A couple of numbers in a pair of recent opinion polls should be giving Christy Clark’s Liberals some pre-election nightmares right about now.
No, it’s not the number 16 (percentage points separating the trailing Libs from the leading NDP) or even 31 per cent (Clark’s lowly job-approval rating as premier.)
The scariest stat for the Liberals may be the number of B.C. voters who agree with the statement: "It’s time for a change of government in British Columbia"— 59 per cent.
In contrast, just 24 per cent of voters told pollster Angus Reid that it’s not time for a change and Clark should be re-elected.
This is disturbing news for the Liberals, coming as it does after the government tabled a balanced budget and promised a multibillion-dollar prosperity fund in the recent throne speech. With so many voters still determined to throw them out of office any way, it appears there’s little the Liberals can promise at this point to save their skins.
Not that they could promise much any way. The government had already decided against trying to spend its way to re-election.
To achieve the balanced budget, the government raised taxes, sold public assets and choked off spending across most ministries. There’s no money left to buy voters’ support with campaign promises of new program spending or tax cuts.
It seems many voters have simply decided it’s time for a change, and that can be an extremely powerful force in any election.
It’s why Adrian Dix has promised to repeat the NDP’s campaign slogan at every opportunity: Change for the Better.
The Liberals will counter by trying to increase public fear about how an NDP government would drive the province into the red with
But that’s where the other scary polling number comes in for the Liberals, this one courtesy of Ipsos Reid.
The pollster asked voters their opinion of the Liberals’ balanced budget and only 12 per cent said they believed the books are really balanced.
An astonishing 72 per cent said they think the books are cooked and the balanced budget is actually a deficit.
The bottom line: When more than half of voters want a change of government, that’s a big problem for the Liberals.
But when more than two-thirds also think the Liberals are lying about their central re-election pitch, that’s a portent of doom.
Up next for the Liberals: Taxpayer-financed TV commercials bragging about a budget many believe is fudged.
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