Ipsos released their survey on public opinion about the BC Budget today. I tend to not like polls on complex subjects like budgets because so few people pay enough attention to have an informed opinion. It means that in these sort of polls the uninformed overwhelm the informed in the poll and the results are not a good reflection of what the public is thinking.
Someone that is well informed will tend to have a lot more interest in the issue and it will matter to them a lot more. Someone that is uniformed may not really care about it one way or the other. Polling really works best for limited discrete choices such as which party would you vote for.
Ipsos used an online panel or 1200 people that said they heard something about the budget. There are a few questions that do interest me.
Do people approve or disapprove of the budget is a good measure of if people are possibly supportive of the government or not. Only 5% strongly approve though 36% somewhat approve for a total of 41% approving. This to me is the absolute upper limit the government could draw from for support. The 5% strongly approve is worrisome for the Liberals because all the online panels have a lot more active politicos answering the survey than any normal public opinion poll and the Liberals did miserably low.
The next question that is interesting is if people believe the budget is balanced or not. Supporters of the "Free Enterprise Coalition" should have answered Yes to this but only 12% said they thought it was balanced and 72% did not. This means most current BC Liberal supporters do not think the budget is balanced. This result means a lot of people considering the Liberals are really holding their nose, that is not good. You need a strong base and then pull in a few more points with the hold your nose crowd. The BC Liberals could very likely see their vote fall in coming polls.
The next question is one of the dumbest ones in surveying "Overall, what impact does this provincial budget have on your likelihood of voting for Christy Clark and the BC Liberals in the provincial election to be held in May this year?"
It is a dumb question because someone who hates the Liberals is likely to say they are less likely to vote for the BC Liberals now even though there was zero chance of voting for the BC Liberals before the budget. The only number that might tell us something is the More Likely to Vote for the BC Liberals one and that was 13%. Once again, this is a pathetically low number for the government and should scare them.
The final question was if people thought Adrian Dix would have been better with the finances. I think the results give us a bit of insight into how people align themselves politically 40% thought the finances would have been worse with Dix and only 24% thought they would be better. This is a partisan split that is not really beneficial for him.
What this survey says to me is that the 30% that I thought was the probable floor of Liberal support is clearly no longer the floor. I think the BC Liberals could potentially fall to 20%. I also think that the NDP is not the place a lot of people want to go, I think a lot of people out there want another choice.