Days before the B.C. election, BC Liberals and NDP are locked in a tight race: Poll

Christy Clark and John Horgan.
Christy Clark and John Horgan. File photos

The BC Liberals and the BC NDP are locked in a tight race with just days to go until the 2017 BC election, according to a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute.

But the BC Green party continues to pressure the other parties and could take away from a BC NDP victory.

The poll finds while the Liberals have a stronghold in the interior, and the NDP’s stronghold is in the Lower Mainland, neither party has a strong lead in either region.

While the Green party is polling the highest it ever has, voter support for the party is shaky compared to the other parties, according to the poll.

The poll also found two-in-three British Columbians prefer the NDP’s budget strategy of increasing taxes to pay for social programs.

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FULL COVERAGE: B.C. election 2017

Economic anxiety

In this recent poll, roughly seven-in-ten British Columbians (72 per cent) agree with the statement “Too many people in B.C. are being left behind.”

Seventy-one per cent agree with the statement “rising inequality is a huge problem in B.C. today.”

The poll found 58 per cent of respondents say they know someone who works part-time because they cannot find full-time work and almost 63 per cent disagree with the statement that “rising inequality is a huge problem in B.C. today.”

However, 34 per cent of people said they are worried someone in their household will lose a job in the next year.

Credit: Angus Reid Institute.
Credit: Angus Reid Institute.

The Angus Reid poll also found British Columbians are three times as likely to say the province’s financial situation has worsened as they are to say it has improved.

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Credit: Angus Reid Institute
Credit: Angus Reid Institute

Health care and housing top the public’s agenda

Angus Reid asked voters what issues they consider to be the most important when deciding what candidate to support.

British Columbians are most likely to say health care, housing prices and affordability are their top issues in the election, according to the poll. However, answers vary considerably by voters’ age, where they live and their voting intention.

Credit: Angus Reid Institute
Credit: Angus Reid Institute

Housing prices remain more relevant to voters in the Lower Mainland and its outskirts and among those under the age of 35.

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Those who plan to vote for the governing BC Liberals voters are more likely to choose “the economy” (44 per cent do), while would-be NDP voters are more likely to choose “housing” (41 per cent).

Voter certainty

The poll found more than half of Liberal supporters (58 per cent) can be described as “solid” voters, meaning they have either already voted at an advanced poll or are “certain” of who they will vote for on May 9.

Overall, those who know they will vote for the Liberals say they are more likely to say their own financial situation and the province’s has improved, rather than worsened, in the last year. They also see their quality of life improving, according to the poll. Nearly all of them say they are better off or the same now as they were four years ago.

Forty-two per cent of those who say the Liberals are their first choice are still not willing to lock in their vote, according to the poll.

Those who say the NDP are their first choice make up 43 per cent of the current NDP base. Almost half of those people live in the Lower Mainland (48 per cent), while one-in-five are on Vancouver Island or the North Coast.

Twenty per cent of people in this group say they did not vote last time.

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The BC Green party has the shakiest support, according to this poll, compared to the Liberals and the NDP. Those who are voting for the Green party make up 41 per cent of the base and are located mostly on Vancouver Island the North Coast.

The Angus Reid Institute sampled 1,007 people for this poll. Three-hundred-and-twelve people said they would vote Liberal next, 323 said NDP, 118 said Green, 121 said they were undecided and 101 said they would rather not say.