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Exit poll shows that “strategic voting” was more successful in Vancouver Island than in other areas of the province.

Vancouver, BC – Canada’s federal Liberal Party finished ahead of all rivals in British Columbia for the first time in this century after leader Justin Trudeau successfully connected with voters, a new Insights West “exit poll” conducted in partnership with the Vancouver Sun has found.

In the online survey of British Columbians who cast a ballot in the federal election, 53% of respondents who voted Liberal say a “desire for change” and “the party’s leader” were the main factors in their decision.

Ideas and policies were the biggest motivator for Conservative and New Democratic Party (NDP) voters (36% each), while 21% of Green votes were cast primarily on the basis of the party leader.

On the thorny issue of “strategic voting”, one third of voters in British Columbia (34%) say they supported the candidate in their riding who had the best chance of defeating a party they disliked. The biggest “strategic voters” were women (40%), residents aged 18-34 (42%) and Vancouver Islanders (38%). They ended up supporting the New Democrats (44%) and the Liberals (35%) more than the Greens (21%).

“The call to vote strategically was more successful in Vancouver Island,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “The NDP captured ridings where the Conservatives were supposed to be competitive, based on 2011 results.”


A majority of British Columbian voters (58%) read a party platform, and 46% watched or attended a debate with federal leaders. One-in-four (25%) met canvassers or candidates who knocked on their door—including 32% in Vancouver Island. In addition, 30% visited websites of federal parties, including 41% of those aged 18-34.


An overwhelming proportion of BC voters think it should be mandatory for federal party leaders to take part in at least one English language debate that is broadcast nationally (90%) and for candidates to attend at least one public debate in their riding with the candidates from other parties (86%).

Influencers and Outcome

Practically nine-in-ten British Columbian voters (87%) say the party platforms were “very” or “moderately” influential in their choice, followed by the performance of leaders in debates (59%), discussions with family (43%) and discussions with friends (38%).

While just one-in-five BC voters say interactions with people on social media (20%) or with candidates (19%) influenced their vote, the numbers jump to 35% and 24% respectively with those aged 18-34. Endorsements from NGOs (18%) carried the biggest weight for voters, followed by those from unions (12%), trade associations (11%) and newspapers (10%).

Across British Columbia, 58% of voters say they would have been “happy” with a Liberal minority, but 44% are “happy” with the actual result of the Canadian election: a Liberal majority. Only one group is dissatisfied with this outcome: those aged 55 and over (56%).

Three-in-four British Columbians (74%) thought it was time for a new Conservative leader to take over from Stephen Harper, including 44% of those who voted for the Tories in the 2015 election.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 18 to October 19, 2015, among 623 adult British Columbians who voted in the 2015 Canadian federal election (either in advanced polls or on Election Day). The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.9 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Renegade98