Premier John Horgan’s approval rating hits all-time high amid COVID-19

Premier John Horgan's approval rating hits all-time high amid COVID-19
Province of BC
British Columbia's Premier, John Horgan, has seen his approval rating reach an all-time high amid COVID-19, according to a recent survey from Insights West.

British Columbia’s Premier, John Horgan, has seen his approval rating hit an all-time high amid COVID-19, according to a recent survey from Insights West.

As part of the latest “Government of British Columbia Report Card,” results show that the premier and his party have seen a spike in approval based on their response to the ongoing global pandemic in recent months.

Insights West said that the BC NDP has improved “already strong approval ratings” and that voting intentions have climbed to their highest level since the research company began tracking eight years ago.

Approval ratings have risen for several leaders across the country due to certain pandemic responses, but none have seen chart jumps like Horgan and his NDP.

“Pre-pandemic, Premier Horgan’s approval rating was already strong, but the response to COVID-19 has skyrocketed his ratings by 17 points in just seven months to 68 per cent, a level higher than any political leader in BC since tracking began 8 years ago,” Insights West said in a statement.

Government leader approval ratings in BC – June 2020

Conversely, there is an opposite trend in approval levels for opposition leaders. BC Liberal’s Andrew Wilkinson rating dropped five points since November to 30 per cent and Interim Green leader Olsen has made his debut at a 29% approval rating, which is the lowest of any Green leader since the 2017 election.

“One of the side effects of the pandemic is that British Columbians, and in the same vein, most Canadians, are rallying behind their leaders over the past several months,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “Approval ratings for government actions have been among the highest among hundreds of public initiatives we have covered in our polling over the years. This appreciation of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has translated into high approval ratings for incumbent leaders and has had a measurable effect among positive voter intentions at the expense of opposition parties in British Columbia.”

Just by looking at the recent approval ratings, Insights West believes we could be headed towards a “landslide victory for Horgan when we go to the polls in October of 2021.”

Since the last BC report card published by Insights West last November, COVID-19 burst onto the scene. Not surprisingly, the global pandemic jumps to the top of the list of most important issues facing British Columbia – leap frogging housing, climate change and the economy. The issues directly connected to COVID-19 have all seen improvement as a result including healthcare (62 per cent approval), education (53 per cent approval) and transportation (50 per cent approval).

Approval rating of current government on key issues – June 2020

In the above graph, the data from Insights West shows significant leaps in the approval of healthcare, education, economy, and transportation when compared to the last few surveys.

The results also show that 85 per cent of British Columbians have approved of how the NDP has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Insights West noted that no sitting premier has ever received a rating higher than 50, except for Horgan, who has seen approval ratings reach the low 50 per cent range prior to this recent explosion.

One other notable piece of data to come from the recent Insights West survey is that the BC NDP now receives the same support (47 per cent) across all age groups – previously the party traditionally received less support among the 55+ age group.

Inversely, Green party support has dropped dramatically among the 18-34-year-old segment, cutting in half from 22 per cent this time last year to 11 per cent currently.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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