British Columbia

British Columbians want Premier Christy Clark to accept defeat, poll suggests

British Columbians may be divided about which party they support, but a new poll suggests the majority don't want another election — and they don't want Premier Christy Clark to stick around either.

Angus Reid poll finds 71% of those surveyed don't want another election

Christy Clark was sworn in as Premier of British Columbia earlier this month, but a new poll suggests the majority of B.C. residents would rather see the Liberals accept defeat and Clark resign as party leader. (Michael Mcarthur/CBC)

British Columbians may be divided about which party they support, but a new poll suggests the majority don't want another election — and they don't want Premier Christy Clark to stick around either.

It was less than two months ago that voters elected 43 B.C. Liberal MLAs, 41 NDP MLAs and three Green MLAs, giving the Liberals the chance to present a throne speech. But there is uncertainty what will happen next if the NDP and Greens vote against the government in an upcoming confidence vote.

Now, according to an Angus Reid Institute poll, 71 per cent of respondents would rather not have another election right away.

More to the point, 63 per cent of respondents believe the B.C. Liberals should "accept defeat" rather than "use every rule and procedure in their power to prevent the NDP forming government."

Furthermore, the poll also found 62 per cent would prefer to see Christy Clark step down as the leader of the B.C. Liberals, including 32 per cent of her own party's supporters.

But Premier Christy Clark has vowed to stay on and continue to govern until her minority government is defeated, which is expected to happen during the first confidence vote early next week.

After that the NDP and Greens are expected to ask the lieutenant governor for a chance to form the next government rather than call another election.

The 'incredible polarization' of B.C.

The Angus Reid Institute poll was conducted from June 15 to 19 using an online survey of a representative group of 810 B.C. residents over the age of 18.

"What you see here is an incredible polarization, as usual of B.C. politics," said executive director Shachi Kurl.

"When they talk about making it difficult for an NDP minority propped up by the Greens, that is a real call to action for [Liberal] supporters."

"The rest of the province —  the 60 per cent who did not vote for the B.C. Liberals in this case — are saying, 'You know what? Enough already. Get out of the way. Accept defeat.'"

The poll also found only 11 per cent of those surveyed would vote differently if they had a second chance. But given that second chance — more said they would change their vote to try to get a Liberal majority (35%) over an NDP majority (22%).

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and NDP leader John Horgan have signed an agreement to govern together, but there is no clear consensus amongst those polled how long that is expected to last. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

The survey did find rising concern about the economic future of the province, with 34 per cent surveyed worrying their own standard of living will be worse a year from now — a seven year high. But 43 per cent expected it would remain the same.

'All over the map'

And when it comes to the NDP's plans for some controversial mega-projects, voters remained split, with the largest group of 40 per cent supporting the Site C Dam and 39 per cent supporting the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project as planned. 

As for the Greens' priorities, 76 per cent supported banning corporate and union donations from B.C. politics, while 59 per cent supported bringing in a new system of proportional representation for electing MLAs.

When it comes to the province's political future, there was no clear consensus on how long a NDP-Green alliance will last, with the largest group of 28 per cent saying they don't have any idea how long it will be able to govern.

"People are all over the map on trying to figure how long this alliance is going to last. Very, very few are of the opinion it will last two years, let alone the full four," said Kurl.


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