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New B.C. poll sees NDP in the lead, Conservatives surging within 6 points

Mainstreet poll points to NDP majority and a strong Conservative opposition
A new poll finds that New Democrats would win 40 per cent among decided voters while the Conservative Party of BC would win 34 per cent. BC United would win 15 per cent of the vote and BC Greens would win 10 per cent of the vote. (Black Press Media/Don Denton)

A new poll shows the Conservative Party of B.C. within six per cent of the governing B.C. NDP.

The poll from Mainstreet Research — released Thursday (March 21) after being conducted on March 18-19 — finds that 40 per cent of decided voters would vote for the provincial New Democrats if an election were to be held today. The Conservative Party of B.C. under John Rustad would receive 34 per cent of the vote, more than twice the 15 per cent B.C. United under Kevin Falcon would receive. B.C. Greens under Sonia Furstenau would receive 10 per cent.

These figures confirm the continuing surge of the provincial Conservatives, largely at the expense of B.C. United.

This points also shines through in the analysis of Quito Maggi, president and chief executive officer of Mainstreet Research.

“The (provincial) numbers are interesting and continue to suggest that the B.C. United rebrand experiment is a failure,” he said. “This is our first snapshot of B.C. of 2024 and is consistent with our last B.C. poll of 2023 that showed BC United in third. As voters come closer to an election, that support continues to erode, benefiting both the NDP and the BC Conservatives.”

Conservative House Leader Bruce Banman, MLA for Abbotsford-South, said on social media that his party is “within striking distance” of the NDP. “Be part of the wave, be part of the winning team,” Banman said, in urging donations to “help us end the “Eby-Trudeau Carbon tax in BC!”

Speaking at an unrelated event at Vancouver International Airport, Eby said the only poll that matters is the poll on election day.

“I think the poll is an important remainder for…anyone who has been quick to dismiss the B.C. Conservative Party as an extremist party that will not find traction in the province,” he said. “We need to take this party and what they are proposing seriously.”

RELATED: B.C. NDP still leading Conservatives, BC United by double-digit margin

Eby said provincial Conservatives deny the existence of climate change despite its effects on British Columbia and would undermine B.C.’s advantage to fight climate change through its access to clean electricity and leading technology firms. The party also threatens the health of British Columbians by allowing unvaccinated health care workers to return to work, despite recent outbreaks of measles, Eby said.

UBC political scientist Stewart Prest warned against reading too much into any single poll.

“That said…there is no denying this poll and others like it are bad news for the B.C. United party above all,” he said. “If this particular poll is correct, it suggests that B.C. United’s days may be numbered as a viable party.”

But the poll also bears a warning for the NDP in keeping with the results from other polls.

Prest said it shows what he called “broad dissatisfaction” with the performance of the B.C. government in numerous areas people consider important, such as housing affordability, cost of living and inflation and health care.

“These are perennial issues across Canada and certainly in British Columbia and there are issues that can determine elections,” Prest said. “Up until this point, we also know from polling that the majority of British Columbians seems to prefer the B.C. NDP’s answers on these issues…more so than any other option on the table.”

For now, government opponents remain “really divided” in splitting their vote across the provincial Conservatives and B.C. United, but that could change, Prest said.

The more this general dissatisfaction lingers, the more a clear alternative emerges, the more concerned the NDP has to become, he added.

“They can’t simply assume that this election is there for the taking and it is going to be coronation,” Prest said.

Eby acknowledged this aspect.

“I just have trouble believing, but we will see, that this anti-science, right-wing extremist perspective will prove successful at the ballot box,” he said. “But that is my job to communicate that to British Columbians and to provide a credible alternative of what the direction is I think our province should be going, which I think is ensuring that people can people can build a good life here.”

Black Press Media has reached to B.C. United for comment and will update this story accordingly.

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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