Deliberate misunderstanding or ideologically blinkered coverage that distorts and lies?
I’m opting for the latter because there’s no other way to explain the distortions found in National Post’s piece on the latest Forum poll on BC voting trends conducted Tuesday on-line.
Here’s the lead:
“B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s confrontation with Alberta over a planned oil pipeline hasn’t produced the hoped-for boost in her popularity, according to a poll.”
That much is true. Forum’s results came in almost exactly as their last poll – before Clark’s apparently biblical revelation on Enbridge’s Gateway project.
“The poll, by Forum Research, shows the NDP would still win 79 of the 85 seats in the provincial legislature if an election were held today. Clark’s Liberals, who rank barely ahead of the moribund provincial Conservative party, would be reduced to four seats.
“It’s a pretty startling number, especially given that another poll shows almost 60% of voters agree with Clark’s opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline, which is at the heart of the dispute with Alberta. The survey by Angus Reid found that 35% of respondents were dead set against the pipeline under any conditions, while 24% could be swayed — i.e. bought off — if Clark succeeded in extorting billions of dollars from Alberta for dropping her opposition.”
I call BS.
Clark’s numbers are not startling for anyone remotely informed on BC politics or Enbridge. And Angus Reid showed nothing even close to what the reporter claimed.
Let me dissemble.
Reid’s on-line poll found that 59% of BCers opposed the pipeline – close to Forum’s result. Of those 35% were dead against and 24% said they could (not will) change their opposition depending upon environmental and economic gains. And contrary to what the reporter claimed it’s not “economic gains” that matter most. The strongest reasons for changing opposition to support are environmental guarantees. Money ain’t enough.
Worse for Clark, the Post reporter fails to mention that her own meagre share of voters is at risk with her gamble. Only 7% of British Columbians support the pipeline unconditionally. Another 21% are leaning towards supporting it depending upon the economic and environmental benefits on the table in Clark’s mind. If she doesn’t come through they’re not necessarily there.
But the basic mistake in the National Post piece and Clark’s strategy in general is this: BC voters aren’t making up their mind on issues like this. Clark’s numbers aren’t in the tank because of Enbridge. They’re in the tank because the average voter doesn’t trust Clark and her BC Liberal government one bit.
And who can blame voters? The BC Liberals lied about BC Rail. They lied about the deficit in 2009. They lied about the HST. Isn’t it common sense to assume they’re lying about Enbridge and that the day after the election a re-elected BC Liberal government would sit down with Enbridge and start laying pipe?
A commentator who finds it “startling” that Clark hasn’t changed that with a staged performance piece at a Premier’s meeting shouldn’t be reporting on BC politics.