Good government NGO Integrity BC released a poll last week about BC politics. It was not good for the government of non-elected Premier Christy (not Christine) Clark.
Integrity BC are the folks who sponsored last week’s Georgia Straight ad featuring our premier in a Nascar jacket plastered with corporate logos representing big money donations to the BC Liberal Party. And they’re promoting a group of reforms like banning corporate and union political donations as a way of cleaning up the kind of government Clark represents.
Back to the poll. Conducted by Oraclepoll Research and barely noted in the media, it had the NDP leading the BC Liberals by 19 points, 44 to 25. Nineteen points! It seems a mite generous to the NDP and harsh on the Liberals (I’ve heard anywhere from 11% to 14% this fall). But it doesn’t seem out of the question. If true, Integrity’s poll mirrors the polling seen in 1991, right before the demise of the Social Credit party.
What’s behind such crazy numbers? There’s the usual run of issues – the economy, health care and jobs, but I don’t think ‘the issues’ explain the huge rejection of the BC Liberals. Behind the issues the poll seems to suggest there is a growing wave of contempt for the government. Voters have just stopped listening to them.
The pollsters asked British Columbians whether they agree with certain statements like “I trust Christy Clark and other BC Liberal politicians to tell the truth” or “I trust Christy Clark and other BC Liberal politicians to keep their promises.”
Turns out that 48% do not trust them to tell the truth while only 28% do. 29% trust them to keep their promises. 48% do not.
53% believe that Clark and the BC Liberals don’t listen to people like them. Only 22% believe they do.
Generally it’s considered bad when only your core voters trust you or believe that you’re honest. In the Liberals case they don’t even get their core voters saying the party listens to them.
The poll goes on to ask a host of questions on BC Rail, the HST and other hot button “integrity” issues. It’s not good for the government, because these issues are still hot. In particular the BC Rail trial seems to resonate as a fine example of the government’s lies and dishonesty.
Can it get better for the government? Maybe. New NDP leader Adrian Dix remains largely undefined in the public mind, although there seems to be a willingness to give him a chance. Still, defining him has the potential to help the Liberals. But again, you need credibility to bring that off and that seems to be exactly what the BC Liberals are missing.
Can it get worse for the BC Liberals? Oh yeah. Clark is dropping. The issues she’s failing on are top of mind and the poll as a whole reads like the last testament of a government that has stayed too long.
And we all know what happens when a government that has stayed too long, tries to stay even longer. It ain’t pretty.