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More than half of residents approve of the performance of Premier John Horgan.

Vancouver, BC – As the BC Liberals prepare to set the guidelines for the election of a new leader, former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts has emerged as the only candidate that would place the opposition party in a privileged position, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, the prospective leadership contenders with the highest favourability ratings are Watts (39%), Sam Sullivan (30%), Mike de Jong (28%), Jas Johal (24%) and Kevin Falcon (23%).

The BC Liberal leadership race was triggered after the resignation of Christy Clark, following the 2017 Provincial Election and the formation of a BC New Democratic Party (NDP) government supported by the Green Party.

Many of the politicians who may consider a bid to replace Clark have a low level of name recognition. At least two-in-five residents do not know enough to provide an assessment of Todd Stone (39%), Mike Bernier (also 39%), Andrew Wilkinson (46%), James Moore (49%) and Michael Lee (56%).

When asked how they would vote if the BC Liberals were led by each one of these possible candidates, the BC NDP comes out ahead in match-ups against the opposition party led by Lee (25% to 15%), Wilkinson (26% to 17%), Bernier (also 26% to 17%), Moore (26% to 18%), Stone (26% to 19%), Johal (also 26% to 19%), Sullivan (26% to 20%) and Falcon (26% to 22%).

De Jong would place the BC Liberals in a more competitive race (27% to 25% in favour of the BC NDP, or 42% to 38% in favour of the BC Liberals when undecided voters are removed). Watts is the only prospective leader to clearly outperform the governing party (30% to 25% in favour of the BC Liberals, or 44% to 37% when undecided voters are removed).

“When British Columbians ponder the possibility of Dianne Watts as leader of the BC Liberals, the party’s fortunes change dramatically when compared with other possible contenders,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “The Watts-led BC Liberals would enjoy a significantly higher level of support from voters aged 55 and over and residents of the Lower Mainland.”

Across the province, slightly over half of residents (52%) approve of the performance of Premier and BC NDP leader John Horgan, while 31% disapprove. Almost half (48%) are satisfied with the performance of Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, while the rating is significantly lower (28%) for interim BC Liberals leader Rich Coleman.

The most important issue for British Columbians continues to be housing, homelessness and poverty (36%, +1 since an Insights West poll conducted in May), followed by health care (16%, -3), the economy and jobs (15%, -9) and the environment (12%, +7).

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from August 14 to August 17, 2017, among 812 adult residents of British Columbia. 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 +/- 3.5 percentage points for the entire sample, nineteen times out of twenty. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West


Photograph: BC NDP