Clark’s political career. Barry Penner left politics because his hold on Chilliwack is diminishing and the BC Attorney Generals Ministry is a cesspool. In the provincial general election in 2005 (Chilliwack Kent) Barry Penner and BC Liberals attracted 57% of the vote. In the 2009 provincial election Penner received 53% of the vote. His party received only 50% in the HST Referendum – like Port Moody – showing signs of voter fatigue and although the NDP is 10 points behind in Port Moody and 16.5% behind in Chilliwack – BC Conservatives can easily contribute to major changes in both of these by elections in the eastern suburbs and Fraser Valley region of the province.
The by elections in early 2012 will ultimately quantify where British Columbians are going politically.
Question 2 ought to speak volumes to John Cummins and his BC Conservatives. A majority of British Columbians support 3 years of 1% tax cuts off the base budget (2010), and tax increases from wealthy British Columbians including Corporations. In fact in raw numbers 27% more British Columbians support this policy than support the most popular party – the BC New Democrats.
Both New Democrat and BC Liberal supporters are conflicted on the Cummins/Robbins policy from Question 2 – while a clear majority of BC Conservative supports the policy proposition – the 1% government cut authored by John Cummins is now running wild in the United States. The Glen P Robbins – Progressive Conservative- side of the policy equation aims to hold the wealthy – and corporations responsible for increasing revenues, considering the middle class seeded the rich in the BC Liberal first term with huge tax cuts. It is the Robbins – Progressive Conservative side that ultimately attracts – Reform Liberals and New Democrats to it and would likely enable the current version of the BC Conservatives to find its way over 20 percent and actually compete in the next general provincial election.
Although British Columbians are taking out their frustrations on government - which they see as less accountable (and many see as dishonest) – bloated government pensions – and fewer good private sector jobs -, the majority of the population is willing to give the BC Teachers a modest wage increase – will the Teachers play this smart – or go politically savage?
There is little in the way the BC Liberal government can do – in attacking the BC New Democrats the former being in government too long – and the latter having left government over a decade ago. The new BC Liberal strategy – should be to realize that 40 per cent is the best they could do in a provincial election – and 30 per cent just as likely –either way – the New Democrats are posed for power – whether the election is one day or two years away.
If Christy Clark can accept that at some point – the BC Conservatives – can actually attract New Democrat support – she might be able to hang in and not lose too many seats – forging a future for herself as Opposition leader. However, if she continues to permit Gordon Campbell’s friends to actually run government – while confidence in her ability continues to erode – her party may eventually find itself wiped out as the New Democrats were in 2001.
Methodology: 1128 Telephoned Respondents August 27- September 3, 2011. MOE is 2.92%, 19 times out of 20.

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