VICTORIA — British Columbians are largely pleased with the outcome of the provincial election, though they disagree whether they’ve given the large new NDP majority government a mandate to stay the course or to embark upon bold new policy changes, according to a Leger poll for Postmedia News.
Approximately 53 per cent of voters surveyed by Leger earlier this month said they were satisfied with the Oct. 24 election, in which the NDP swept to power with 57 seats, the Greens held at two seats and the Liberals dropped to 28 seats. The Liberals are leading in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, but a judicial recount is underway.
The election produced the largest NDP majority in B.C. history. Only 22 per cent of those surveyed by Leger were dissatisfied with the result, while 21 per cent were neutral. Four per cent professed not to know the outcome.
The early satisfaction rating for the NDP is higher than the 48 per cent of the popular vote it won in the campaign, meaning some supporters from other parties are secretly satisfied with the NDP, said Andrew Enns, executive vice-president of Leger. “It actually transcends to some degree even the party and partisan lines,” he said.
Leger surveyed 1,000 B.C. residents using an online panel Nov. 6-8, and weighted the results based on age, gender and region. A comparative margin of error for a traditional poll would be +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
However, respondents were split on what message the strong majority has sent the NDP.
Roughly 48 per cent agreed it was a vote for a continued steady, moderate approach to governing with no big surprises or significant new policies, as under the previous NDP minority. But 45 per cent also agreed the NDP now has permission to be bold in its thinking and to introduce new policy changes.
“I attribute some of that to the notion that there’s basically a short-term and long-term horizon for voters, said Enns. “It that 48 per cent are like, look this was a pandemic election and we expect you to put your head down and get us through this thing. And then I think you also get, when the dust settles and we get outside this pandemic and get things back on track, there’s this opportunity to do … fairly bold things.”
Senior campaign officials from all parties have acknowledged very little campaign messaging or promises broke through voter preoccupation with COVID-19, health care and concerns for safety at schools and long-term care homes.
Early voter priorities in Leger polls indicated a preoccupation with the pandemic response, economic recovery, housing affordability, health care, climate change and a recovery plan for small and medium businesses.
Respondents also appear eager for Premier John Horgan to follow through on a promised $1,000 COVID-19 benefit for families, which he campaigned on delivering before Christmas but has since said might not be possible. Almost 56 per cent of those surveyed said the benefit was promised and would be helpful.
The new Leger poll will be part of a panel webinar discussion Tuesday at 12 p.m. on what to expect in B.C. during the first 100 days of the new government, moderated by The Vancouver Sun and Province editor-in-chief, Harold Munro.
The panel will include Bill Tieleman, president West Star Communications; Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of B.C.; and Thoren Hudyma, senior vice-president of Global Public Affairs.
Registration to watch the webinar remains open here.