Housing top priority for British Columbians ahead of potential snap election: poll

Economy and health care remain pressing issues for B.C., says new poll

B.C.’s thorny housing crisis looks poised to play a big part in any potential federal election campaign waged on the West Coast.

A Tuesday poll from Research Co. reveals 26% of B.C. respondents find housing, homelessness and poverty to be the No. 1 issue facing the country.

With COVID-19 still casting a pall over the country, the two next biggest slices of B.C. respondents find the economy (20%) and health care (19%) also among the most-pressing issues.

The Research Co. poll comes amid heavy speculation the governing Liberal party is poised to call a snap election in a bid to regain its majority status.

Such a call might work to the advantage of the federal Liberals, depending on how election races shake out in key ridings.

More than half of British Columbians (51%) either strongly or moderately approve of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s performance in office.

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, whose party holds the third-most seats in the House of Commons, comes second with 43% of British Columbians either strongly or moderately approving of his performance.

While 17% are not sure of Singh’s performance, 7% feel the same way about the prime minister.

With much more ground to make up is Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, who took the reins of the official opposition almost exactly one year ago.

At this point, nearly the same portion of British Columbians strongly or moderately approve of his performance (29%) as those who are not sure of his performance (24%).

Green Party leader Annamie Paul, whose grip on her own party has been in question for much of the year, finds herself with 24% of British Columbians either strongly or moderately approving of her performance. Another 37% of respondents aren’t sure.

As for the leaders’ perceived strengths, 32% believe Trudeau is most adept at navigating foreign affairs, 29% believe Singh is the one best suited to tackle housing and 21% find O’Toole to be the ideal fit for managing energy and pipelines.

Overall, if an election were held tomorrow, 30% of all respondents said they would vote for the Liberals within their own constituency — the highest proportion among any of the parties. The Liberals’ support is strongest in Metro Vancouver (32%) and weakest in Southern B.C. (24%).

Coming up second is the federal NDP, with 23% of British Columbians giving them the nod. Their support is highest in the Fraser Valley and Northern B.C. (both at 26%) and weakest in Southern B.C. (18%).

The Conservatives round out the top three, with 18% of respondents in the province throwing their support behind the official opposition. The Conservatives are most popular in Northern B.C. (28%) and least popular on Vancouver Island (16%).

The poll was conducted August 7-9 among 800 adult British Columbians. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

torton@biv.com

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