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Poll finds Clark popular Liberal leader choice

Former cabinet minister and on-leave radio talk show host Christy Clark remains the candidate for the B.C. Liberal leadership most popular with the public, according to an Ipsos Reid poll released today.

Forty percent of respondents had a positive view of Clark, while 29 percent had a negative view, giving her a net impression score of plus 11. George Abbott, who served in various cabinet roles including health minister, also had a positive net impression, scoring plus five.

Kevin Falcon, who resigned as health minister to seek the leadership, received the most negative rating from the public at minus 22. Former Attorney General Mike de Jong was at negative 15, Moira Stilwell at negative nine and Ed Mayne at negative six.

Cabinet minister Stilwell and Parksville mayor Mayne are the least known of the candidates, with 37 percent saying they'd never heard of Stilwell and 59 percent saying they'd never heard of Mayne.

The online poll sampled 750 adult British Columbians between Jan. 20 and 24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent, 19 times out of 20.

While public opinion of the contenders may be a factor, ultimately it is Liberal Party members who on Feb. 26 will decide who becomes leader and replaces Premier Gordon Campbell.

Falcon this week received endorsements from Prince George cabinet colleagues Shirley Bond and Pat Bell, giving him more support from senior members of the Liberal caucus than any of his competitors.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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