A new poll of voters in B.C. puts the federal New Democrats six points head of the Conservatives as the fall federal election campaign approaches, and 10 points up on the third-place Liberals in this province.
The new Insights West online poll pegs NDP support at 35 per cent of decided voters in B.C., followed by 29 per cent for the Conservatives, 25 per cent for the Liberals and 10 per cent for the Greens Party.
That's a major drop in Tory support since the 2011 federal election, when the governing party took 21 out of 36 B.C. seats with 45.5 per cent of the vote. (The NDP got 12 seats with 32.5 per cent, the Liberals got two seats with 13.4 per cent and the Greens got 7.5 per cent, electing leader Elizabeth May.)
Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco said federal Liberals have rebounded in B.C. under leader Justin Trudeau, but added it may not be enough for them to be competitive in more than a couple of ridings.
"The seat calculation makes this a lot tougher for the Liberals," he said. "You may be a closer third-place finisher than in the last election, but you're still a third-place finisher."
The poll found NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has the strongest approval score, ahead of Trudeau and May.
But more B.C. voters name Stephen Harper as the best choice for prime minister compared to other leaders, except on Vancouver Island, where Mulcair leads.
"The voting numbers point to an erosion of Conservative support among key demographics, particularly voters over the age of 55," Canseco said.
The race is tight in Metro Vancouver, where the poll found the Conservatives and NDP are tied with 32 per cent support of decided voters, followed by 27 per cent for the Liberals and seven per cent for the Greens.
On Vancouver Island, however, the NDP have a huge lead with 47 per cent support, followed by the Greens at 20 per cent, the Liberals at 19 per cent and the Conservatives at 14.
Elsewhere in B.C., the NDP leads with 36 per cent to 32 per cent for the Conservatives and 22 per cent leaning Liberal.
Poll respondents in Metro Vancouver said the most important issue was the economy and jobs, while slightly more on Vancouver Island and the rest of B.C. instead listed government accountability.
Harper and the Conservatives scored best on their handling of the economy, foreign affairs and crime, Canseco said, but poorly on poverty and homelessness, government accountability, the environment and the handling of energy and pipelines.
The poll surveyed 814 B.C. residents from May 7-9, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent.