Opinion Column

Premier Clark showing up in Adrian Dix's rear-view mirror

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours



The consequences of our actions are so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed. — J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Polling provides a political road map to all parties, but there’s no guarantee the streets it shows now will even exist by the May 2013 provincial election.

Nonetheless, the BC Liberals appear to have finally exited the highway to electoral hell they have been zooming down for months.

The BC New Democrats under leader Adrian Dix are still racing on the political equivalent of the no-speed-limit Autobahn, but have started glancing in their rear-view mirror to see if Premier Christy Clark has any chance of catching up.

And the BC Conservatives’ early jackrabbit start towards opposition party contender status with new leader John Cummins has ended with their vehicle in the ditch; BC Greens’ leader Jane Sterk’s eco-hybrid silently follows.

Those conclusions come from Angus Reid Public Opinion’s latest B.C. poll, which puts the BC Liberals up three points at 29%, the BC NDP down two at 47%, the BC Conservatives dropping four to 12% and the Greens up one to 9%.

The poll gives Clark a faint hope clause of winning, but with a disapproval rating of 60% versus an approval of just 29%. Still, there’s no champagne on ice.

Dix holds a commanding 48% approval rating against 34% disapproval, and a clear lead in every B.C. region but the poll shows reasons to be concerned.

Angus Reid pollster Mario Canseco said in an interview that with 21% of respondents saying they don’t see any party leader as making the best premier and another 27% not sure, voters are volatile.

“The fact that we’re six months from a campaign and people who say they don’t know or none of the above totals 48% — that’s problematic,” Canseco says, but the BC NDP still has a significant advantage.

“The NDP have premier-in-waiting approval levels for Dix,” he said. “There’s a level of commitment for an opposition party that we don’t see anywhere else in the country.”

So while the poll gives measures of both hope and fear to all parties, it’s what they do with that road map to correct their course that really matters on May 14, 2013.


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