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New poll gives NDP lead, 1 year out from next B.C. election

But Angus Reid poll also shows public critical of NDP’s handling of top issues like housing
According to B.C.’s fixed election date legislation, the next provincial election will take place on or before Oct. 19, 2024. A poll from Angus Reid Institute gives the NDP a comfortable lead, but the survey also shows dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of key issues such as cost-of-living, health care and housing. (Black Press Media file photo)

A new poll released about one year before the likely date of the next provincial election gives the governing New Democrats a comfortable lead, but expresses dissatisfaction with their handling of several files.

Angus Reid Institute released a survey recently that found 43 per cent of decided and leaning voters would vote for the provincial New Democrats. Premier David Eby received an approval rating of 51 per cent. But his government faces what Angus Reid calls “significant criticism” on B.C.’s top issues.

Residents chose cost-of-living, health care and housing affordability as their top three priorities and gave the NDP poor marks on each of them. Two-thirds (67 per cent) say provincial New Democrats are performing poorly on health care. The figures are worse for cost of living (78 per cent) and housing affordability (82 per cent).

“Well, we know that people are having a tough time,” Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing and House Leader, said. “We know with global inflation, that affordability challenges are real. People are struggling in some parts of our province. We know with 240,000 people coming into British Columbia in the last two years, we have real pressures on the need to get more housing, to built as fast as possible.”

He also acknowledged what he called “health care challenges” in coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. “But the public, I think, also knows that that’s what we’re focused on very single day. We’re bringing forward initiatives to address the key challenges, where British Columbians are at.”

Regionally, the poll shows strong support for the NDP in populous Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. New Democrats outpace the Conservatives and BC United combined in both regions. According to Angus Reid, the picture is more uncertain in the Interior and northern B.C., where the Conservatives have jumped to second place and trail New Democrats by single digits.

RELATED: Falcon ‘not concerned’ about poll showing BC United trailing Conservatives

RELATED: Poll shows United, Conservatives neck-and-neck in B.C., well behind the NDP

The Angus Reid survey pegs support for BC United at 22 per cent in line with previous polls. BC United Leader Kevin Falcon said during his media availability Wednesday (Oct. 18) prior to departing for a tour of northern B.C. said he feels “very good” about the direction of the party.

“We are attracting exceptional levels of candidates for our party, which is always a challenge, frankly, when you are in opposition,” he said. “We are going to make sure that by the time the next election rolls around, people are going to know exactly what BC United stands for, that we are going to be fighting to reduce the cost of living. We are going to be fighting to make housing more affordable, not by making silly announcements that actually add more cost to housing, but by making housing less expensive,” he added.

Falcon acknowledged that he is concerned about the split on the right side of the political spectrum, but added that “we’ve dealt with this before” when asked about the rise of the Conservative Party of BC. By the time, the next election rolls around, people will understand where the party stands, he said, adding that voters won’t flock toward the Conservatives, because they are not representative of British Columbia.

“They are not ready for prime time,” Falcon said of the Conservatives.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, find themselves with 21 per cent in line with a recent Leger poll that showed them 25 per cent — ahead of BC United — and a Research Co poll at 19 per cent.

BC Conservative Leader John Rustad said the polls shows British Columbians are standing with the Conservative Party of B.C. because his party is straight up with people.

“We are giving voters a clear choice,” Rustad said.

“The Deputy Premier (Mike Farnworth) says we’re going to be the Official Opposition,” Rustad said. “What this NDP government is about to find out, is that British Columbians are done with failing NDP policies and when they have a straight up clear alternative to the NDP, they are going to vote for change.”

In a recent interview with Black Press Media prior to the most recent poll, Rustad said the party continues to grow.

“We have gone from nobody knowing who we are to clearly being on the scene and being the only party that is challenging the NDP, both in the (legislature) and out in the public’s mind,” he said. “Now, we have a long way to go and you can’t put too much stock in polls — they are only a snapshot in time — but I am very encouraged by the polling numbers in terms of our advancement. I’m very encouraged as well to see the NDP’s reaction to it, which has been this visceral attack against the Conservative Party. What that tells me is, that they are very concerned that we are their competition in 2024.”

The Angus Reid poll gives the BC Greens 12 per cent, much like the Research Co poll, while Leger gave them 10 per cent.

Speaking in early October as part of the party’s 40th birthday, BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said they are not yet done re-shaping B.C.’s political landscape.

“The BC Green Party understands what British Columbians need and want from their political parties and governments,” Furstenau said. “We understand what is important to them and we advocate for it until it is done, whether there are two of us in the legislature or many more, and in just over a year’s time, there will be many more…we are ready once again to elect the largest BC Green caucus ever.”

According to B.C.’s fixed election date legislation, the next provincial election will take place on or before Oct. 19, 2024.


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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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