Poll woes

And this in memory of John Diefenbaker who said, “polls are for dogs.”

And this in memory of John Diefenbaker who said, “polls are for dogs.”

NDP leader Adrian Dix has passed Premier Christy Clark as the most popular choice for the top job in B.C., according to a poll released Wednesday.

The online survey of 800 B.C. adults found Dix was chosen “best premier” by 26 per cent of respondents, compared to Clark at 22 per cent. It’s the first time Dix has ranked first in that category in Angus Reid’s series of polls.

On voting intention, the poll found 42 per cent decided or leaning to the NDP, up two per cent since the last poll in November. The B.C. Liberals were down three points to 28 per cent, the first time the party has fallen below 30 per cent since former premier Gordon Campbell resigned.

The B.C. Conservatives collected 19 per cent of voter intentions, a one per cent increase from three months ago, and the B.C. Green Party was up two points to 10 per cent.

Regionally, 51 per cent of decided voters on Vancouver Island and 41 per cent in Metro Vancouver favoured the NDP. The B.C. Conservatives have reached the 20 per cent mark in both Metro Vancouver and the Interior.

Even though Clark has been snatching up every former federal Conservative MP, strategist, and party hack she can find to work for her, one in four B.C. Liberal voters from the 2009 election are now supporting the B.C. Conservatives, the poll found. The margin of error is calculated at plus or minus 3.5 per cent.

A series of issue questions rated the B.C. Liberals and NDP evenly. Angus Reid vice-president Mario Canseco said the results show, “Clark has lost her edge on issues like crime and the economy, which her predecessor used to dominate, even at the pinnacle of his unpopularity.”

The government must soon call two by-elections to replace departed B.C. Liberal MLAs Barry Penner and Iain Black.

Black resigned his Port Moody-Coquitlam seat last October to take a job as CEO of the Vancouver Board of Trade. The Port Moody-Coquitlam byelection must be called by April.

Former Port Moody mayor Joe Trasolini has been acclaimed to run for the NDP, and the B.C. Conservatives have nominated Christine Clarke. The B.C. Liberals have scheduled a nomination meeting for Feb. 17.

Penner resigned his Chilliwack-Hope seat in early January, giving the government six months to call a byelection there. The B.C. Liberals meet Feb. 4 to select their candidate, with the only declared candidate being Laurie Throness, a long-time assistant to former MP Chuck Strahl.

On Jan. 28 NDP members in Chilliwack-Hope selected Gwen O’Mahony, the party candidate in the last federal and provincial elections.

A former conservative stronghold (Liberal provincially and Conservative federally), many pundits are now suggesting that the NDP can actually win the riding.

The B.C. Conservatives have acclaimed John Martin, a criminology professor at University of the Fraser Valley, as their Chilliwack-Hope candidate.

Even though Liberals are dismissing the poll, it has to be troubling for them, just as it has to be good news for the NDP … with the next provincial election just over a year away … unless, of course, Clark wants to abandon the legislation mandating regularly scheduled elections and use up the full five-year mandate, which is what governments faring dismally in the polls often do.