Election blog by Ben O’Hara-Byrne
Change is inevitable: Benjamin Disraeli
The late British PM, statesman and author, Disraeli clearly didn’t have BC politics in the 21st century in mind when he uttered those words in 1867.
Still, as the BC Liberals kick off this election campaign looking to win a fifth straight majority, a series of polls appears to show an electorate ready for something different.
An Insights West poll released on Monday found that 64% of respondents believe it is time for a change of government.
Tuesday, an Ipsos survey revealed that 56% believe that it’s time for another provincial party to take over.
Even more ominous for the Liberals, the poll found that only 28% believe that the Clark government has done a good job and deserves re-election.
Its hard to forget that the Liberals defied the polls to win the last election, still the numbers should put wind in the sails (or fuel in the campaign buses) of their rivals.
There’s a catch.
Those very same polls also reveal contradictions that suggest (and as Ipsos points out) that wanting change and voting for change are two quite different things.
For example, Christy Clark is still considered the best person for the Premier’s job.
The incumbent gets 30% support, ahead of NDP leader John Horgan at 28% and Andrew Weaver of the Green Party at 11%.
31% remain undecided.
Clark is also ahead when it comes to managing the economy, creating jobs and keeping down taxes and government spending.
Its no surprise those are topics the Liberal leader has mentioned repeatedly in the first days of the campaign.
The crux of the matter is that BC voters appear eager to embrace something different in this election but still aren’t swayed by the new faces on offer.
It means John Horgan and the NDP have a golden opportunity to break a long losing streak but it will take a dynamic campaign and a good showing in the debates.
It could also see the BC Green Party make a genuine leap to legitimate electoral force, particularly on Vancouver Island.
If the first days of the campaign are any indication, the Liberals plan to run on their record, one that has seen BC’s economy lead the way nationally.
Clark will also continuously claim the NDP just can’t be trusted with the province’s pocketbook.
It may not dazzle but it could prove a winning strategy.
Benjamin Disraeli also once wrote “success is the child of audacity”.
Change may not be inevitable in BC politics but voters may well be ready to embrace something new and bold, if it is on offer.