The BC provincial election is scheduled to be held on October 16, 2021. The last two polls in BC done in mid to late June gave the NDP 17% and 18% leads, thanks to the view that Horgan has handled the Covid-19 pandemic well. However, a week in politics is an eternity and the BC Liberals will be trying to grab the roughly 10%-13% of the vote that currently says it favours the BC Conservatives, something they and the Socreds have historically succeeded in doing to a large extent. Below is the Ekos poll. Since February when Covid-19 first became an issue in the province, earlier polls had given the NDP leads of 5%, 6%, 18%, 8% and 9% (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42nd_British_Columbia_general_election), reflecting the growing support that handling the virus well has helped give the NDP.
The NDP has a healthy 17-point lead over the Liberals in British Columbia (46 to 29), with the Greens in a distant third at 13 points among decided voters. A further 12% support other parties. One-in-five voters (19%) remain undecided. The NDP currently runs the province in a minority government with support in confidence votes from the Green Party, while the “pro free-enterprise” Liberal Party has the most seats, but is in opposition.
The NDP is up six points from the 40% they won in the 2017 election. The Liberals, with their new leader Andrew Wilkinson is down 11 points (they also won 40% in 2017). The leaderless Green Party is down four points from 17% in 2017. The Greens will be electing a new leader in September. The 12% of decided voters who back “other parties” are likely backing the moribund BC Conservative Party, who only ran 10 candidates in the last election. Voters deciding to park their vote here could explain the 11 point drop for the Liberals in the highly polarized BC electorate.
The NDP leads in every region of the province except the Interior, where they are in a statistical tie with the Liberals, trailing them 37% to 35%. Of note, “other parties” is polling at 17% in the Interior, a traditionally conservative-leaning part of the province, further suggesting that respondents who selected this option likely back the provincial Conservative Party. The NDP has the largest lead in the Greater Victoria Area, where they have a 28 point edge (53-25) over the Liberals. The Greens, who won 2 seats in the Victoria area in 2017, are also polling well in the capital at 19%. While there is only a five-point gender gap for the NDP, which is polling at 44% among men and 49% among women, the gender gap is much stronger for the Liberals, which are polling at 35% among men and just 23% among women. The gender gap is the inverse for the Greens, which are polling at 9% among men and 17% among women.
While the NDP seems to have a decent lead over the Liberals, one cannot ignore the polarization of the BC electorate. Since the 2005 election, the two parties have always been within 5 points of each other in provincial elections. If most of the 12% of decided voters who say they’re voting ‘other’ do end up backing the Liberals, the race does become much closer, and that’s not even accounting for the 19% of the electorate that is undecided.