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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics July 13, 2012
  Jul 13, 2012

By Peter Kelly
"While Vancouver Island traditionally tilts to the left, 2013 represents an extreme challenge for the BC Liberals. As the standard bearer of the right-of-centre voting bloc, the party managed to get a respectable 38% even if it landed only 4 of the 15 seats on the Island region...the NDP took over 50% island-wide. As it stands now, not even conservative leaning bastions of Saanich North or Parksville-Qualicum would be safe from the NDP wave.
Vote splitting arguments are almost irrelevant on the Island as the NDP holds such a commanding lead, but would clearly propel a destruction of the BC Liberal party on the west coast. Ironically, it also represents a potential NDP weakness; since the Island is as home-turf as the NDP gets in BC, increasing their vote share can only score them a maximum of four more seats. The problem for the NDP is that they now get into a scenario of wasted votes. This was the problem for the BC Liberals in 1996 when they racked up super-majority wins in their core areas but lost some key ground battles to the NDP. The 1996 BC Liberals won the popular vote in these core areas by such a margin that it skewed their provincial tally as they lost the whole election to the NDP. At this stage, its not close enough for the NDP to worry about a wasted vote scenario such as that, but if it gets closer (as it likely will), mega-wins in areas they're expected to dominate in will not help them in areas that its still highly competitive. The NDP election machine will still have to outfox the BC Liberals financial juggernaut in BC's swing ridings if Adrian Dix is to be sworn in as BC's next Premier."

Question #1
Support for BC Leader and Party (Cumulative total Lower Mainland, North and Interior, Vancouver Island – 2,493 total respondents (Margin of Error: (1.96% plus or minus) (random and from ‘voters’ lists included in response samples and calculation methodology)
Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats    45.9 %
Christy Clark and BC Liberals    23.2 %
John Cummins and BC Conservatives    20.3 %
Jane Sterk and BC Greens    10.5 %
Undecided    15.5 %
Question #2
Which leader and party in the Province of British Columbia do you support at this moment in time? (Vancouver Island only) (Margin of Error 3.78% plus or minus).
Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats    49.5 %
Christy Clark and BC Liberals    19.1 %
John Cummins and BC Conservatives    16.2 %
Jane Sterk and BC Greens    15 %
Undecided    16 %
Question #3
Political activist Jim Van Rassel believes higher wage earners involved in the BC Public Service including all government employees and contract executives in the public sector should have their wages and benefits capped by Legislation at $225,000 per year with no exceptions. Do you or do you not support this cap on higher end public sector wages?
I support the cap    62 %
I do not support the cap    23.5 %
Undecided    15 %
Question #4
Is it your experience or your perception that public service (government) workers have easier jobs with better pay and benefits than workers doing equivalent work in the private sector?
Yes    48.5 %
No    31 %
Undecided    20.5 %
Question #5
Do you support the delivery of Alberta crude oil across BC’s northern land mass and down the coastline of British Columbia to China and the United States?
Yes    21 %
No    78 %
Undecided    10 %
Question #6
A parent with a child playing on a high school sport team wants to coach the team which is currently coached by a community coach who has no children. There is no teacher at the school available to coach the team. If all matters between the ‘coaches’ in terms of skill and experience are relatively equal, which interested party, if any, should have preference to coach?
The Parent with the child in school should have preference to coach    57.5 %
The community coach should have preference to coach    27.5 %
Undecided/Can’t Answer/No position    14.5 %
Responses to these questions were collected from Victoria, Oak Bay, Gordon Head, Saanich, Esquimalt, Langford, Duncan, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville-Qualicum, Port Alberni, Courtenay, and Comox –all cities and towns located on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia.
Victoria is the capital city for the Province of British Columbia, third largest province in Canada.
Responses from southern Vancouver Island (Victoria, Oak Bay, Gordon Head, Saanich, Esquimalt, and Langford) provide outcomes as follows: Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats-(50.5%), Christy Clark and BC Liberals-(17%), John Cummins and BC Conservatives-(16%), Jane Sterk and BC Greens-(16.5%).
Responses from mid Vancouver Island (Chemainus, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville-Qualicum): Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats-(48%), Christy Clark and BC Liberals-(22%), John Cummins and BC Conservatives-(18%), Jane Sterk and BC Greens-(12%).
Responses from North Island (Port Alberni (actually mid west Vancouver Island), Courtney and Comox): Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats-(45.5%), Christy Clark and BC Liberals-(22.5%), John Cummins and BC Conservatives-(15.5%), Jane Sterk and BC Greens-(16.5%).
All of the percentages provided above are reflected in decided totals.
Question 1 in this poll reflects a compilation of (3) separate polls undertaken over the past few weeks, beginning in the most populous Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, followed by the North and Interior of the province, and finally this Vancouver Island poll, while question 2 reflects the outcomes for this (Vancouver Island) poll. Here then is a brief history of the polls undertaken throughout the Province of British Columbia in our Trilogy Tribute to polling great Angus Reid. ROBBINS Sce Research (1998) Omnibus Poll - A Tribute to Pollster Angus Reid – the first poll in the Trilogy – Tribute to Angus Reid conducted in the Lower Mainland of the Province, May 31 – June 9, 2012 features Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats at (45.5%), Christy Clark and BC New Democrats (23.5%), John Cummins and BC Conservatives (21%), Jane Sterk and BC Greens (8.5%) over a sample size (randomly collected) of 1,111 respondents by way of traditional telephone device (includes cellular telephones for call outs).
Our Angus Reid “Second Attention” Glen P. Robbins – The Second Attention – 2nd in Trilogy Tribute to Angus Reid poll of Northern and Interior ‘voters’ June 15-22, 2012 (710 respondents from ‘Voters’ lists) features Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats (38.2%), Christy Clark and BC Liberals (30.4%), BC Conservatives (22.3%), and BC Greens (9.3%).
The cumulative total from the Lower Mainland and North and Interior polls reflects Adrian Dix and BC NDP (44.08%), Christy Clark and BC Liberals (24.85%), John Cummins and BC Conservatives (21.91%), and Jane Sterk and BC Greens (9.12%). The Undecided from the random sample of Lower Mainland respondents was (17%), while the random sample from North and Interior voters (2009) lists was (11%).
In this – the Final Poll in the Trilogy – Tribute to Angus Reid with poll outcomes reflected in question # 2 Adrian Dix and BC NDP are (49.5%), Christy Clark and BC Liberals (19.1%), John Cummins and BC Conservatives (16.2%), and Jane Sterk and BC Greens (15%).
The final tally for the Province included this Final Poll in the Trilogy – Tribute to Angus Reid the Provincial numbers are very similar to the outcome for the Lower Mainland poll (L.M. results in {--}): Support for BC Leader and Party (Cumulative total Lower Mainland, North and Interior, Vancouver Island) Adrian Dix and BC New Democrats-(45.9%) {45.5%}; Christy Clark and BC Liberals-(23.2%) {23.5%}; John Cummins and BC Conservatives-(20.3%) {21%}; Jane Sterk and BC Greens-(10.5%) {8.5%}.
The results of these (3) three ROBBINS Trilogy polls are compelling. In early May Angus Reid conducted an On-Line poll of 800 or so respondents. “AR” suggested support for the BC NDP at 50%, BC Liberals 23%, BC Conservatives 19% and BC Greens 6%. Although the Angus Reid poll (May 2012) is a much smaller sample than this overall ROBBINS Tribute Trilogy to Angus Reid (June 2012) and is conducted On Line and not by Telephone, it reflects a similar two month trend for both the BC Liberals and BC Conservatives over the two month period. The BC New Democrats achieve similar results over the period, however ROBBINS larger Telephone sample reflects an (8%) decline for the BC NDP and a 166.5% increase in support for the BC Green party from the results attained by Angus Reid the first week of May 2012.
Based on results from the 2009 general provincial election in British Columbia the party support 3 years later which less than one year to go until the next provincial general election in British Columbia reveals the BC NDP up (11%), the BC Liberals down (50%), and the BC Greens up (43%).
If we weigh the BC Liberals based on ROBBINS larger sample size (2,493) conducted in June 2012 and Angus Reid’s May 2012 (802) for a grand total of ‘large size ROBBINS sample’ and moderate size Angus Reid sample we recognize and aggregate (3,295) (Margin of error 1.71%) total of all On-Line, Telephone random and voter - polling respondents – and discover that the governing BC Liberal Party achieves (23.15%) support, and BC Conservatives (19.8%). The two major centre right parties in the Province of British Columbia achieve (43%) of total support (voter and random/telephone and random), while the two major centre left parties the BC NDP and BC Greens achieve (56%). The outcome of the 2009 general provincial election in British Columbia reflected centre right parties at 50% and centre left at 50%. Centre right parties and policies including one centre right party which is the current government attracts (13%) less support than centre left.
Beyond this fact the centre right parties are virtually split in two with the BC Liberals attracting (53.8%) and BC Conservatives (46%) of that centre right vote split. Further affirmation of the veracity of these numbers is the fact that the overall provincial numbers are supported nearly identically in the most populous region of the Province – the Lower Mainland. This suggests that the likelihood (even the possibility) that the numbers for centre right parties will change dramatically is slim as it takes a lot of money and effort to move a percentage of vote through the larger land mass of the more populous Lower Mainland region.
The BC Liberals would appear to have more money and likely more volunteers than the BC Conservatives – but will all of those BC Liberal volunteers bother to help in the next election? The BC Conservatives may (yet) end up with more money coming in to party coffers as the election nears – and may (yet) find many federal Conservative government volunteers arriving in the final weeks before the provincial general election.
During the recent two by-elections in previously BC Liberal dominated ridings (Chillwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam) the BC Liberals managed an average of 31% voter support in constituencies where they previously had won an average of 53%. Based on a calculation of relative drop in support based on the constituency vote outcomes from 2009, the total BC Liberal party outcome 2009, and the by-election outcome the BC Liberals would be predicted to have current statistical support of {27%} support. This is clearly not the case as their actual support from both the Angus Reid and ROBBINS polls is (23%) - well below that mathematical extrapolation. We believe this lower support may be representative of a factor of voters becoming tired of centre right policy and centre right governments at both the provincial and federal levels.
The BC Liberals were reported (Vaughn Palmer/Vancouver Sun – Bill Good Show – CKNW) to have spent maximum dollars permitted by law with an army of hundreds of volunteers, while John Cummins BC Conservatives spent little and used very few volunteers. This report alone bodes badly for the BC Liberals as the BC Conservatives can only do better on the financial and volunteer side – and the BC Liberals will be hard pressed to duplicate the same amount of resources over 80 plus ridings in a provincial election.
Political problems get worse for the BC Liberals in this poll – based on the facts that Angus Reid had the BC New Democrats at 50% support, while ROBBINS has the BC NDP provincial support at (46%), with Angus Reid reflecting 6% for the BC Greens, and ROBBINS suggesting (10%). It is true that vote history suggests that the BC Greens underachieve at the polling booth from support seen in public opinion polls preceding elections. So, if as Angus Reid suggests the BC Greens are really at 6% does the remaining 4% from ROBBINS go the New Democrats as the Reid poll would indicate? Could we really theorize that this BC Green vote would be going to BC Conservatives? Unlikely. BC Liberals? Unlikely. The BC Conservatives are proponents of the Alberta pipeline across British Columbia and by default so is Christy Clark, leader of the BC Liberals.
In order NOT to be decimated in the next general provincial election in British Columbia, Christy Clark and BC Liberals require the BC Greens to obtain double digit support by taking support from the BC New Democrats, while they take 4% from both the BC Conservatives and BC New Democrats. With centre right support declining or at best drifting – and British Columbians hating the prospect of an Alberta pipeline carrying Tar Sand oil through their pristine province and down its coastline – and both centre right parties supporting this losing proposition – can the BC Liberals and BC Conservatives really depend that an increase in BC Green totals is not in part contributed to by a loss in their own support because of Enbridge?
The difficulty for the BC Liberals or BC Conservatives in achieving even a best of worst case based on declining voter support for centre right parties is further evidenced by these ROBBINS polls conducted in the preceding six months which reflect a to and fro of support as between the two centre right parties with neither party able to get a foothold on a clear advantage over the other. In our May poll: Weekend at Birnies’ 2012 (832 ‘Voter’ Respondents May 10-15, 2012) we featured the BC NDP at (47%), BC Conservatives (23%) and BC Liberals (17.5%) – centre right parties at {40%} with the BC Liberals attracting only {43.5%} of that {40%}.
In our ROBBINS poll of a week earlier (May 5-9, 2012) (643 ‘Voters) We featured the BC NDP at (44%), BC Conservatives (26%), BC Liberals (20%) and BC Greens (10%).
In our April 21-28, 2012 poll of 725 respondents (Lower Mainland) we featured BC NDP at (46%), BC Liberals (19%) and BC Conservatives (18%).
In our April 17-22, 2012 poll (824 British Columbians) BC New Democrats (45%), BC Liberals (21.5%), BC Conservatives (20%).
From our February 28, 2012 Massive poll (3,311) BC New Democrats (44.5%), BC Liberals (29%), BC Conservatives (19%)
From our February 9, 2012 poll (1,048) BC NDP (45%), BC Conservatives (25%), BC Liberals (22%)
From our February 3, 2012 poll (1,218 Voters) BC NDP (36.5%), BC Liberals (29.5%), BC Conservatives (25%);
From our January 20, 2012 poll (504) British Columbians BC NDP (36%), BC Conservatives (29.5%), BC Liberals (18.5%) {Response provided as Leader with (party)}.
This January 20, 2012 ROBBINS poll was the first of a series of polls relating to the Enbridge pipeline, (and Kinder Morgan). Note the support totals for both parties centre right parties. In the January 20, 2012 poll centre right support is (48%); February 3, 2012 (54.5%); February 9, 2012 (47%); February 28, 2012 (48%); mid-April 2012 (41.5%); April 28, 2012 (37%), May 9, 2012 (46%), mid May (40.5%), and currently (43%). The average for centre right BC Liberals and BC Conservatives before the middle of April 2012 was (49%). The average since then is (41.5%) a loss of (15.5%) from the centre right ledger, a significant drop in support and evidence of real trouble for Christy Clark’s BC Liberals locked in a daily struggle with BC Conservatives for (apparently) a shrinking pool of voters.
What happened in mid April that might explain the drop in support for centre right parties in the province? Answer: The two B.C. provincial by-elections in Port Moody-Coquitlam and Chilliwack-Hope. Both ridings were long held by BC Liberals and they were both lost badly to the BC New Democrats. These electoral results affirmed what British Columbians were beginning to believe – Christy Clark was not doing well as Premier, the centre right vote was split as BC Liberal and BC Conservative parties began to fight like cats and dogs – and the BC New Democrats and their new leader Adrian Dix were fast emerging as the legitimate benefactors to the relief British Columbians were desperately seeking from government that had been in turmoil for 2.5 years, in office for over a decade, and were bickering with their former friends (BC Conservatives) projecting this internal frustration through mean spirited advertising against the Opposition New Democrats who had not troubled British Columbians for over a decade – in politics – a long, long time. The by-elections in Port Moody and Chilliwack affirmed what British Columbians were thinking – we are sick of the BC Liberals and set to give the New Democrats a serious turn at government.
We believe the Enbridge pipeline proposal is a contributing factor in the declining support for Christy Clark’s BC Liberals. Although she has yet to publicly announce that she is supporting or rejecting the Enbridge pipeline Ms. Clark’s non response implies at least tacit support for the pipeline, which only services to reinforce the BC NDP’s position against it. John Cummins leader of the BC Conservatives can afford to hold support for the pipeline as about one in four British Columbians do favour the pipeline – not a favourable number in support if you are vying for government – but if John Cummins were asked if he would take a 25% guarantee provincial total on election day in May 2013 – you can be sure he would take the bird in the hand – (covered in oil or not). In contrast - Christy Clark and the BC Liberals face political death with 25% support.
It appears that the only question remaining over the next short 10 months is how large the BC New Democrat majority will be in 2013?
The New Democratic Super Majority anticipated for May 2013, may feature a short lived honeymoon with few benefits for friends and associates. British Columbians in this NDP friendly region of the province are not big supporters of government bureaucracy and high pay for government mandarins—long associated with BC New Democratic governments. The BC Public Service has a public relations problem. This ROBBINS poll of Vancouver Island suggests that even in the region of the province where their support is likely the greatest there are still some issues dominated by populist public opinion—which do not adhere to past BC New Democrat policy.
Seven out of 10 respondents on Vancouver Island believe that government employees and contractors should not earn more than $225,000 per year inclusive of benefits, while (61%) of decided respondents support the idea that BC public service (government) workers have easier jobs with better pay and benefits than workers doing equivalent work in the private sector. The New Democrats have a reputation for supporting government bureaucracy – and will be watched very carefully through its first term – and how they respond on this account may determine whether or not they receive a second.
One thing is for certain throughout the Province of British Columbia -British Columbians everywhere but particularly in the Lower Mainland – on the southern coast and on Vancouver Island – do not support the Enbridge pipeline (and any other pipelines it would seem). The fact that John Cummins and his BC Conservatives (reported) and Christy Clark and her BC Liberals (by default) – the centre right parties – support the Enbridge pipeline has all but assured the BC New Democrats (who do not support it) a significant majority outcome from the upcoming general provincial election – in May 2013 – and provided the BC Green Party with an opportunity to attain voter support they have failed to realize in the past.
Christy Clark’s government has had issues with the BC Teachers and public policy associated with the public school system in the province. Our question relating to extra curricular activities such as high school coaching clearly reflect a public favour toward parents over community coaches performing the same volunteer service. A teacher in the school has the first right to take the position as coach of a public school team, but British Columbians in particularly the vast majority of BC Liberal and BC Conservative supporters on Vancouver Island are family friendly – and prefer a parent to all other volunteers.
Methodology - A sample of 672 respondents throughout Vancouver Island - with best efforts to correlate population to responses. Adjustments were made to question 2 percentages based on gender reflected in poll and the number if respective communities on Vancouver Island involved in this ROBBINS poll. This poll was conducted June 24-June 30, 2012 and features a margin of error of 3.78% plus or minus, 19 times out of 20- at 95% confidence. Research in part provided by Jim Van Rassel.

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