Ipsos: Budget is bad news for Clark’s Liberals

A new poll from Ipsos “BC Views on 2013Provincial Budget” is bad news for the BC Liberals.  Really bad news.

Despite a lead that claims “overall reviews are Mixed,” the poll shows nothing of the sort.

Here’s the start of the bad news: only 5% of British Columbians answering the poll “strongly approve” the BC Liberals budget plans.

5%!  More people strongly approve the mafia’s plans in Quebec.

Another 36% approve Clark’s budget plans “somewhat”.  But since the Libs are spending $44 billion, the 36% no doubt surmise, they must be doing some good, somewhere. No?

Conversely 18% strongly oppose (3.5 times the strong supporters) and 28% “somewhat” oppose Clark’s budget.

In other words opponents are bigger and stronger in their opposition than supporters.  Opponents are motivated.  Supporters aren’t.  It’s like looking at the Romney/Obama numbers but worse.

In a more straight-forward way, the poll asks about support for some of the initiatives in the budget.  Unfortunately for the government the issues that test best are primarily identified with the NDP – tax increases on the rich and corporations – along with a new tax on smokers.

Child care spaces and the education fund also get good support.  Again they are more identified with the NDP than the BC Liberals.

The unpopular elements are Liberal through and through: selling off assets is a loser and the single biggest loser is the single biggest tax increase – the 4% MSP increase.  It is  flat-out hated by the respondents.

Take a guess what you might hear in a lot of NDP speeches.

But I’ve saved the worst news for the government for last.  No surprise, the BC Liberals fare badly when it comes to the main message of the budget: “It’s balanced.”

But it is a surprise how vehemently British Columbians say it.  ‘No, we think you’re lying about that,’ 72% British Columbians say about the “balanced” budget.  Only 12% believe the government is telling the truth.

For most British Columbians Gordon Campbell began this term by lying to them about the deficit and the HST.  He never recovered and his resignation was necessary to give the Liberals a chance at survival.

Now it looks like Christy Clark will end the term in the same fix – with a budget message that only one in seven voters believes to be true.

The few Libs commenting on this poll focus on one question that asks whether BC’s financial situation would be better or worse if Adrian Dix and the NDP had been running BC over the last few years.

The Liberal spinners are crowing that only 23% say BC’s financial situation would be better under Dix and the NDP, while 40% say it would be worse.

But a look at all the responses reveals that even this is bad news for the Clark government.  That’s because 25% say BC’s financial situation would be the same under either party.

Think about that for a minute. Given that the BC Liberal’s strength against the NDP has always been the economy, it cannot possibly be good news for the Liberals that 48% of British Columbians say BC’s economy would be the same or better under the NDP as under Clark’s Liberals.

A final point on methodology:

This bad news may represent the best case for Clark’s Liberals because the poll’s weighted sample doesn’t bear much resemblance to the actual voting population.

That’s because Ipsos screened out voters who said they hadn’t “read, seen or heard something about the new provincial budget” ending up with a sample that over-represents men and seniors (who tend to lean BC Liberal), while under-representing women and young people (who tend to lean the other way).

In other words the way the question that determined the sample was worded meant Ipsos surveyed more people who tend to vote Liberal.  A sample more representative of voters in general would likely have generated numbers even worse for the Liberals.

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