Most BC Liberal voters are on board with housing measures introduced by the BC NDP government — including the additional school tax, which has been a focal point of the Liberal Party’s time in opposition.
That’s what it said in a poll released by Research Co. on Tuesday. It showed that most respondents in British Columbia were in favour of housing measures including an increase in the foreign buyers’ tax, the yet-to-be-implemented speculation tax as well as the new school tax.
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But most striking among the results was the support that the taxes found among people who voted for the BC Liberals in the 2017 provincial election.
Poll respondents were asked whether they thought each of the five housing measures was a “good idea” or a “bad idea.”
Over three-quarters of respondents who identified as BC Liberal voters (77 per cent) approved of increasing the foreign buyers’ tax from 15 per cent to 20 per cent.
Meanwhile, 65 per cent of these voters supported expanding the foreign buyers’ tax outside Metro Vancouver.
The poll also found majority support (60 per cent) among BC Liberal voters for the additional school tax of 0.2 per cent on homes worth $3 million to $4 million, and 0.4 per cent of the portion of a home’s value above $4 million.
Of that group, 33 per cent thought it was a “very good idea,” 27 per cent thought it was a “good idea”, while 13 per cent thought it was a “bad idea” and 18 per cent thought it was a “very bad idea.” Another 10 per cent said they were “not sure” how they felt about it.
Even the speculation tax of two per cent on a property’s assessed value for vacant homes, which BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson called a “potentially devastating proposition for ordinary homeowners in our real estate market,” found more support than opposition among BC Liberal voters.
This chart shows BC Liberal voter support for the BC NDP’s measures on housing, according to Research Co.:
Of this group, 53 per cent approved the speculation tax, while 32 per cent disapproved. Another 14 per cent weren’t sure about it.
Within the group, 29 per cent said it was a “very good idea,” 24 per cent said it was a “good idea,” 14 per cent called it a “bad idea” and 18 per cent a “very bad idea.” The poll had 14 per cent saying they were “not sure” about the speculation tax.
There was also strong support among BC Liberal voters for the move to increase property transfer tax on homes worth more than $3 million from three per cent to five per cent.
The poll reported 62 per cent of BC Liberal voters approving the measures, with 32 per cent against it.
The poll’s results are largely consistent with another one from the Angus Reid Institute, which showed clear support among past BC Liberal voters for NDP measures aimed at housing.
Though it was more muted than in the latest poll — that one showed 43 per cent of BC Liberal supporters in favour of the increase to the property transfer tax, and 47 per cent support for the new school tax.
Research Co. also found strong NDP and Green support for a BC Liberal bill that calls for a provincial capital gains tax on profits from the sale of housing units before they’re finished construction.
The poll found 62 per cent of BC NDP voters supporting the bill, compared to 73 per cent support among BC Green voters.
That was even more than the BC Liberal support for the party’s own bill, which was 72 per cent, though that falls within the poll’s margin of error.
METHODOLOGY: Results are based on an online study conducted from May 27 to May 29, 2018, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.