Smaller Lead for NDP as Tories Gain Ground in British Columbia

Thomas Mulcair has the highest approval rating of all leaders, but is no longer regarded as the best economic manager.

Vancouver, BC – With less than a month to go before Canadians cast their ballots in the federal election, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is holding on to first place in British Columbia, a new Insights West poll has found.

The online survey of a representative provincial sample shows that, if the federal election were held today, 34% of decided voters in the province (-7 since an Insights West poll conducted in August) would support for the NDP candidate in their constituency, followed by the governing Conservative Party with 28% (+6), the Liberal Party with 26% (+2), and the Green Party with 11% (-1).

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The New Democrats are particularly popular with women (39%) and residents aged 18-to-34 (42%). The Conservatives are the top choice for men (33%) and residents aged 55 and over (37%). The Liberals and the New Democrats are practically tied among middle-aged voters (32% and 31% respectively)

In Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, the New Democrats are in first place with 34%, followed by the Liberals with 30% and the Conservatives with 28%. In Vancouver Island—where a total of 395 interviews were conducted for this wave—the NDP is also on top (34%). The Greens and Conservatives are tied for second place with 24% each, followed by the Liberals (16%).

More than a third of decided voters (35%, -7) say they could change their mind and support another party’s candidate in the federal election. The Conservatives (76%) and the NDP (70%) continue to keep the highest proportion of fully committed voters, followed by the Liberals (55%) and the Greens (48%).

“The Conservatives have definitely improved their standing in British Columbia and their voters remain extremely committed,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “The New Democrats are also attracting a large proportion of voters who are unlikely to change their mind.”

Approval, Momentum and Best Prime Minister

Official Opposition and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has the best approval rating with 60% (+5 since August), followed by Green Party leader Elizabeth May (53%, +1) and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau (51%, =). While the numbers for Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper improved (from 28% last month to 32% in September), they are still the lowest among the four main leaders.

As was the case last month, May continues to post the best momentum score at +14. She is followed by Trudeau at +10 and Mulcair at +8. Harper has a momentum score of -39 this month (with 46% of residents saying their opinion of him has worsened since the start of the campaign).

When asked who would make the Best Prime Minister of Canada, Mulcair remains in first place with 28% (+1), followed by Harper with 22% (+3), Trudeau with 20% (=) and May with 8% (-1).

Issues and the Contenders

The economy and jobs is still regarded as the most important issue facing Canada (39%, +6), followed by government accountability (16%, -3), health care (11%, -1), housing, poverty and homelessness (also 11%, +1), and the environment (8%, -4).

The three main party leaders are practically tied when British Columbians are asked who would be the best one to handle the economy and jobs (Harper 27%, Mulcair 26%, Trudeau 25%). May keeps a sizeable advantage as the best person to handle the environment (45%).

NDP leader Mulcair holds the upper hand on health care (37%), housing, poverty and homelessness (also 37%) and government accountability (28%), while Prime Minister Harper leads on foreign affairs (30%) crime and public safety (28%) and energy and pipelines (24%).

Harper has increased his standing as the best leader to deal with the fight against ISIS (30%, +7), while Mulcair is still ahead on five other issues: child care (29%), helping Canada’s war veterans (25%), the future of the Senate (24%), surveillance and Bill C-51 (also 24%) and the future of Canada Post (22%).

Across British Columbia, 73% of residents (-2) think it is time for a change of government in Canada, including 41% of those who voted for the Conservative Party in 2011. In addition, almost two thirds of the province’s residents (64%, +4) say they would be “very upset” if the Tories form the federal government again. In contrast, fewer than two-in-five British Columbians would be unhappy with a government headed by the Liberals (38%) or the NDP (37%)

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 September 18 to September 21, 2015, among 1,003 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 +/- 3.1 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

 

Photograph: OFL Communications Department