Ex-Liberal voters: where will they go?

By Tom Barrett

It’s still too soon to write the Christy Clark Liberals off, but for some time they’ve been showing the signs of a coalition on the verge of a breakup.

One indication is the number of people who are telling pollsters that they voted Liberal in 2009, but would vote for someone else today.

Angus Reid Public Opinion vice-president Mario Canseco said in an interview that the Liberals have a retention rate of 66 per cent. That means one-third of self-identified former Liberal supporters say they are going to vote for someone else. (See main story.)

“Some of them go to the Greens, some of them go to the Conservatives,” Canseco said. But roughly half of the former Liberals who are going elsewhere are going to the NDP.

“That is the big issue that we are looking into as we get closer to the election,” he said. “If you continue to have that shift of BC Liberal voters for Gordon Campbell in 2009 becoming NDP voters for Adrian Dix in 2013, then it’s going to be very difficult for them to turn the numbers around.”

One ray of hope for the Liberals is their retention rate has increased from a low of 50 per cent in the fall of 2010, when Campbell quit. And the number of former Liberals who say they would switch to the BC Conservatives has dropped.

But not everyone moving away from the Conservatives is going back to the Liberals, Canseco said.

“They’re saying, ‘Maybe I’ll vote, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll vote NDP.'”

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