By Tom Barrett
A new poll suggests the NDP is ahead of the governing BC Liberals by 12 percentage points on the eve of the official kickoff to the May 14 election campaign.
The Ekos poll found a considerably smaller lead for the NDP than an Angus Reid poll taken in mid-March, which had the New Democrats ahead by 20 points. However, the Ekos numbers are little changed from the last Ekos B.C. poll, taken at the beginning of February.
The new poll, conducted April 3 to 10, puts the NDP at 39 per cent, the BC Liberals at 27 per cent, the BC Greens at 16 per cent and the BC Conservatives at 13 per cent among decided and leaning voters.
Among likely voters, the NDP lead grows to 17 points. Among those deemed most likely to actually turn out at the polls, the NDP receives 45 per cent, the Liberals 28, the Greens 11 and the Conservatives 13.
“With no forward momentum and time running out, Christy Clark stands little chance at retaining her status as premier on May 14,” the pollster says in a media statement. Adds Ekos: “It is difficult to envision a scenario where the NDP could lose with a 12-point lead in popular support.”
The poll highlights what Ekos calls “the surprising growth” of the Greens and Conservatives. As in its previous B.C. poll, Ekos finds greater support for these two parties than other pollsters.
As the chart below shows, there has been considerable variation in opinion polls taken since the beginning of the year. This is typical of pre-election polls and may be due to differing methodologies or to voters paying less attention to politics between election campaigns.
The Ekos poll was conducted using Interactive Voice Response technology, in which participants respond to a recorded voice by punching buttons on their telephones. The results for decided and leaning respondents are based on a sample of 793 adult British Columbians contacted using both landlines and cell phones. A sample of this size has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
Polling for B.C. election 2013 as of April 14, 2013
||25 Jan – 1 Feb||26||48||12||11||3||Phone-online||600||4|
|Angus Reid||18-19 Mar||28||48||11||11||2||Online||809||3.5|
|Insights West||26-31 Mar||28||45||10||15||2||Online||855||3.4|
Note: The sampling error margins given here are those provided by the pollster. While online polls have been very successful at predicting recent elections, there is a methodological controversy surrounding the citing of margins of error for online polls. Some experts hold that it is inappropriate to quote a margin of error for an online poll because participants in such polls are drawn from volunteer panels, rather than chosen at random from the general population. For more on this issue, see this story.