The final verdict. You decide.
Vancouver B.C. (7 May 2017) – This race appears to be too close to call. In the final BC election poll, conducted and shared for public education, the Justason / zinc tank experiment finds the B.C. Liberals either two points ahead or two points behind the BC NDP. The exception would be our telephone surveying, completed May 1 and 2, which finds the BC Liberals leading.
Relying on our mixed mode methodology, which combines online and automatic telephone interviewing, BC Liberal support among decided voters stands at 38% in a statistical dead heat with the BC NDP at 36%. BC Green support continues to stand at 23%.
In our mixed mode design, we find the BC Liberals only incrementally down since May 1 and 2 and the BC NDP up marginally. Together though, these shifts have narrowed the gap in support for the two leading parties from five points to just two points. A few days ago, the BC Liberal advantage was meaningful and well outside the significance margin. Today, a day before the election, the race is again too close to call.
In our pure online polling, the two leading parties switch positions, with the BC NDP taking the lead with 38%, followed by the BC Liberals at 36%. Both designs find the BC Greens at 23%.
In our pure online design, we find the BC Liberals up incrementally to 36% (from 34%) and the BC NDP steady at 38%. The gap (not outside error rate in early May), has narrowed, with just two points now separating the leaders.
On yet another hand, pure telephone surveying gives the BC Liberals a substantial popular edge over the BC NDP.
WHO WILL WIN THE POPULAR VOTE?
As we expected, the race for the popular vote has tightened, but with no cost to the BC Greens as of yet. BC Green support has not yet diminished and appears solid at 23% in both our online and phone research. We continue to anticipate the Green vote diminishing by election day as voters consider how their Green support may affect the election outcome.
The BC Liberals could easily be favoured based on the strength of their support among the most likely voting cohort: older residents. On the other hand, participation in advance polls is up, with fully 20% of eligible voters in BC already having cast their ballots, which may indicate an electorate ready for change.
WHO WILL FORM GOVERNMENT?
It bears repeating: The party winning 44 of 87 ridings forms the next government.
Our results suggest that the popular vote may be too close to call. Even if we could offer a clear winner, polling doesn’t tell us which party will form the next government. The BC Liberals do enter this election race with a favourable 2013 vote distribution. Read our analysis here.
The BC NDP are not polling at the high levels noted in 2013, prior to the BC Liberals’ election victory. However, while the tide has not turned strongly toward the BC NDP, there is no longer a yawning gap in support between the two leading parties. The BC NDP may have activated frustrated voters, which could favour them in the ridings they narrowly won or lost in 2013.
SOME THOUGHTS FOR TUESDAY
With thanks to Brian F. Singh for his thoughtful perspective:
Have the NDP done enough to secure a majority? With a few strong regions, it remains unclear from a seat count perspective. They are more competitive in the Lower Mainland than anticipated.
Have the Liberals done enough to secure a majority? As per 2013, there were about 30 ridings that they won by large margins. As a starting point, considering this, and what the regional breakdowns point to, there is an easier path to 44 seats for the Liberals than the NDP. Other than South/Rest of BC and Northern BC, the NDP appears to have targeted riding-rich Lower Mainland and both measures indicate a competitive region.
Will the Greens be NDP spoilers? This appears to be a risk in close ridings. There are approximately 10 ridings that potentially fit in this category.
What about the large advance polls? Traditionally, high advance turnouts are bad news for incumbents. Is it the same folks voting early or do we have a flood of new voters? Participation has increased for each election. At this point, based on where the biggest turnouts have been to date, we would give an advance poll lean to the NDP.
And voter turnout? Even with the advanced polls, it is difficult to anticipate a turnout higher than 60%. The closer that turnout is to this number (and higher), the more the outcome favours the NDP. Anything below 55% will likely favour the Liberals.
Are the Liberals vulnerable on corruption? In the battle between corruption and economy, it appears that the economy is winning. And that favours the Liberals. However, a concerted campaign to highlight corruption among the Liberals may yet sway some voters.
Housing crisis? Housing affordability is one of the biggest top-of-mind issues for voters, particularly in Metro Vancouver. As it stands, has the NDP – who are most trusted to deal with housing affordability – done enough to make it a ballot box question?
Key voter demographics? The 55 years+ cohort strongly favours the Liberals. However, the 35 to 54 age cohort may favour the NDP (only our telephone research finds the BC Liberals leading here.. The under 35s – the group most challenged to show up also favour the NDP. As commitment to vote increases with age, this likely tips the scales in favour of the Liberals.
Research NotesThese are the findings of a mixed-mode survey of 1447 decided voters in British Columbia. The survey, shared for public education, 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 conducted 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 platform 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: Online, May 4-7, 2017; automatic phone, May 1-2, 2017.
- Decided voters: 1,447 eligible B.C. voters
- Methodology: Mixed mode: Automatic landline and cellphone and online via Google Surveys
- Weighting: Final population 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.
- Research Sponsors: zinc tank and Justason Market Intelligence Inc.
+1 604 783 4165 / Barb@JustasonMI.com / JMI.co Brian Singh, zinc tank +1 403 861 9462 / firstname.lastname@example.org / zinc-tank.com – 30 –