Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid

April 29, 2005 09:28 ET

BC ELECTION 05 – PART: I SHAPE OF PROVINCE AND ELECTION ISSUES

Looking Back: British Columbians Increasingly Positive About Liberal Record; Looking Ahead: Health Care Most Important Concern of British Columbians Attention: News Editor VANCOUVER, B.C.--(CCNMatthews - April 29, 2005) - As the British Columbia election campaign moves into its second week, a new Ipsos-Reid survey conducted on behalf of BCTV News, The Vancouver Sun and The Victoria Times Colonist shows that BC residents are becoming increasingly positive about the BC Liberal record over the last four years. Half (47%) the public thinks BC is now in better shape than when the Liberals were first elected, compared to one-third (32%) who think the province is in worse shape. The "better shape" number is up 8-points from last December (39%) and 17-points from last July (30%).

Turning their attention to this campaign and the future, health care is the clear number one issue on the minds of voters. Six-in-ten (61%) residents say that health care is one of the issues they would most like to see debated during this election campaign. Only half as many voters (31%) say education is one of their main issues, while half-again (14%) say the economy.

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid telephone poll conducted April 23rd to 26th, 2005 with a randomly selected sample of 1,050 adult British Columbia residents, including 400 residents of Vancouver Island. The overall results are considered accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire BC adult population been polled. The Vancouver Island results are considered accurate to within ±4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error will be larger for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual BC population according to the 2001 Census.

Looking Back: British Columbians Increasingly Positive About Liberal Record

Nearly half (47%) of BC residents think that British Columbia is now in better overall shape than when the BC Liberals were first elected. About one-third (32%) think BC is in worse shape, while 20% think BC is in about the same shape as when the Liberals were first elected.

Currently, better shape perceptions (47%) lead worse shape perceptions (32%) by 15 points. This statistic has improved throughout the Liberal's mandate.

·December 2004 (+8 points, 39% better vs. 31% worse)
·July 2004 (-12 points, 30% better vs. 42% worse)
·May 2003 (-21 points, 24% better vs. 45% worse)
·May 2002 (-33 points, 20% better vs. 53% worse)

Perceptions that BC is in better overall shape today vary greatly across regions and other demographic groups.

·Lower Mainland residents are more likely than residents in the rest of the province to think BC is in better shape (51% vs. 41%).
·Men are much more likely than women to think BC is in better shape (61% vs. 33%).
·A belief that BC is in better shape also increases with age (37% 18-34 years vs. 46% 35-54 years vs. 57% 55+ years) and household incomes (33% <$40K vs. 44% $40-$75K vs. 60% $75K+).
·Not surprisingly, BC Liberal voters are much more likely than other voters to think BC is in better shape (88% vs. 14% NDP, 24% Green).

Looking Ahead: Health Care Most Important Concern of British Columbians

Health care is the clear number one issue for BC voters. Six-in-ten (61%) residents cite health care as the first or second most important issue they would like to hear debated during this election campaign. Education is a distant second at 31%, but still well ahead of the third place issue, the economy, at 14%. Other issues also garnering some interest include taxes (7%), the environment (7%) and the deficit/budget (5%).

·Health care is the number one issue for all voter segments, but is more likely to be mentioned by women (70% vs. 51% men), older voters (69% 55+ years vs. 51% 18-34 years) and NDP voters (72% vs. 53% Liberals).
·Education is more likely to be mentioned by women (38% vs. 23% men), younger voters (39% 18-34 years vs. 23% 55+ years) and NDP voters (37% vs. 26% Liberals).
·The economy is more likely to be mentioned by men (20% vs. 8% women), older voters (18% 55+ years vs. 10% 18-34 years), higher income residents (24% $75K+ vs. 8% <$40K) and BC Liberal voters (29% vs. 2% NDP).

A look back at the top four issues in Ipsos-Reid's first poll in the 2001 election campaign shows that education has increased in priority since that time, while taxes has decreased in priority.

·Health care (58% in 2001, 3 points lower than today)
·Education (21% in 2001, 10 points lower than today)
·Taxes (19% in 2001, 12 points higher than today)
·Economy (17% in 2001, 3 points higher than today)

The Vancouver Island Perspective

As part of this Ipsos-Reid poll, The Victoria Times Colonist commissioned an additional "oversample" of Island residents to bring the total Vancouver Island sample size to 400, including 200 residents in the Capital Region District (CRD) and 200 residents in the rest of the Island.

Shape of Province: Vancouver Island residents are divided on how the province is faring after four years of BC Liberal government, although the overall perception is more positive than negative. Slightly more than four-in-ten (43%) Island residents think BC is in better shape overall, compared to slightly less than four-in-ten (37%) who think BC is in worse shape overall. Two-in-ten (19%) residents think the province is in about the same shape as when the BC Liberals were first elected.

·There is no material difference between CRD residents (43% better vs. 38% worse) and Rest of Island residents (44% better vs. 35% worse).

Top Issues: As in all other regions of the province, the top three issues for Vancouver Island residents are health care (62%), education (30%) and the economy (13%).

·The top three issues for CRD residents are health care (59%), education (31%) and the economy (12%).
·The top three issues for Rest of Island residents are health care (64%), education (29%) and the economy (15%).

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For more information on this news release, please contact:

Kyle Braid
Vice-President
Ipsos-Reid Corporation
604-257-3200
kyle.braid@ipsos-reid.com

For full tabular results, please visit our website at www.ipsos.ca.
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