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Parties hustle for advantage on key issues, leader momentum and credibility

The earliest days of the 2017 provincial election campaign in British Columbia are revealing a political landscape in which the incumbent faces a steep climb back into the good favour of the electorate, and in which the challenger must define himself before he is defined by others.

And as the BC Liberals and New Democrats battle to form government, both face the risk of their ambitions being spoiled in key regions by the Greens of BC as they battle for the 45 seats out of 87 required to form majority government.

A new public opinion poll of more than 800 British Columbians from the Angus Reid Institute finds the two main leaders beginning the race in a statistical tie over who would make best premier, with each side poised to exploit the other’s weaknesses in order to motivate turnout among their bases, and bring undecided voters and small-party supporters into their tents.

The poll finds most British Columbians holding unfavourable views of BC Liberal leader Christy Clark. That said, with just four weeks until election day, New Democratic Party leader John Horgan remains unknown to a significant number, and risks being defined by opponents whose campaign is better funded than his own. Moreover, Horgan is no more likely to be viewed “very favourably,” than Clark.

Key Findings:BCElxnMetho

  • Regional and age differences are significant factors in how British Columbians view each of the parties. The Interior remains a Liberal stronghold, while the Lower Mainland shows a slight preference for the NDP on most issues. Young people are firmly in the New Democrats’ camp, while the older generation tilts towards the BC Liberals.
  • Health care, housing prices and affordability, and the economy loom large in the minds of voters as the campaign begins
  • The NDP holds slight advantages on health care and housing, while the governing BC Liberals are seen as best on the economy

Link to the poll here: www.angusreid.org/bc-election-issues-2017

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