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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics March 17, 2012
  Mar 17, 2012

Question #1
Christy Clark has been British Columbia’s Premier for a year now. Which of the following grades best depicts how you would measure Christy Clark’s performance and effort over this period of time? (Letter grades to 100%)
A    1 %
B    31.5 %
C    17 %
D    50 %
Undecided/Can't Answer    23 %
Question #2
Which of the following political parties in British Columbia do you most support at this time?
BC New Democrats    40.5 %
BC Liberals    27 %
BC Conservatives    24 %
BC Greens    8 %
Undecided    17 %
Question #3
Do you support legislating Teachers back to work?
Yes    44 %
No    52.5 %
Undecided    3.5 %
Question #4
There are laws on the books both provincially and federally which establish time limits for the collection of debts by those who own the debt. In circumstances where the time has run out on the debt holders legal capacity to collect on a debt, who should be responsible for making sure that the ‘legally dead’ debt is removed from credit bureaus and all action is ceased on any further attempts at debt collection?
The debt holder that failed to collect the debt on time    65 %
The person who owed the debt before time ran out    31 %
Undecided/Can’t Answer    4 %
Question #5
In your opinion should post secondary education tuition be FREE for long time BC residents?
Yes    59 %
No    39.5 %
Undecided    1.5 %
Commentary
Christy Clark’s grade “B” performance in question 1 has brought her ‘personal grade’ above the actual support for her BC Liberal party in question 2. The number of actual respondents who gave her a “B” grade is (8.5%) higher than the number of respondents who support the BC Liberals. Christy Clark’s “B” grade exceeds BC Conservative support by (22.5%), though (14.5%) of those respondents who grade Christy Clark at “B” level also support the BC Conservatives.
The vast majority of BC Liberals (82.4%), and BC Conservatives (68.5%) (“the centre right parties”), support legislating BC Teachers – in question 3 back to work, while (18%) of BC Liberals and (36%) of BC Conservatives are of the opinion that the onus of initiating cessation of debt collection pursuant to provincial and federal laws ought to be on the person or company that holds the debt against another.
(17%) of BC Liberal supporters from question 2 support FREE post secondary education for long time BC residents, as do (20%) BC Conservative supporters. In contract, (83.8%) of respondents who support the BC New Democrats in question 2 do NOT support government’s back to work legislation of BC Teachers, while (80%) of BC Greens and (74%) of Undecided from question 2 do NOT support the legislation (unadjusted for gender). (84%) of New Democrats, (91%) of BC Greens and (82%) of Undecided from question 2 place the onus on the person owed the debt to take steps to ensure the debt is removed.
(85%) of BC NDP supporters from question 2 support free post secondary education for long time BC residents, while (91%) of BC Green supporters do. (62%) of Undecided from question 2 support conditional free post secondary education for British Columbians.
A majority of Undecided respondents from question 2 do not support legislating BC Teachers back to work – making the difference to this question. BC Liberals and BC Conservatives will have to work much harder than BC New Democrats and BC Greens to convince supporters of their position on this legislation. A majority of BC Liberals and BC New Democrats to equal degrees support their party’s position on the back to work legislation for BC Teachers – but there is not unanimity on this position. Given BC Conservative leader John Cummins position to support back to work legislation it is interesting (relatively speaking) how respondents who support his party in question 2, do so in a lower majority of responses.
A majority of British Columbians in this poll support a reversal of the current practice in terms of debt limitation placing the onus on the person or company holding the debt of another party to collect the debt on time or take steps to remove the debt from credit bureaus and to cease collection. ROBBINS New Trend believes there is upwards of one billion in legally uncollectable debt remaining on government books at the provincial and federal level.
Given the high majority of respondents who support a reversal of the current practice of placing the onus on the person who incurred the debt to take steps to have the debt legally extinguished – and the fact that this pool of respondents is highest of all responses in this poll – it will be interesting to see the value the Government – the Opposition and other relevant political parties place on this obviously important consumer issue.
In a number of ROBBINS polls including this ROBBINS NewTrend poll there is consistent consensus among British Columbians in support of free tuition for “long time” BC residents at post secondary facilities---including during a period where resources are apparently scarce including for BC Teachers wages. The majority numbers are a consequence of the minority of BC Liberal and BC Conservative supporters and long time British Columbians – looking for a cost break for their children and grandchildren over perceived costs from “ESL on the system” or other benefits lost to other “who have only come to the province recently.”
Over the past few weeks, Christy Clark has encountered criticism of her leadership skills and her ability to discharge the office of Premier with competence. Most recently, she has had support from federal Conservatives, including another person (press secretary) installed in her office – from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office. Clark has had difficulties with other issues relating to Telus-BC Place Stadium and had a Cabinet Minister resign. Perhaps the largest of the issues is her Government legislating BC Teachers back to work this week.
After all of this it appears that the wonderful and weird world of BC politics has gotten even stranger (than fiction). Christy Clark has gone from less popular than her party to more popular than her party (assuming a “B” grade is popular support). What is odd is that there are (14.5%) of respondents who grade Christy Clark at “B” in question 1 who choose BC Conservatives in question 2, and more odd there is anecdotal evidence that a few of these “B grade” for Christy Clark – BC Conservatives are of the mistaken belief that Christy is the “BC Conservative Premier of the Province”. This same (14.5%) of respondents hold for back to work legislation for BC Teachers in percentages above the number of BC Conservatives overall who support the back to work legislation.
There are many BC Conservative supporters dead set against back to work legislation – these are conservatives who don’t like government involvement in disputes – the Libertarian types.
The difficulty with Christy’s incremental success to re-brand herself Conservative is that she is in fact leader of the BC Liberal party – effectively improving her own name brand – supporting the BC Conservative name brand by association – and hurting the brand of the party she is leading-the BC Liberal brand. This perception problem is made potentially worse by the possibility that those respondents who grade her “B” (most without hesitation) and support the BC Conservatives in question 2 – do not support Christy Clark despite the relatively high mark, because they don’t support her party. In other words Christy is dependent on being perceived as a Conservative, while Conservatives remain against the party she leads. Former BC Premier Gordon Campbell did not have this problem as he was perceived as a Conservative from the beginning and his Liberal party was seen as a centre right coalition of market liberals and conservatives.
To be fair Christy Clark was always a Paul Martin federal (market) Liberal supporter – and not a Reformer like Preston Manning. Support for her from Reformers and Conservatives like Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, and Preston Manning has ensured Christy Clark’s political brand turns Conservative – however this transition presumes that she arrived at this brand from the place of another brand – in this instance, that of Liberal and in so doing disengages her from those in her party who are in fact liberal Liberals – making these supporters available for the taking from BC New Democrats.
BC Teachers have made their ‘point’ – and their ‘point’ is clearly and unequivocally supported by BC New Democrats and BC Green supporters and the Undecided – however – though forcing the Government to invoke back to work legislation helped solidify support from centre left and Undecided British Columbians - in a clear majority- the question remains if increased job action would hurt or help the cause of their strongest allies – BC New Democrats – who currently are looking like easy winners of the next provincial general election slated for May 2013.
BC Liberals want to maintain the status quo on consumer debt that has gone past limitation periods for collection, and a majority of BC Conservatives agree, however a significant majority of BC New Democrats, BC Greens and Undecided think the person who hold the debt against another is responsible for have the debt cancelled. There is a significant minority of BC Conservative supporters who support the BC NDP position on this debt issue to make it an interesting one for the Opposition party heading toward an election. The same thinking carries over into the issue of FREE post secondary education for long time British Columbians. BC New Democrats – BC Greens (“the centre left”) and Undecided overwhelming support FREE post secondary education, as do a minority of BC Conservatives and BC Liberals.
A random telephone sampling by ROBBINS NewTrend of 612 British Columbians residing in the Lower Mainland of the Province of British Columbia from Richmond Vancouver to Hope. This poll was conducted March 14-16, 2012 and features a Margin of Error of 3.96%, 19 times out of 20 @ 95% confidence.

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