KAMLOOPS — I can’t believe anyone would be surprised by the results of a new poll released yesterday by Global News Ipsos that shows the B.C. Liberals and the NDP virtually tied a week before the provincial election. The polls show that the Liberals have surged recently, and the results are somewhat different than earlier polls which showed the NDP ahead by some 10 percentage points earlier in the campaign.
Christy Clark is a tough campaigner, and she has hit the right buttons over the last couple of weeks. She has the reputation of being good in the trenches, and has travelled to areas of the province where she has a great chance of strengthening her party’s hold on seats. John Horgan has focused a lot on the Lower Mainland and that’s probably where he should be focused, because those are areas where his party stands to win or lose the election. At least that’s my view of the situation.
Locally, the Liberals are strong, and while the Greens have run an outstanding campaign, they are challenged to make enough inroads to win either of the seats in Kamloops. I base this observation not on any poll results, but my own opinion. It’s also my observation that Todd Stone and Dan Hines have been the best two campaigners in the campaign. Stone has great presence and there is a reason why he is being groomed for bigger things down the road in his party. Hines, a newcomer to politics, has been terrific. He is someone you instantly trust, he makes sense, speaks well, and if he were running for another party, would be giving Peter Milobar a huge run for his money. Milobar has been lower key than I would have thought in the campaign, and while I fully expect he will win, it’s not because he has run a great campaign.
Lots can change in the course of a week, and gaffes by any of the candidates can change things around in a hurry. And there is lots of time for those over the next seven days.
The battles are still being played out in many ridings much closer than the ones in Kamloops, but the Liberal tide is rising according to yesterday’s provincial poll. However, polls have been wrong many times before, and so have I. Lots can happen between now and when we start putting out the results after 8:00 PM next Tuesday night.
One interesting thing of note to me in the poll yesterday was the fact that health care and housing affordability were by far the two most important items for voters, and that the issue of campaign contributions, which the NDP and Greens have spent much time campaigning on, showed up way down the list. Even jobs and the economy were only half as big on the percentage scale. That tells me that people are generally happy with the way the B.C. economy is performing, but that if someone were wanting to gain some votes, they should be focusing on the doctor shortage, medical wait lists, and the cost of getting a home — especially for first-time buyers in the Lower Mainland — and worrying less about who is contributing to party finances and the value of pipelines or even education.