One-in-Four Are “British Columbians First, Canadians Second”

More than one-in-four residents of the province (27%) think BC would be “better off” as its own country, up 10 points since 2019.

Vancouver, BC [August 4, 2020] – Most British Columbians continue to feel an affinity towards residents of two American cities in the Pacific Northwest, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 58% of British Columbians believe they have more in common with the people of Seattle and Portland than with those in Toronto or Montreal.

Men (68%), British Columbians aged 55 and over (72%) and residents of the Fraser Valley (71%) are more likely to feel closer to Washingtonians and Oregonians.

When asked if British Columbia would be better off as its own country, most residents (65%, -9 since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in 2019) voice disagreement. However, 27% (+10) agree with this statement.

Almost two thirds of respondents (63%, -4) say they are “Canadians first, and British Columbians second.” One-in-four (25%, +6) consider themselves “British Columbians first, and Canadians second”—a proportion that climbs to 44% among residents of the Fraser Valley.

“There is a higher sense of pride in British Columbia on a couple of the questions that we track to commemorate BC Day,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The results on whether the province would be better off as its own country are higher than in 2018 and 2019, but lower than what we have observed in Quebec and Alberta in years past.”

More than three-in-five British Columbians (64%, +5) claim their views “are different from the rest of the country”—including 72% of those aged 55 and over and 67% of BC Green Party voters in the 2017 provincial election.

Practically three-in-four British Columbians (74%, unchanged) think they will stay here for the rest of their lives, and more than four-in-five (81%, -5) are very proud of the province they live in.

Compared to 2019, there is significant movement on the questions related to the province’s best and worst recent heads of government.

More than one-in-five British Columbians (22%) think John Horgan has been the province’s best premier since 1986, up eight points in a year. Bill Vander Zalm is second with 14% (+7), followed by Christy Clark (9%, -2), Gordon Campbell (7%, -5) and Mike Harcourt (also 7%, -1).

As was the case last year, Clark is regarded as the worst recent premier (15%, down 12 points in a year), with Vander Zalm at 14% (+8) and Campbell at 11% (unchanged).

British Columbians who voted for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) and the BC Greens in the 2017 provincial election are more likely to think that Clark has been the worst recent premier (44% and 42% respectively). Conversely, 26% of those who voted for the BC Liberals in the last contest select Horgan.

Results are based on an online study conducted from July 22 to July 24, 2020, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

Photo Credit: Brandon Godfrey

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.