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Big shocks don’t move voters, poll suggests

A poll out today from Ipsos Reid suggests that all the political activity of the last few months has done little to sway B.C. voters.

Despite the worsening economy, a deficit budget, some much-ballyhooed stimulus spending and an eruption of B.C. Rail-related scandal, the Ipsos numbers haven’t budged since the company’s last poll in November.

The new poll shows the Liberals with the support of 46 per cent of decided voters, up two points from November. The New Democrats are at 35 per cent, unchanged from the last poll. And the Green party is at 15 per cent, down one point.

All the movement in the poll is well within the margin of error – plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Compare those numbers to the most recent Mustel Group poll, taken from February 2 to 10.

Mustel had the Liberals at 52 per cent, up five points from a poll taken in mid-January. The NDP was at 36 per cent, up three points from January. The Greens were at 12 per cent, down four points.

The margin of error on the Mustel poll was plus or minus 3.6 points, 19 times out of 20.

This highlights something striking about recent Ipsos polls: they have been remarkably consistent.

Over the last year, other B.C. pollsters have shown some wild swings in voter support that have been attributed to factors such as the sinking economy and last year’s carbon tax.

Last December, for example, the Mustel Group released a poll that had the Liberals and NDP neck and neck: Liberals 44 per cent, NDP 42 per cent.

A week before that, Ipsos had the Liberals well out in front at 44 per cent, compared to the NDP’s 35 – two points off today’s results.

And a few days before that, Angus Reid Strategies had the NDP leading with 44 per cent to the Liberals’ 39.

No one knows for sure what’s behind this pattern. It could be timing or it could be a difference in the pollsters’ methodology.

With a new Angus Reid Strategies poll due out tomorrow and a Mustel Group poll expected soon, the picture may become more clear. Or more cloudy.

Tom Barrett is a contributing editor at The Tyee.

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