As British Columbians prepare to vote in the October 24th provincial election, the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about the economy top the list of issues shaping voters’ decisions, according to the latest VoteLocal survey conducted by Mustel Group in partnership with FleishmanHillard HighRoad.
Just one year ago in the lead up to the 2019 federal election, climate change and the economy topped the list of concerns among the B.C. electorate, but the global pandemic has eclipsed other issues and put voters’ focus squarely on which provincial party has the best plan to deal with its devastating impacts. With 500 British Columbians surveyed October 1-6, the top issues influencing voters are:
• Response to COVID-19
• Economy & jobs
• Support for vulnerable people
• Mental health & addiction
• Environment & climate change
British Columbians are less interested in parties’ track record in handling COVID-19 so far, compared to proposals for confronting the challenges that lie ahead. Eight-in-ten voters say they will decide how to vote based on parties’ plans for the future, with less than two-in-ten focused on how parties have dealt with the pandemic to date. This suggests an opportunity exists for the BC Liberal and Green parties to compete with the BC NDP on the basis of their policy proposals related to pandemic relief and recovery.
This will be a ‘crisis election.’ The ballot-box question will not be about who to trust, parties’ values or their vision for the future, as is often the case in elections. Instead, voters are looking for clarity on parties’ immediate plans, such as how they will prevent further spread of COVID-19, provide ongoing relief to residents and businesses, get people back to work and ensure our healthcare system can
weather the crisis.
About this survey:
The VoteLocal survey was conducted online among a random sample of B.C. adults, 18 years of age or over (n=500) from October 1st to 6th, 2020.
VoteLocal is a research initiative of Mustel Group and FleishmanHillard HighRoad, aimed at understanding how issues influence elections. Starting with the 2018 municipal election and then the 2019 federal election, we have surveyed the opinions of British Columbians to provide analysis on the issues that will have the biggest impact on voting decisions.