A new poll suggests if an election were held today in British Columbia, Premier John Horgan and the BC NDP would sweep to a massive victory.
The Angus Reid Institute survey finds 48 per cent of decided voters polled would vote NDP, 29 per cent would vote BC Liberal and 14 per cent would vote Green.
“An early election would, indeed, present Horgan and his party with quite the irresistible opportunity, should they choose to take it,” the press release from the Angus Reid Institute reads.
“But against these sunny skies, dark clouds are forming on the horizon. The government is fighting a pitched battle with the union representing B.C. teachers as anxiety mounts over sending children back to school next week. The province is also continuing to fight — some would argue unsuccessfully — a sustained increase in COVID-19 cases.”
The next provincial election is scheduled for October 2021. Horgan has the power to go to Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin and ask for an election if he believes the legislature can no longer function, or if he believes there should be a fresh mandate to govern the province through the COVID-19 recovery.
Even with strong popularity numbers for the NDP, the idea of an election is not popular. One in three B.C. residents surveyed say they would not be comfortable heading to the polls in person this fall as they would during a normal year.
More than 80 per cent of those polled believe Horgan’s response to the pandemic has been good. The NDP holds a commanding lead in riding rich Metro Vancouver, 53 per cent to 26 per cent over the BC Liberals.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says an election could be done safely during a pandemic.
“We’ve been working with the chief electoral officer here in B.C. should the need arise to make sure that all the things that we need to do are in place, and we’ve had a conversation actually just this week with my counterparts across the country with the chief electoral officer for Canada to be sure that we’re ready no matter what happens,” Henry said last month.
“So I think we all need to, like any other event or business, we need to have a COVID safety plan and that’s what we’re working on with Elections BC and with Elections Canada.”
The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from August 26 to September 1, 2020 among a representative randomized sample of 655 B.C. adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.