BC Liberals (43%, +4) and NDP (41%, -3) in Tight Race (Greens 14%, +2). Neither Clark (29%, -1) Nor Horgan (26%, -2) Gaining Advantage as Best Premier (Weaver 15%, +4)


The author(s)

  • Kyle Braid Senior Vice President, Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs
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Vancouver, BC – A new Ipsos poll conducted online (our initial and final campaign polls will be dual online and phone methodologies) in the days following the televised leaders debate, show the two main parties in a statistical tie among decided voters. There is also little to separate the two main party leaders, Christy Clark and John Horgan, as Best Premier.

The Issues

Health care (36%) and housing affordability (32%) continue to be the two top issues that British Columbians feel should receive attention from BC's leaders. These issues are rivaled by the combined issues of jobs/employment (19%) and the economy (16%).

The biggest shifts from the start of the campaign are the increased importance of health care (up 5 points) and the economy (up 5 points), as well as the decreased importance of drugs and the opioid crisis (8%, down 5 points).

Ethics and accountability remains near the bottom of the issue list, mentioned by only 3% of British Columbians, which is half the level as at the start of the campaign (was 6%).

The Horserace

The BC Liberals now have a statistically insignificant 2-point lead over the NDP. Currently, 43% of decided voters say they would be most likely to support or lean towards the BC Liberals, while 41% favour the NDP. Since the start of the campaign, the BC Liberals have moved up 4 points, while the NDP has lost 3 points (was 44% NDP to 39% Lib).

The Greens are well back with the support of 14% of decided voters, up 2 points from the start of the campaign (was 12%). Three percent say they will support other parties (down 2 points).

These results exclude the 20% (down 3 points) of British Columbians who are undecided or express no preference.

  • Gender Gap: The BC Liberals lead by 7-points among men (47% Lib vs. 40% NDP), while the New Democrats have a 4-point lead among women (42% NDP vs. 38% Libs). The Green Party does better with women (18%) than with men (10%).
  • Age Gap: The BC Liberals lead by 13-points among 55+ years (49% Lib vs. 36% NDP), while the NDP leads by 8-points among the 35-54 years segment (45% NDP vs. 37% Lib). The two parties are effectively tied among a typical NDP stronghold, namely 18-34 years (43% NDP vs. 42% Lib).
  • Regions: The NDP and the BC Liberals are in a tight race in Metro Vancouver (44% NDP vs. 42% Lib). The BC Liberals lead by 13-points in the Interior/North (49% Lib vs. 36% NDP), while the NDP has a 5-point lead on Vancouver Island (39% NDP vs. 34% Lib). The Green Party continues to do best on Vancouver Island at 22% support.
  • Holding Past Vote: The NDP are doing the best job of holding voters who say they supported the party in 2013. 85% of 2013 NDP voters are sticking with their party. This is 6-points better than the BC Liberals (79%) and 20-points better than the Greens (65%).

Second Choice

The Green Party remains set to benefit the most from potential vote switching. They are the second choice of 34% (down 3) of decided voters, well ahead of the New Democrats (18%, unchanged) and BC Liberals (9%, down 3).

  • Among BC Liberals voters, their second choice remains equally between the NDP (28%) and Greens (26%).
  • Among NDP voters, their second choice still strongly favours the Greens (53%) over the BC Liberals (15%).
  • Among Green voters, the NDP (45%) remains much more likely than BC Liberals (14%) to be their second choice.

Deserving Re-Election

The appetite for change has lessened slightly since the start of the campaign. Half (51%, down 5 points) believe that it's time for another provincial party to take over. Three-in-ten (29%, up 1 point) continue to believe that the Clark government has done a good job and deserves re-election, while 19% (up 3 points) are undecided.

Best Premier

Andrew Weaver is the only leader making gains as best Premier. He is up 4 points from the start of the campaign to 15% thinking he is the leader who would make the best Premier of British Columbia (was 11%). Nevertheless, Weaver still trails the other two leaders as Christy Clark (29%, down 1 point) remains narrowly ahead of John Horgan (26%, down 2 points). Three-in-ten (30%, down 1 point) British Columbians continue to be undecided about which of the three main party leaders would make the best Premier.

Best on Issues

British Columbians are starting to form impressions on the issues as the percentage who say they don't know which leader/party is best has fallen with every issue.

  • Christy Clark and the BC Liberals have momentum on the economy. Their lead over Horgan/NDP has increased to 13 points on the economy (was 7 points). The Liberals also hold double digit leads over the other parties on natural resource development and pipelines.
  • John Horgan and the NDP are increasingly seem as better than Clark/Liberals on the issues of health care (lead increased from 4 points to 13 points) and housing affordability (lead increased from 12 points to 18 points). The NDP also has double digit leads over the other parties on social issues and education.
  • Andrew Weaver and the Greens are increasingly seen as by far the best on the environment (45% select Greens, up 10 points).

Which of the three main parties/leaders do you think would do the best job on each of the following issues?

Christy Clark and The BC Liberal Party

John Horgan and the NDP

Andrew Weaver and The Green Party

Don't know

Health care

22% (-2)

35% (+7)

10% (+2)

33% (-7)

Housing affordability

17% (-1)

35% (+5)

11% (+2)

37% (-6)


33% (+4)

27% (+2)

8% (+2)

31% (-10)


37% (+8)

24% (+2)

9% (+2)

30% (-12)

Social issues (e.g. poverty, homelessness)

17% (+1)

34% (+2)

15% (+4)

34% (-7)


22% (+1)

34% (+5)

13% (+5)

31% (-10)

Keeping down taxes/government fees

29% (+6)

26% (+6)

10% (=)

36% (-11)


14% (=)

15% (+3)

45% (+10)

27% (-11)

Government spending/finances

30% (+8)

25% (+5)

10% (=)

35% (-12)

Drugs/opioid crisis

19% (+1)

23% (+1)

11% (+1)

47% (-3)

Transportation and infrastructure

31% (+5)

25% (+4)

9% (+2)

35% (-10)

Crime/justice issues

25% (+3)

25% (+3)

9% (+3)

41% (-9)

Natural resource development

32% (+8)

19% (+5)

19% (-2)

31% (-10)


33% (+9)

15% (+2)

17% (-2)

35% (-9)

Leadership Characteristics

All three leaders have improved slightly on most leadership attributes and no leader is dominating on any attribute.

  • Christy Clark gets her highest ratings on the attributes of most capable (31% select her), most tough (31%) and most smart (29%). She leads the other leaders on these items and is up 5 points on each from the start of the campaign.
  • John Horgan leads on 5 of the 8 attributes, but not with numbers as high as Clark gets on her 3 leading attributes. Horgan has improved on all attributes since the start of the campaign, especially being the most tough (up 11 points) and most relatable (up 9 points).
  • Andrew Weaver is also up on all attributes, although he leads on none. His best ratings are for being most honest (20%, up 7 points), most likeable (20%, up 5 points) and most caring (19%, up 5 points).

Which of the three main party leaders do you think is best described by each of the following words?

Christy Clark

John Horgan

Andrew Weaver

Don't know


16% (-1)

24% (+7)

19% (+5)

41% (-11)


31% (+5)

27% (+7)

12% (+3)

31% (-14)


13% (+1)

21% (+5)

20% (+7)

46% (-13)


22% (+3)

23% (+6)

20% (+5)

35% (-14)


19% (+2)

26% (+9)

16% (+4)

39% (-15)


29% (+5)

21% (+2)

17% (+7)

33% (-14)


31% (+5)

25% (+11)

7% (+1)

37% (-17)


15% (+1)

23% (+6)

17% (+5)

45% (-12)


Televised Leaders Debate

Nearly six-in-ten (57%) British Columbians said they watched at least some of the televised leaders debate or saw news coverage/clips of it. These debate viewers could not be more divided in their analysis of who won or impressed them most in the debate. Exactly one quarter chose each of the three leaders (Clark 25%, Horgan 25%, Weaver 25%) and one- quarter (25%) said they were undecided.

Projected Outcome

British Columbians are even more split than at the start of the campaign about how this election will be decided, with an increase in belief that the NDP will win a majority government. A little more than one-third (35%, down 3 points) project a Liberal majority, while three-in-ten (29%, up 7 points) project an NDP majority. Other residents believe there will be some other outcome (18%, down 4 points) or are undecided (18%, down 1 point).

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll of 834 British Columbians conducted April 27 to 30, 2017. The poll was conducted 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 +/ - 3.9 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.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Kyle Braid
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks third in the global research industry. With offices in 88 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media, customer loyalty, marketing, public affairs research, and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,669.5 ($2,218.4 million) in 2014.

The author(s)

  • Kyle Braid Senior Vice President, Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs

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