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.