Premier Horgan’s Approval Rating Dips While Housing Affordability Continues to Weigh on British Columbians

BC government gets the best marks on environment, education and healthcare, but failing grades on poverty, housing affordability and homelessness.

Vancouver, BC – Six months after our last “BC Government Report Card” and just over a year after the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) was officially sworn into office, the latest Insights West poll reveals that the majority of residents think the provincial government is doing a bad job handling the most important issue facing the province today: housing affordability.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbian adults, more than a third (36%) say that housing prices and affordability is the most important issue in the province—more than triple the proportion that mention health care (11%), energy and pipelines (9%), the environment (7%) or the economy (also 7%).

Housing affordability is a significant concern for the province’s younger residents, with the majority of those aged 18-34 (51%) saying that it is the most important issue facing the province. This issue also resonates more highly for Metro Vancouverites (47%) than the rest of BC.

Issues and Governance

At least two-in-five British Columbians believe the provincial government has done a “very good” or “good” job handing the environment (44%, +8 since an Insights West survey conducted in January), education (41%, =), and health care (40%, +7). A third of residents are also satisfied with the work being done on transportation (35%), the economy (34%), jobs and unemployment (33%) and energy and pipelines (also 33%, =), while slightly less are content with how Victoria is dealing with crime and public safety (31%, +3) and taxes (30%).

The provincial government sees its lowest rankings on homelessness (26%), housing prices and affordability (24%) and poverty (23%).

When it comes to specific decisions made by the provincial government, almost two-in-five British Columbians say the government has done a “very good” or “good” job handling relations with BC’s First Nations (37%, +4) and establishing a framework for the legal sale of marijuana (also 37%, =). Although a similar number (36%) feel that the provincial administration has done a good job in introducing real estate tax changes to address the housing shortage/pricing situation, a larger proportion (43%) feels they have done a bad job with these measures.

At least a third of BC residents are also content with how the provincial government is dealing with money laundering in casinos (35%), taking action to reduce BC’s greenhouse gas emissions (34%, +1), managing BC Lottery Corporation (33%), and dealing with the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline (also 33%, +7). While scores on this particular file climbed 7 percentage points in the past 6 months, the majority of residents (54%, +12) feel the provincial government has done a bad job dealing with the Trans Mountain Pipeline (both positive and negative scores have increased due the number of “not sure” responses dropping from 32% to 13%).

The lowest ranked decisions for the provincial government are related to how they are managing BC Hydro (29%, -4), BC Ferries (28%, =), ICBC (also 28%) and TransLink (26%, -1).

“After a year of the BC NDP being in office, the negative scores on handling the Trans Mountain pipeline issue and the housing crisis have overshadowed the good marks on the environment, education and health care,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “Usually the economy, jobs and health care top the public agenda, but the stubborn issue of housing prices and affordability has overshadowed anything else by a long shot and, until some measurable change occurs, it will continue to dominate the public agenda.”

Politics

Even though scores are still very positive for Premier and BC NDP leader John Horgan, opinions are dropping. Close to half of British Columbians (47%, -6) approve of Horgan’s performance as Premier, while two-in-five (40%, +9) disapprove.

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver holds an approval rating of 37% (-8), while only one-in-four residents (24%) are satisfied with the performance of BC Liberals leader Andrew Wilkinson and three-in-five (58%) are not sure about interim BC Conservatives leader Scott Anderson.

One third of British Columbians (34%) say their opinion of Horgan has worsened over the past six months, while 18% say it has improved, giving him a net momentum score of -16. On this indicator, Anderson is at -7, Wilkinson is at -14 and Weaver is at -23.

When it comes to voting intention, the governing BC New Democrats are in first place with the support of 37% (-3) of decided voters, followed by the BC Liberals with 32% (+1), the BC Green Party with 17% (-2) and the BC Conservatives with 12% (+4).

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.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from July 12 to July 15, 2018, among a representative sample of 1,053 BC adults, who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. 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 +/- 3.0 percentage points. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

The Angus Reid Forum is comprised of over 35,000 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 angusreidforum.com.

For further information, please contact:

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

 

Photograph: David Meurin / CC BY