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New poll suggests 9-point lead for Liberals

A new B.C. election poll from the Mustel Group gives the Liberals a nine-percentage-point lead over the New Democratic Party.

The poll, which is based on a considerably larger sample than a mid-April Mustel poll that gave the Liberals a 17-point lead, suggests the Liberals have the support of 47 per cent of decided voters.

Another 38 per cent of decided respondents said they intend to vote for the NDP in Tuesday’s election.

The Green party was supported by 12 per cent of respondents and the B.C. Conservative party by three per cent.

Other polls during this campaign have indicated the two main parties have been as close as three points.

Today’s Mustel poll of 852 eligible B.C. voters was conducted between April 29 and May 6th, a period that includes Sunday’s leaders debate.

The poll also found a lack of support for the BC-STV electoral system. Some 43 per cent said they will vote for the existing First Past the Post system; 33 per cent said they intend to vote for BC-STV. Another 24 per cent were undecided.

Mustel also found British Columbians split on the carbon tax: 44 per cent said they support it and 41 per cent said they oppose it. A further 15 per cent were undecided.

When asked how firm their support was for their preferred party, 84 per cent of Liberal supporters and 81 per cent of NDP supporters said their support was very or somewhat firm.

Green supporters were less certain – only 70 per cent said they were very or somewhat firm. This fits a historical pattern of Green party supporters “parking” their votes with the Greens while they make up their minds.

The Green supporters were “more or less equally divided between the two leading parties” when asked about their second choices, while Liberal supporters were equally likely to name either the NDP or Greens as their second choice.

NDP supporters were more likely to name the Greens as their second choice.

More than two-thirds – 36 per cent – of Liberal supporters said they had no second choice, compared to 19 per cent for NDP supporters and 27 per cent for Green supporters.

Some 84 per cent of eligible voters said they intend to vote. Actual turnout, however, tends to be considerably lower than that – in the last provincial election, only 58 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots. This gap between voters’ intents and their actions makes getting out the vote crucial in most elections.

A poll of this type and size has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The mid-April Mustel poll had a sample size of 483 eligible voters, which is associated with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. These figures are for all respondents – results for smaller groups, such as decided voters, will carry higher margins of error.

Tom Barrett reports for The Tyee.

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