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B.C. Spotlight: Massive lead over opposition may make an election irresistible to the NDP, but risks lay ahead

Premier John Horgan recently suggested an early election could be an “opportunity” for his BC NDP, though the party was quick to say that he misspoke and is not intent on calling on residents to head to the polls early.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that an early election would, indeed, present Horgan and his party with quite the irresistible opportunity, should they choose to take it.

The New Democrats have opened a whopping 19-point lead over the opposition BC Liberals, with half of residents (48%) saying they would cast votes for the party that has helmed a minority government for three years. The BC Liberals take 29 per cent of the decided and leaning vote, while the B.C. Greens are at 14 per cent of current vote intention.

But against these sunny skies, dark clouds are forming on the horizon. The government is fighting a pitched battle with the union representing B.C. teachers as anxiety mounts over sending children back to school next week. The province is also continuing to fight – some would argue unsuccessfully – a sustained increase in COVID-19 cases.

Indeed, fully one-in-three B.C. residents say they would not be comfortable heading to the polls in person this fall as they would during a normal year, due to concerns about the coronavirus. BC NDP feel this more acutely than those who support other parties, with two-in-five New Democrat supporters saying they would be uncomfortable going physically to the polls.

More Key Findings:

  • The BC NDP holds a commanding lead in Metro Vancouver, 53 per cent to 26 per cent over the BC Liberals, and also leads by nine-points in the rest of the province, 42 per cent to 33 per cent
  • Four-in-five residents (83%) say the Horgan government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been “good”
  • By contrast, British Columbians are critical of its response to the opioid epidemic. Only 22 per cent of residents say the government has done a good job on this file, compared to 71 per cent who say they have done a poor job

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