New Democrats Headed for Outright Victory in British Columbia

Almost half of likely voters in the province pick John Horgan as the best person to head the provincial government.

Vancouver, BC [October 23, 2020] – The BC New Democratic Party (NDP) stands to make significant gains in British Columbia’s provincial election, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 50% of decided voters in British Columbia would cast a ballot for the BC NDP candidate in their constituency or have already done so in Advance Voting or through the mail. This represents a two-point increase for the New Democrats since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in early October.

The BC Liberals remain in second place with 35%, followed by the BC Green Party with 13% and the BC Conservative Party with 2%.  

The New Democrats maintain a nine-point lead over the BC Liberals among decided male voters (48% to 39%) and have a 21-point advantage among decided female voters (52% to 31%).

The BC NDP is also ahead of the main opposition party among decided voters aged 18-to-34 (54% to 29%), decided voters aged 35-to-54 (49% to 36%) and decided voters aged 55 and over (47% to 40%).

Only 11% of decided voters who will be casting their ballot tomorrow say they may change their mind about which party or candidate to support, while 89% are certain of their choice.

Almost half of decided voters in British Columbia (47%) say a party’s ideas and policies is the main motivator for their choice in this provincial election. This includes 66% of BC Green voters and 51% of BC NDP voters, but just 37% of those who will support the BC Liberals.

Other factors cited by decided voters are the party’s leader (22%), the party’s candidate in the riding (11%), a desire for stability (9%), a desire for change (7%) and disgust with other contending candidates (4%).

On the eve of the election, more than three-in-five likely voters (62%, -3) approve of the way Premier and BC NDP leader John Horgan is handling his duties, while 33% disapprove.

There was no change in the approval rating for BC Liberals leader Andrew Wilkinson since early October (40%), while BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau improved markedly to 46% (+13).

Furstenau posts a momentum score of +13 (27% of likely voters say their opinion of her has improved since the start of the campaign, while 14% say it has worsened). The numbers are also in positive territory for Horgan (+2), while Wilkinson’s score is -21 (with 36% of likely voters reporting a worsening opinion of the BC Liberals leader).

When asked who would make the best premier of the province, Horgan remains on top with the endorsement of almost half of likely voters (48%, +1), followed by Wilkinson with 24% (-3) and Furstenau with 12% (+6).

While 81% of likely voters who supported the BC NDP in the 2017 ballot feel Horgan is the best person to act as British Columbia’s head of government, only 53% of BC Liberal voters in the last election feel the same way about Wilkinson.

The issue landscape did not shift dramatically in the final week of the campaign. One-in-four likely voters (25%, =) say the economy and jobs is their main preoccupation right now, followed by housing, poverty and homelessness (23%, -2) and health care (also 23%, =). 

Fewer likely voters mentioned COVID-19 (13%, +5), the environment (7%, =), crime and public safety (4%, =), education (2%, +1), accountability (1%, -2), and energy (also 1%, +1) as the top issue facing the province.

As has been the case throughout the past five weeks, likely voters aged 18-to-34 are more likely to be concerned about housing, homelessness and poverty (33%), while those aged 35-to-54 gravitate towards the economy and jobs (29%) and those aged 55 and over select health care (28%).

At least two-in-five likely voters pick Horgan over Wilkinson as the best party leader to handle health care (49% to 22%), the economy and jobs (43% to 31%), education (42% to 22%), housing, poverty and homelessness (40% to 22%) and accountability (40% to 25%), 

On the issue of handling the COVID-19 pandemic, likely voters in British Columbia choose Horgan over Wilkinson by a 3-to-1 margin (53% to 17%). The incumbent premier is also ahead of the opposition leader on two other matters: crime and public safety (38% to 30%) and energy (32% to 25%). 

Furstenau extended her lead as the best leader to manage the environment (44%, +11), with Horgan at 24% and Wilkinson at 14%.

Results are based on an online study conducted on October 22 and October 23, 2020, among 750 likely voters in British Columbia, including 705 decided voters in the 2020 provincial election. 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 +/- 3.6 percentage points for likely voters and +/- 3.7 percentage points for decided voters, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

Photo by Adi kavazovic

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.