With no major flubs or knock-out punches during the only televised leaders’ debate of the election campaign, B.C. residents say the NDP’s John Horgan won the night — but only by a slim margin.
A Mainstreet/Postmedia poll conducted immediately after the debate asked 1,074 residents who performed the best, regardless of which party the respondents support: 33 per cent said Horgan, 29 per cent Green leader Andrew Weaver and 28 per cent Liberal leader Christy Clark. Only 10 per cent were undecided. The poll’s margin of error is three per cent.
“We see here it is a very tight (three-way) race,” said David Valentin, vice-president of Mainstreet Research. “We are not seeing the result of any knockout punch in that debate.”
Horgan’s lead increased in Metro Vancouver with 36 per cent, compared to roughly 28 per cent for both Weaver and Clark. Those results were largely the same on Vancouver Island. Clark had a better showing in the areas of B.C. outside Metro and the Island, but was polling only slightly ahead of her two rivals.
However, respondents only gave a decent favourability rating to Weaver — 50 per cent liked him. That compared to just over one-third of people liking Clark and Horgan.
Valentin said those numbers indicate Clark made some friends in this debate, as her favourability ratings were lower before. Horgan however, lost ground, possibility because of the repeated suggestions that he can be “mercurial.”
“(Perhaps) what triggered people were all the different references that painted Mr. Horgan as an angry man, whether it was fair or not,” Valentin said.
It was a very confrontational debate, but that sparring did not seem to stick to Weaver. Clark continually referred to the university professor as Dr. Weaver — possibly to portray him as aloof and out of touch, Valentin said. “I think it might have had the opposite effect and reminded people he was not a career politician,” he added.
When asked who will win the election, respondents’ opinions differed largely from who they thought won the debate: Liberals (40 per cent), followed by NDP (35 per cent) and Green (six per cent).
When asked who they will vote for, results were tied for the Liberals and NDP (33 per cent), and were lower for the Greens (20 per cent).
Valentin cautioned this poll did not survey the general population, but only those who watched the debate.