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The BC Liberals: Time for a change

“Right-wing split hands NDP considerable lead over Liberals”.

That’s the Vancouver Sun’s spin on the new Angus Reid poll that gives Adrian Dix and the BC NDP a nine-point lead over the BC Liberals.

Surprisingly, it’s the same as the government’s spin.

But at best it’s only part of the story of the poll. At worst it obscures what’s really going on in BC politics.

Here’s how the Sun arrives at its conclusion: “the poll shows the BC Liberals have dropped 12 percentage points since March, when Clark was sworn into office. In the same seven-or-so-month period, John Cummins' BC Conservatives have gained 13 percentage points, giving the party its highest level of support in recent months.” 

There you have it. The Liberals dropped 12 points and the Tories gained 13. Ipso facto the Tories are splitting the right, handing the NDP the government. 

Except the Conservative numbers reported by Angus Reid don’t bear that out. What they show is that John Cummins and the Conservatives are taking votes from both the BC Liberals and the BCNDP.

For every two-and-a-half votes the Conservatives get from the Liberals they get one from the NDP. Take the Conservatives out of the equation, reassign those votes from whence they came and you still get an NDP victory, albeit by a smaller margin. And that’s assuming all those people will still vote, which is unlikely. 

The real question the Sun should be asking is why have the BC Liberals lost a third of their voters since the last election? 

The answer clearly isn’t just John Cummins and the Conservative Party. After all, the BC Liberals have lost half as much again straight to the BC NDP, which alone is enough to lose the next election.

Here’s my guess, which I’d love to test in an opinion research program: The BC Liberals have lost a third of their voters because they’ve stayed too long and have lost the public trust.

They’re showing all the signs of that. The BC Liberals are arrogant, they lie, they cheat and they appear to break the law with impunity. They talk big but deliver little. And above all, after ten years of ‘five great goals’ and ‘the best place to be’ the average person is worse off, while the favoured few have reaped rewards beyond reason. 

And finally, nobody has held them accountable. Yet. 

My sense from reviewing these numbers is that British Columbians are itching to do just that, with or without John Cummins and the Conservatives.

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