A week ago, Mike Klassen, former Sam Sullivan staffer and defeated NPA candidate, wrote a piece of speculative fiction about a BC Liberal win next spring. “The truth”, Klassen wrote, “is as long as you do not demonstrate gross incompetence, steal, or die in office, British Columbians will likely give you a fourth mandate.”
Earth to Klassen, Christy Clark won’t win the election. She has demonstrated gross incompetence and most British Columbians do believe the BC Liberals stole at least the last election.
Rightly, the BC Liberals and Christy Clark in particular, have lost the trust of the vast majority of British Columbians.
Klassen’s evidence for a long shot win? Other leaders have come from behind. And he cites McGuinty, Redford, Salinger and even Charest in support without exploring the dynamics of those races.
But Redford is ten times the politician Clark is and her opponent screwed up big time, just like Hudak in Ontario. Salinger and the NDP never lost the trust of Manitoba voters and their opponent was slow on the draw. And Charest… Charest lost.
More importantly none of the four politicians Klassen points to was in the tank like the BC Liberals are in the tank. None of them were led by an inept, shallow leader. All of them had opposition leaders who screwed up badly. Only Charest was saddled with corruption scandals of his own making… and he lost.
Klassen sort of admits the BC Liberals haven’t done a great job, lately, for example on what he calls the “so-called Hated Sales Tax”. “So-called” hated? That Klassen feels the need to use that phrase demonstrates the Liberal problem in a nutshell.
But that’s over and done with Klassen says. Kind of like Watergate was over and done with for Nixon.
Klassen’s only argument boils down to ‘who knows what can happen in the next 6 months.’ It’s about as weak as… his previous claim that the NPA was going to sweep last year’s civic election.
A barely reported Forum poll released September 4th paints a much different picture.
First, like almost every poll since the beginning of the summer, Forum shows the BC Liberals more than 20% behind the BC NDP, statistically tied with the BC Conservatives at 23%.
In all the examples cited by Klassen the governing party was only between 7 and 10 percentage points behind.
But there are signs of a bigger problems for the BC Liberals.
Of the three major parties’ supporters, BC Liberal voters are much less enthusiastic about their choice. Only one third of their voters claim to be supporting them enthusiastically. Another third say they are “not very enthusiastic or not at all enthusiastic.
BC liberal voters aren’t just holding their nose to vote Liberal, they are hiding their faces and lying to their mothers about their voting preferences.
And they don’t like the Premier. Not at all. Only 26% of voters approve of Premier Clark’s performance. And a quarter of Liberal voters disapprove of her.
One of the more interesting questions Forum asked was about a united BC Liberal, BC Conservative Party. It doesn’t work so much.
True, it narrows the gap, but the gap is still large; 49% NDP to 35% for a merged right wing party. In traditionally polarized BC that’s a blow-out election.
Interestingly, under the merger scenario the BC NDP goes up 5% drawing from both the BC Liberals and Conservatives. 10% of the Liberal vote goes NDP, as does 15% of the BC Conservative vote.
There’s lots more bad news. The BC Liberals trail badly in every region and amongst every demographic group.
Klassen may feel a win coming on, but there’s no case to be made for it. British Columbians aren’t just tired with the BC Liberals, they are disgusted with them.