New Democrat Leader Carole James is failing to connect with British Columbians on crime and the economy, the biggest issues heading into May’s provincial election, pollster Angus Reid said yesterday.
A poll found that while 51 per cent of B.C. residents disapproved of Premier Gordon Campbell, he still enjoyed an 11-point lead over James on the question of who would be a better leader.
“She has to figure out a way to strengthen her bona fides on the economy and crime,” Reid said yesterday.
Those are the two issues that the province cares the most about.”
Overall, the B.C. Liberals, the poll found, hold a six-point lead over the NDP in decided voters.
However that lead narrows significantly to about two points, Reid noted, because B.C. Liberal voters are less motivated to turn out on election day.
According to the poll, 43 per cent of people felt Campbell was the best leader on the economy, while 19 per cent felt James would be best.
As well, 31 per cent felt Campbell would be tougher on crime, 10 points ahead of James.
British Columbians felt the New?Democrat Leader would be the best leader on health care, the third most important issue according to the poll.
Reid said the poll, which was conducted online, is the first of three that will be conducted ahead of the provincial election.
Tories might be wild card
Veteran pollster Angus Reid said the B.C. Conservative Party could be the wild card that spoils Gordon Campbell’s election party.
“Not many people talk about this party but we see them at about four per cent,” said Reid yesterday. “It’s possible that they could be the kind of Ross Perot-, Ralph Nader-spoiler in the whole thing.”
The Conservatives are talking about fielding 20 to 25 candidates, Reid said. It would give Liberals — who won’t vote NDP — an alternative electoral outlet.
“The worst of all scenarios for the current government would be the siphoning off of two to three per cent of their vote.”