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Poll: Christy Clark best choice for B.C., but HST not working in favour of Liberals

VANCOUVER – It’s been over seven months since Christy Clark took the helm as the premier of this province, and it seems most people in Metro Vancouver think she is the best choice for B.C.

Clark’s predecessor Gordon Campbell had dismal approval ratings in his last year on the job and left the office as Canada’s least popular premier.

Clark, however, seems to be enjoying the confidence of British Columbians so far.

A survey conducted by Global News shows when asked “who would make the best Premier of British Columbia,” 47 per cent of people picked Christy Clark.

NDP leader Adrian Dix came at a distant second with 29 per cent of support, and B.C. Conservatives leader John Cummins trailed with 17 per cent.

But are things about to change?

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Earlier this week, in an interview to a US business network Prime Minister Steven Harper admitted Canada’s economy is vulnerable and very much depends on the trajectory of the global economy.

B.C. is no exception.

In fact, with a strong Canadian dollar, high gas prices and soaring inflation, economy is top of mind for British Columbians, and it seems Clark will have a lot of work to do to maintain her strong approval numbers.

Last week, the premier introduced her “jobs plan,” promising to expand the mining industry, help investors and attract more international students to study in B.C. in the next four years.

By 2015, Clark says she wants to see B.C. in the top 2 in Canada when it comes to job creation and GDP growth.

However, over half of Global’s survey respondents say they think British Columbia is not past the worst of the economic downturn.

The one measure that was expected to help turn B.C. economy around was the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax. But, Clark’s government was dealt a major blow when the tax was repealed.

Following the HST referendum, the premier publicly ruled out a provincial election before 2013. Many viewed it as a way to buy some time for things to quiet down on the HST front before British Columbians head to the polls again.

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But Global has learned, 46 per cent of survey respondents said the introduction of the HST made them very unlikely to vote for the Liberals now, even though they never seriously considered voting for the Liberals to begin with. Nonetheless, 30 per cent said they considered voting for the Liberals before and they plan to stick with it come next election.