The end of the BC Liberals?

Last week’s Forum poll confirmed the numbers seen in most polls lately.  The NDP at 46% of the decided vote is 20+ points ahead of both the BC Conservatives and the BC Liberal party who are tied for support in the low 20’s.

Yeah, we know.  Ho hum.

Maybe that’s why the Vancouver Sun didn’t even bother to cover the poll, despite being released on the cusp of two key by-elections.

Only the Globe really covered the poll and most of its commentary focused on the struggle between the Libs and Cons.  ‘Why can’t they just unite and give free enterprise a fighting chance’ was the prevailing sentiment.

Except the numbers released by Forum don’t bear that out.   The story they tell is one of the collapse of the BC Liberals combined with the irrelevance of the “unite the right” argument.

First things first.  The BC Liberals are doomed.

Of the three parties with any significant support theirs is  by far the weakest.  The slide – if Forum’s numbers are correct – is not over.

Forum tracks voter enthusiasm.  And the Liberals should be very worried about their remaining voters.

A third of BC Liberal voters are “not very” or “not at all enthusiastic” about voting Liberal.  That’s much worse than the other two parties.  Conversely, BC Liberal voters are significantly less enthusiastic than either NDP or Conservative voters about voting for their party.

That’s a nightmare scenario for GOTV.  You knock and call and the voters just don’t respond.  It’s also a scenario for future defections.

Where would they go?  Or more to the point – could enough go to the BC Conservatives to give them a fighting chance?

Not this time.  The Liberals look like a typical coalition tearing itself apart.  Almost half their voters disapprove of the BC Conservative leader.  From the Forum numbers I’d say at least half the Liberal voters will never switch.  They’ll stay till the end.

Who’s voting Liberal and who’s not is also very interesting.  First off, the Liberals trail badly in just about every demographic imaginable.  Looking at this poll I can imagine maybe one group where the Liberals would be close enough to make it a contest:  White male stock investors over 65, making more than $1 million a year, residing in Kent prison awaiting sentencing for Ponzi schemes

Some of these numbers must be scaring the heck out of the governing party.  The BC Liberals don’t just have a gender gap.  They have a gender chasm of Mariana Trench proportions.  Amongst women voters the BC NDP leads the Liberals by 28% or 2.5 to 1.

The NDP also enjoys a substantial lead amongst male voters – 43 to 26.  That’s unheard of since 1991.

Finally, besides women who’s driving the NDP vote?  Middle class voters, that’s who.

The NDP leads the BC Liberals among all income classes.  All.  But among voters earning between $40K and $80K the lead is huge.  Amongst voters earning between $60K and $80K the NDP’s vote is triple that of the Liberals – 52 to 17.  Crazy.

The last thing I noticed about the Forum poll is this:  there doesn’t seem to be a turnaround in sight.  Too many Liberals are angry with and have doubts about the Conservatives.  Too many key demographic groups have fled to the NDP.

Most of all, these numbers have gone on for far too long.  They look too hard.  In Forum’s tracking, all three parties have settled into a groove.  For four months Forum has shown the NDP building a strong lead from the mid thirties to the high forties with the two others trailing in the low twenties.

Sure, there’s room for change around the edges.  The Liberals in particular have room to fall further.  But barring a sea change, the next election looks pretty decided today.

And if I were a bettor, I’d put my money on the BC Liberals to finish third in both by-elections with the NDP taking Pt. Moody Coq in a landslide and narrowly winning Chilliwack Hope.

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10 Responses to The end of the BC Liberals?

  1. kootcoot says:

    “White male stock investors over 65, making more than $1 million a year, residing in Kent prison awaiting sentencing for Ponzi schemes”

    Great demographic Ian!

    This demographic closely mirrors that of the BC Liberal Caucus as well, except for the residence address of course. Perhaps if they all got their just desserts they could all reside together somewhere like Kent, only less plush………….Gitmo has room these days, I think!

  2. Scotty on Denman says:

    End of the BC Liberals? Question overload. Semantic red light zone. Poetic justice.

  3. lee fennell says:

    So true…it is just a matter of time and the current NDP voting bloc will see that there is alternative and switch to conservative. These voters are taxed to death already and can’t survive another round of taxes, sooner or later they will make the switch for a common sense government that is not always in your pocket.

  4. Robbie says:

    I have always had a great deal of appreciation for your work, Ian. Your blog posts are always an interesting and informative read, full of excellent analysis and political insight, especially your recent PavCo material. May God grant you strength as you continue to bravely battle your cancer.

  5. John Twigg says:

    The coverage of the Forum poll is almost as interesting as the poll itself – for some reason most people (myself included so far) can’t be bothered to dig into the background details like gender, age and income. Maybe that’s because some interests like “big business” just do not want to know how bad the picture is including major media wanting to avoid helping it along, and others already know intuitively and don’t need to go there for stats. But it still be interesting to see the byelection results, especially since all three parties are working hard right to the end.
    Thanks for posting useful info.

  6. Ray Blessin says:

    The guys that own this Province will fight like gut-shot cats not to lose control.
    They’ll come up with something. Wait for it.

  7. Boomer says:

    lee fennell you’re an idiot. You’re about to find out that only 1 in 10 British Columbians agree with you. You would rather have right wing governments steel all the provinces assets? I want something left for my kids and grand kids. You probably thought the BC Rail deal was good for the people of BC. I want the NDP to conduct a full criminal inquiry into BC rail and Gordon Campbell, Cristy Clark and the rest of them prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Also a full inquiry into run of river deals and all those stupid contracts revoked. Take back BC. It does not belong to a few rich bastards. BC’s assets are there for all of us, to make a profit that can go toward paying for many services. Lee you are part of the problem.

  8. CGHZD says:

    Great comment Boomer. There is no difference between the Liebrels and the CrapCons, turn them upside down and they look the same.
    It always has astounded me how many people will vote against their own economic interest. This guy appears to be the poster boy for that.
    All the best to you Ian, I hope you can keep keeping on.

  9. kootcoot says:

    “CGHZD says:
    Great comment Boomer. There is no difference between the Liebrels and the CrapCons, turn them upside down and they look the same.”

    While you have ’em upside down, shake ’em and then pick up some of our money that falls from their sticky pockets! It will be dirty, but just by being returned to the rightful owner will go a long way towards cleaning it (and not their way of “laundering”).

  10. Mr Canada says:

    Really interesting stuff, that Forum poll.

    I am a card carrying BC Liberal organizer and I sit on my riding association executive.

    The Forum poll stats that you cite illustrate my feelings nearly perfectly. I’d never vote for the BC Conservatives, and I’m not inspired at all by my party’s communications strategy since last fall at all.

    As a card-carrying federal Liberal who re-activated my membership in the provincial party because I saw hope in a more “liberal” Christy Clark (I voted for her in her leadership race), I just can’t stomach the “we’re more conservative than the Conservatives” mumbo jumbo and the trotting out of one Harper hack after another anymore.

    I could never vote for the NDP either, given their horrific mismanagement of the province in the 90s.

    With zero for acceptable alternatives depending on how bad it gets I’ll either be holding my nose and voting BC Liberal or perhaps staying home. If the election results in the crushing defeat of the BC Liberal party, I’ll be staying on to try to do my part to put the “liberal” back into the BC Liberal party again.

    Nice peice.

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