British Columbia

Gateway pipeline debate not shifting B.C. voters

The political battle over the Northern Gateway pipeline project in B.C. has not led to a significant shift in the polls, according to the latest Angus Reid poll.
The online survey asked 804 representative B.C. voters if a provincial election were held tomorrow in British Columbia, which one of the following parties would you be most likely to support in your constituency? (Angus Reid)

The political battle over the Northern Gateway pipeline project underway in B.C. has not led to a significant shift in B.C.'s political landscape, according to the latest Angus Reid poll.

According to the online survey of 804 representative voters done this week, 49 per cent would support the B.C. NDP if an election were called, up five percentage points since last month, but similar to the party's 50 per cent support in May.

Meanwhile 22 per cent of those surveyed said they would support the governing B.C. Liberals, down one percentage point since early July. 

Support for the B.C. Conservatives fell slightly to 19 per cent, down three percentage points, while the Greens pulled in nine per cent support, up slightly by one percentage point.

Pollster Mario Canseco says the results show that all the recent political positioning on the future of the Northern Gateway pipeline had no immediate effect on voter preferences in British Columbia.

Last week Premier Christy Clark's laid out five conditions that would have to be met for her government to approve the pipeline, which included tightening environmental safeguards, consulting with First Nations, and giving B.C. a larger revenue share for taking on the project's environmental risk.

B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix, who remains the most popular choice for premier with 32 per cent support versus Clark's 17 per cent, has said he would oppose the pipeline, regardless of the conditions.

Majority opposed pipeline

Earlier this week Angus Reid also released results from the poll showing 59 per cent of those surveyed opposed the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal, but that more than half of those polled could be swayed to change their position if environmental and economic guarantees changed.

The survey also indicates 37 per cent of respondents say they are satisfied with Premier Christy Clark's stance on this issue, while 47 per cent are dissatisfied with her performance.

The online survey was conducted among 804 randomly selected Angus Reid panellists between July 30 and August 1. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia.

The 1,177-kilometre proposed Northern Gateway twin pipeline would carry heavy oil from Alberta across a vast swath of pristine B.C. wilderness and First Nations territory to a port for shipment to Asia.

Concerns about risks that the line could rupture on land, or that oil could spill from tankers into the Pacific Ocean, have sparked widespread opposition in B.C. and prompted Clark's government to set out five conditions for its approval.