Nothing Changes in a No Change Election

NDP (52%, up 1) maintain 18-point lead over BC Liberals (34%, up 1)

The author(s)
  • Kyle Braid Senior Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs
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Vancouver BC, October 13, 2020 — At the mid-point of the BC election campaign, a new Ipsos/Global BC/CKNW online poll shows the NDP maintaining its substantial leads in vote intention, leadership and issues. Only about one-in-four British Columbians see this as a ‘time for change’ election.

The Issues

Coronavirus/COVID-19 has solidified its place as the top issue that voters care about in this provincial election. Nearly four-in-ten (37%) British Columbians rate Coronavirus/COVID-19 as one of their top two most important issues, which is an increase of 7 points from our early campaign poll (fielded Sept 24-28).

Rounding out the top five issues that matter to British Columbians are cost of living/affordability (24%, unchanged), jobs and the economy (22%, up 3 points), housing affordability/availability (19%, up 2 points), and health care (18%, down 1 point). These are the same top 5 issues as in our early campaign poll, although housing and health care have flipped places.

The Horserace

It’s still not close. The NDP have maintained their 18-point lead over the BC Liberals. Currently, 52% (up 1 point) of decided voters say they would be most likely to support or lean towards the New Democrats, compared to 34% (up 1 point) for the BC Liberals and 11% (down 1 point) for the Greens. Total ‘other party’ support is 3% (down 1 point). These results exclude the still sizable group of 27% (down 4 points) of British Columbians who are undecided or express no preference.

Age Breaks: The NDP leads by a wide margin across all age groups, including by 17-points among traditionally higher turnout older voters (NDP 53% vs. Libs 36% among 55+ years).

Gender Breaks: The NDP have a massive 31-point lead among women (59% NDP vs. 28% Libs) and a much narrower 7-point lead among men (46% NDP vs. 39% Libs).

Region Breaks: The NDP has a large 29-point lead on Vancouver Island (54% NDP vs. 25% Libs) and a 23-point lead in Metro Vancouver (56% NDP vs. 33% Libs). Voter preferences are a statistical tie in the Southern Interior/North (44% NDP vs. 42% Libs). The Green Party does best on Vancouver Island at 17% support (vs. 10% in Metro Vancouver, 8% in Southern Interior/North).  

Voter Certainty

Two-in-ten (19%) voters with a current party preference say there is still a good chance they will change their mind and vote for some other party's candidate in this election. NDP supporters are the most solid at this point, with only 15% saying there is a good chance they might switch to another party. The BC Liberals are close with only 20% saying there is a good chance they might switch. One-in-three (34%) Green Party supporters say there is a good chance they might switch, but the sample size is small (n=63).

Deserving Re-Election

There continues to be little appetite for change in this election. Only about one-quarter (27%, down 1 point) of British Columbians say it is time for another provincial party to take over. Nearly half (47%, up 2 points) of British Columbians believe that the Horgan government has done a good job and deserves re-election, while 26% (down 1 point) are undecided.

For comparison, at this point in the 2017 BC election, half (51%) of British Columbians said that it was time for a new provincial party to take over from the Clark government.

Best Premier

The first half of this election campaign has done nothing to shake up views of who would make the best Premier of BC. John Horgan, at 45% (up 1 point), has maintained a huge lead over both Andrew Wilkinson (16%, up 2 points) and Sonia Furstenau (6%, unchanged). One-in-three (33%, down 3 points) are undecided on this leadership question.

Impressions of Leaders/Campaigns

None of the three main party campaigns has captured the hearts and minds of voters so far. Most British Columbians say the campaigns have either not changed their impression or they have no opinion at all.

The most positive shift, albeit slight, is for Sonia Furstenau and the Green Party, with 16% improved impressions versus 13% worsened impressions (39% stayed the same, 32% no opinion).

The results for John Horgan and the NDP are generally neutral with 16% improved impressions versus 17% worsened impressions (53% stayed the same, 13% no opinion).

The results for Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberals are slightly negative with 13% improved impressions versus 23% worsened impressions (44% stayed the same, 20% no opinion).  

Best on Issues

John Horgan and the NDP continue to own most issues. The opposition parties have not made up ground on any issues.

John Horgan and the NDP remain well ahead on the top 5 campaign issues of Coronavirus/COVID-19 (35-point lead), cost of living/affordability (19-point lead), jobs/economy (12 point lead), housing affordability/availability (22-point lead) and health care (29-point lead).

Sonia Furstenau and the Green Party continue to lead on the issue of climate change and the environment (12-point lead).


Promises Promises

We tested a number of campaign promises for their importance in voter choice. The most impactful promise tested was ‘the BC Liberal promise to end ICBC's monopoly on auto insurance and allow drivers to purchase all types of auto insurance from private insurers’. This promise was rated as at least ‘somewhat important’ by six-in-ten residents (61%), including three-in-ten (31%) who rated it as ‘very important’. Three other campaign promises rated only slightly behind the Liberal’s ICBC promise, including …

  • The NDP promise to provide a one-time COVID recovery payment of up to $1,000 for families and up to $500 for single people (56% at least ‘somewhat important’, including 26% ‘very important’).
  • The NDP promise to freeze rent increases until the end of 2021 (55% at least ‘somewhat important’, including 28% ‘very important’).
  • The BC Liberal promise to eliminate the PST for one year, followed by keeping it at 3% until the economy recovers (51% at least ‘somewhat important’, including 21% ‘very important’).

The lowest rated promise was ‘the BC Liberal promise to spend $8 billion on infrastructure to stimulate the economy including a bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel’ (44% at least ‘somewhat important’, including 17% ‘very important’). Though not a promise, we also tested the impact of ‘the NDP decision to call a snap election instead of waiting until the planned election date of October 2021’. It was rated as at least ‘somewhat important’ by 43% of residents, including 18% who rated it as ‘very important’.

About the Study

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll of 1,000 British Columbians conducted October 8 to 11, 2020. The poll was conducted on behalf of Global BC and CKNW online via the Ipsos I-Say Panel. These data were statistically weighted by region, age, gender and education to ensure the sample composition reflects that of the actual BC population according to Census data. The precision of Ipsos polls containing online data is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the overall poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all eligible voters been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.  

© 2020, Ipsos Limited Partnership: This polling release and the data contained in it are the sole and exclusive property of Ipsos. They are NOT designed to support any election outcome or prediction model and no license to use the polling release or the data is either granted or implied by their publication. Ipsos does not endorse, and has no responsibility for the accuracy of, the result of any predictive model that incorporates this polling data. Furthermore, any use of this information to produce polling aggregations or election models without Ipsos’ written permission will be considered a violation of our intellectual property, and Ipsos reserves the right to take appropriate legal action.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Kyle Braid

SVP, Ipsos Public Affairs

office 778.373.5130

cell 604.788.2417

[email protected]


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The author(s)
  • Kyle Braid Senior Vice President, Canada, Public Affairs