Latest polling confirms BC’s frustration with Clark government

B.C. residents are decidedly unhappy with Christy Clark’s Liberal government.

That’s the finding of Insights West’s BC Government Report Card released yesterday following an online study from May 2 to May 5 involving 801 adult British Columbians.

The study’s margin of error — which measures sample variability — is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

The Report Card, conducted in partnership with Business in Vancouver, shows that a number of decisions taken by the provincial government are getting negative reviews from B.C. residents.

The online survey also shows that, for the first time in three years, housing, poverty and homelessness (22%, +5 since November 2015) is regarded as the top issue facing the province, overtaking the economy and jobs (20%, -7), health care (17%, =) and government accountability (12%, -1).

Just 15% of those polled are satisfied with the work done on housing, poverty and homelessness and only one in five are happy with the Clark government’s performance on ensuring accountability.

Roughly three-quarters of those polled were not happy with the Liberals’ handling of education and health care.

“The provincial government continues to get its highest marks on economic management and safety, but the numbers are not particularly impressive,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West.

“In November 2013, six months after the last election, the government had the same score as it does now on handling the economy.”

Just two in five British Columbians (39%, +8) say the provincial government has done a good job dealing with the economy and jobs, while a third are satisfied with the way two other files have been handled: crime and public safety (34%, -1) and the environment (32%, +3).

When it comes to recent decisions, practically half of British Columbians (47%, +5) are satisfied with the government’s work on implementing changes to legislation related to the sale of alcohol. Only two other decisions get a positive rating from a third of residents: pushing for the development of LNG (35%, +2) and handling relations with BC’s First Nations (33%, +2).

The rating is lower for other decisions, including managing BC Hydro (28%, -2) taking action to reduce BC’s greenhouse gas emissions (also 28%, +4), dealing with the Northern Gateway Pipeline (27%, =), dealing with the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline (24%, +1) and managing the Agricultural Land Commission (22%, +4).

The four lowest ranked decisions are managing BC Ferries (19%, +1), managing TransLink (16%, +6), dealing with questions related to political fundraising (16%) and handling issues related to foreign ownership in housing (11%, -1).

Which brings us to the upcoming provincial election.

Just one third of British Columbians (34%, +5) approve of the performance of Premier and BC Liberals leader Christy Clark, while three-in-five (59%, -3) disapprove.

More telling is Ms. Clark’s stature among respondents who say they voted for her party in 2013. Only 16% of those polled who identify themselves as Liberal supporters strongly approve of her performance. Thirty-six percent said they disapprove.

Only 63% of those who say they voted for the Liberals in 2013 said they would vote Liberal now.

The approval rating for opposition and BC New Democratic Party (NDP) leader John Horgan stands at 40% (+1), with 29% (+3) disapproving. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver holds an approval rating of 32%, but 48% of residents are undecided when asked about his performance.

Half of British Columbians (51%) say their opinion of Clark has worsened over the past six months, giving her a net momentum score of -46. On this indicator, Horgan is at -2 and Weaver is even.

The BC NDP is in first place with the support of 40% of decided voters, followed by the BC Liberals with 34%, the BC Green Party with 14% and the BC Conservatives with 10%.

The New Democrats are doing especially well in Vancouver Island (52%) and among women (45%) and voters aged 18-to-34 (44%). The BC Liberals are the top choice among male voters (40%) and voters aged 35-54 (39%).

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

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