Anxiety Over Housing, Homelessness and Poverty Rises in British Columbia

Banning both the grizzly bear hunt and political donations from corporations and unions are the two most popular government decisions.

Vancouver, BC – The level of concern about housing, homelessness and poverty in British Columbia has reached an extraordinarily high level, the Insights West “BC Government Report Card” has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbian adults, half of residents (50%, +15 since the pre-election survey conducted by Insights West in May 2017) say housing, poverty and homelessness is the most important issue in the province.

Sizeable majorities of British Columbians aged 18-to-34 (66%), residents of the Lower Mainland (58%), and people who voted for the governing BC New Democratic Party (NDP) (60%) and the BC Green Party (57%) in the last provincial election think housing, poverty and homelessness is the biggest concern facing the province.

Issues and Governance

More than a third of British Columbians think the current provincial government has done a “very good” or “good” job handling education (41%), government accountability (39%), the economy and jobs (38%) and the environment (36%). One third are satisfied with health care (33%) and energy, pipelines and LNG (also 33%), while the rating is lower for two issues: crime and public safety (28%) and housing, poverty and homelessness (24%).

When it comes to specific decisions taken by the provincial government, a majority of residents are satisfied with banning both the hunt of grizzly bears in the province (59%) and political donations from corporations and unions (56%).

Almost half of residents (46%) think the government did a “very good” or “good” job in approving the proposed Site C dam in Peace River. Support for this particular decision is more popular among people who voted for the BC Liberals in last year’s provincial election (65%) than among those who voted for the BC NDP (46%) and the BC Greens (39%).

More than a third of residents are satisfied with the provincial government’s decision to work to reinstate the BC Human Rights Commission (39%) and establish
a framework for the legal sale of marijuana (37%), while one third think it has done a “very good” or “good” job managing BC Hydro (33%), handling relations with BC’s First Nations (also 33%) and taking action to reduce BC’s greenhouse gas emissions (also 33%).

The lowest ranked decisions for the provincial government are related to managing BC Ferries (28%), managing TransLink (27%, and 32% in the Lower Mainland) and dealing with the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline (26%).

“The government has started its tenure with lukewarm ratings on some issues, although most residents are pleased with their decisions related to grizzly bears and political fundraising,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “After six months in office, many voters are undecided about how the government is performing on specific issues, but the astonishingly high level of concern with housing, homelessness and poverty suggests that this is a file British Columbians will be watching attentively.”

Politics

More than a half of British Columbians (53%, +1 since an Insights West survey conducted in August 2017) approve of the performance of Premier and BC New Democratic Party (NDP) leader John Horgan, while three-in-ten (31%, =) disapprove.

The approval rating for Green Party leader Andrew Weaver stands at 45% (-3), while one-in-five residents (19%, -9) are satisfied with the performance of interim BC Liberals leader Rich Coleman and two thirds (66%) are not sure about interim BC Conservatives leader Scott Anderson.

Almost one-in-four British Columbians (23%) say their opinion of Horgan has worsened over the past six months, giving him a net momentum score of -2 on this indicator. Coleman is at -11 and Weaver at -10.

When it comes to voting intention, the governing BC New Democrats are in first place with 40%, followed by the BC Liberals—who will select a new leader next month—with 31%, the BC Green Party with 19% and the BC Conservatives with 8%.

About Insights West:

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.

Most of our surveys are conducted through our Your Insights panel. The Your Insights panel is comprised of 30,000 Canadians who share their opinions on a variety of political, economic, social and other issues while earning the opportunity to get paid and win great prizes. If you’re interested in joining, please register at yourinsights.ca.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from January 15 to January 17, 2018, among 829 adult British Columbians. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.4 percentage points. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
778 379 1140
stevemossop@insightswest.com

 

Photograph: jsnsndr / CC BY