BC Liberals leading

Post Date


Vancouver B.C. (4 May 2017) – The BC Liberals are leading among B.C.’s decided voters according to the latest polling from Justason Market Intelligence and zinc tank. (Polling this wave was mixed mode, combining online and telephone interviewing.)

BC Liberals are up a point (to 39%) since late April, while NDP support has declined three points (to 34%). Over the same period, BC Green support has grown to 23%.


Not so fast! The race for the popular vote will, in our opinion, tighten up as election day approaches. BC Green support is likely to diminish by election day as voters consider the strategic implications of voting BC Green. The BC NDP decline may turn around in these final days of the campaign.

How can the BC Greens affect the election outcome? In 2013, 12 ridings were won by the BC Liberals with fewer votes than the combined BC NDP and BC Green count. In other words, had those Green votes been cast instead for the BC NDP, the BC Liberals would not have won those seats. (We acknowledge we’re assuming a lot about where that BC Green vote emanates from. BC Greens do count more than a few disenfranchised BC Liberals among their supporters.)

The BC Liberals can only benefit from the BC Greens’ decision to run in almost every riding. (The Greens are running in 83 of 87 ridings, up from 69 in 2013). If the BC Liberals do form the next government, they can thank in part the BC Greens’ more aggressive 2017 campaign. At the same time, we expect to see a meaningful increase in popular support for the BC Greens this election.


The party winning 44 of 87 ridings forms the next government.

Polling doesn’t tell us who will form the next government. Our tool, even at this current large sample size, doesn’t capture the riding-by-riding nuances that, for example, elect BC NDP candidates in the midst of regions pollsters would describe as BC Liberal heartland.

On the other hand, there is no avoiding the reality that the BC Liberals have more safe seats than do the BC NDP.


The pollsters took a look at the 2013 election outcome. We defined a safe 2017 riding as having received 15% of total riding votes more than 2013’s second place finisher. By this definition, the BC Liberals enter this election with 29 safe seats to the BC NDP’s 17. (A margin of victory of 10% increases Liberal safe seats to 36 and the NDP’s to 19.)

Can the BC NDP hold its current 34 seats, including these narrow 2013 victories?

  • Vancouver-Fairview: NDP by 966 votes
  • Vancouver-Point Grey: NDP by by 785
  • Burnaby-Deer Lake: NDP by 637
  • Burnaby-Lougheed: NDP by 523
  • Skeena: NDP by 363
  • Stikine: NDP by 774
  • Saanich North and the Islands: NDP by 232 (in an extremely close three way race)

The BC NDP may also pursue these ridings, won by the BC Liberals:

  • Vancouver-Fraserview: Liberal by 546 votes
  • Burnaby North: Liberal by 833
  • Coquitlam-Maillardville: Liberal by 105
  • Delta North: Liberal by 302
  • Port Moody-Coquitlam: Liberal by 543
  • Fraser-Nicola (Hope District added in 2017): Liberal by 754

Several riding boundaries were redrawn and two new ridings were introduced: Richmond Queensborough and Surrey South. Richmond is historically a BC Liberal stronghold. Perhaps Surrey South is an area of focus for the BC NDP.

Does the BC NDP have an efficient enough vote distribution to garner enough seats to form the next provincial government? We’re not so sure.


In this most recent polling, we find the BC NDP favoured about equally by men and women (34% and 35%). Similarly, BC NDP support is relatively consistent across age (ranging from 32% to 37%).

BC Liberal support, on the other hand, is somewhat higher among men than women (41% versus 36%). Support for the governing party also increases with age, from 23% among the younger voters to 46% among those 55 and older.

BC Green support is marginally higher among women than men (25% versus 21%). Support for the BC Greens declines with age, from 32% among those under 35 to 19% among those aged 55 and older.


A closer look at where support stands in each region of the province:

City of Vancouver: BC NDP continue to hold a 10 point lead (at 44%), followed by BC Liberals (34%) and BC Greens (20%)

Metro Vancouver (excluding City of Vancouver): The BC Liberals have sustained their lead in Metro Vancouver (42%). The BC NDP are supported by 33% followed by the BC Greens (21%)

Victoria area: The BC Greens (at 40%) are now directionally ahead of the BC NDP (at 36%) in the Capital region. The BC Liberals are well back (23%).

Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands: The BC NDP continue to enjoy a solid lead (40%), followed now the BC Liberals (at 30%). The BC Greens’ support stands at 25%.

Northern BC: Overall, the BC Liberals are strong performers in the North (47%). Despite this strong showing for the BC Liberals, the BC NDP (at 30%) are factor in this the coastal areas. BC Greens are the choice of 23% of Norther voters.

Southern Interior / Coast: While our online-only polling notes a dead heat between the the BC Liberals and the BC NDP, mixed mode polling finds the BC Liberals leading (with 42%). BC NDP garner 30% support followed by the BC Greens at 23%.


Polling by our entire industry points to some meaningful success in popular vote for the BC NDP. But the party is not polling at the high levels noted in 2013, prior to the BC Liberals’ commanding (and surprising) election victory. The BC Liberal campaign machine is a force of nature not to be underestimated.

Neither can we underestimate the demographic distribution of the BC Liberal vote, which leans toward older voters who are more likely to cast their ballots. The regional distribution of that same BC Liberal support served the party well in 2013 and supporters may again return the party to government.

Wouldn’t life in British Columbia be interesting if the BC Liberals and BC NDP tied (with 42 seats each) and the BC Greens, with a say three ridings, held the balance of power?

Polling can’t predict an election outcome. Sometimes it can’t even predict the popular vote. In fairness, we get it right far more often than we don’t—about 19 in 20 times. Polling is evolving and pollsters are growing into a new role that, as before, focuses on the popular outcome of an election or referendum. But we’re beginning to go further now, exploring underlying concerns, history, the riding characteristics, current events, and each other. Especially each other.

This polling partnership with zinc tank this election has been as much about serving B.C. residents and voters as the polling industry. We made no media deals. Rather we ran our polls as often as we could and released our numbers as quickly as we could get them out on our websites and social media.

Already, the combined work of our industry this election has sparked lively conversations, wagers involving malt beverages, debates about methodology and ideas sharing. Pollsters can only improve in an environment of open communication and thinking out loud. Together.

View the data table here.

Research Notes

These are the findings of a mixed-mode survey of 2,116 adult residents of British Columbia including a subsample of 1,483 decided voters. The survey was conducted in partnership by Justason Market Intelligence and zinc tank. The two firms have teamed up to offer regular insights on the 2017 British Columbia provincial election. 
This research used a mixed mode methodology of automatic telephone interviews and online surveys. The telephone research relied on random digit dialled (RDD) automatic telephone interviews. The sample frame included listed and unlisted landlines and mobile phone numbers.  The online sample source, Google communities, uses Bayesian, river-sampling methodology. The final combined weighted sample reflects the actual population demographics and character. These data rely in part on a non-probability weighted sample; hence, no margin of error is reported. B.C. has higher-than-average penetration of mobile internet access. Broadband internet access exceeds landline usage. The Google Surveys has been used extensively by zinc tank’s Brian F. Singh in his work in the 2014 Winnipeg Municipal Election and during the Alberta and Federal Elections of 2015.
  • Dates of research: May 1-2, 2017
  • Total Sample: 2,116 B.C. residents 18 years and older
  • Decided voters: 1,483 eligible B.C. voters
  • Methodology: Mixed mode: Automatic landline and cellphone and online via Google Surveys
  • Weighting: Final data were weighted to match actual regional, gender, and age distributions according to the 2016 Canadian Census.
  • Margin of error: This research does not report margin of error. A pure unweighted probability sample of 2,116 reports margin of error at ±2.1 percentage points most (95 per cent) of the time. A pure unweighted probability sample of 1,483 reports margin of error of ±2.5 percentage points.
  • Research Sponsors: zinc tank and Justason Market Intelligence Inc.
For more information contact:
Barb Justason, Justason Market Intelligence Inc.
+1 604 783 4165 / Barb@JustasonMI.com / 
Brian Singh, zinc tank
+1 403 861 9462 / brian@zinc-tank.com / zinc-tank.com
– 30 – 



5th Floor 1080 Howe St. #503
Vancouver B.C. V6Z 2T1

Phone: +1 604 783 4165