New polling shows New Democrats under Premier David Eby maintain a double-digit lead, with the Conservative Party of B.C. maintaining second place.
The Abacus Data poll shows the NDP with an 18-point lead over the Conservatives with 44 per cent of committed voters to 26 per cent. Meanwhile, BC United has 17 per cent and the BC Greens are at nine.
The poll broadly matches the findings of an Angus Reid poll released in October one year before the last possible date for the the next provincial election. That poll shows the New Democrats with 43 per cent support among decided and leaning voters.
But Abacus Data poll shows a widening gap in the battle for second place.
Whereas the Angus Reid poll had pegged BC United at 22 per cent — one point ahead of the Conservatives — the Abacus Data poll gives the Conservatives a nine point lead, the largest difference in recent polls. A Leger poll published in early October had shown the Conservatives with a six-point lead while a Research Co poll published in September showed BC United ahead by one per cent.
Broadly, the Abacus Data poll shows the Conservatives as the big winners with a 24 per cent swing in their favour compared to the election results in 2020, when the party won two per cent and no seats. Leader John Rustad and Bruce Banman currently represent the party in Victoria. BC United Leader Kevin Falcon had kicked Rustad out of what was then the BC Liberal caucus in August 2022, while Banman left BC United in late summer to join Rustad.
New Democrats are down four per cent, while BC United — formerly known as the BC Liberals — are down 17 per cent compared to 2020. New Democrats are down four per cent compared to their 2020 election results, but “would likely win another large majority government” according to Abacus.
If BC United is trending down, so too is the BC Green Party. The Research Co poll published in September gave them 12 per cent. The Leger poll published in early October gave them 10 per cent. The Angus Reid poll published later in October gave them 12 per cent. But the Abacus Poll sees them slipping into single digits to nine per cent, six per cent below their result in 2020.
The Abacus Data poll broadly confirms NDP strength across all regions of the province. Forty-six per cent of voters in Metro Vancouver and almost 50 per cent of voters on Vancouver Island would vote for the NDP. Almost four out of 10 votes — 36 per cent — in B.C.’s Interior and North would also vote for New Democrats, just one percentage point behind the Conservatives, who occupy second place in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island, albeit far behind New Democrats.
Conservatives are six points ahead of BC United in Metro Vancouver, 12 points ahead of BC United on Vancouver Island and 22 points ahead in the Interior and North.
BC Greens, meanwhile, enjoy eight per cent support in Vancouver, 10 per cent support in the North and Interior and 12 per cent support on Vancouver Island, home to their two MLAs.
So what accounts for the strength of the New Democrats? Figures strongly suggest their leader. According to Abacus, Eby is “by far the most popular provincial party leader” with 39 per cent have a positive impression while 25 per cent have a negative view. Falcon, meanwhile, finds himself under water with a net rating of minus 10. BC Greens’ Leader Sonia Furstenau is even while Rustad has a net rating of -2.
The Abacus Data poll also confirms a phenomenon also seen elsewhere in Canada and other western democracies. Young voters are increasingly turning to the right side of the political spectrum. While New Democrats are ahead by 30 points among those aged 45 and over, they are only ahead by three per cent among those under 45.
Conservatives, meanwhile, do 12 points better among younger British Columbians than older ones, according to the poll conducted between Nov. 22-28.
The survey of 1,000 British Columbians of voting ago found affordability (54 per cent), housing (37 per cent) and healthcare system (31 per cent) as the top three issues.
More than one in three British Columbia find the province heading into the right direction.