by Harvey Oberfeld

Keeping It Real…

May 19, 2024

It is the most encouraging indicator of any politician’s or party’s electoral campaign … momentum.

Ask those who remember Social Credit Bill Bennett’s defeat of the NDP’s Dave Barrett.

I was there, covering Bennett towards the end of one campaign … and still remember how poorly the Socreds (and almost a morose Bennett himself) seemed to be doing, up against the popular, affable Barrett.

Until the NDP leader, just weeks before election day, was quoted as saying something about that not being the time for government to exercise maximum restraint in public spending.


Bennett became a different person: motivated, flying high on political adrenalin … promising taxpayers that, while Barrett and the NDP would spend, spend, spend their money, he and Social Credit would not and would show restraint with public tax dollars.

Bennett suddenly had momentum! And it carried him to victory.

Today, according to a poll released May 14 by Abacus Data, it’s John Rustad and the BC Conservatives who now have the momentum in BC.

The NDP still leads, with 40% public support, but DOWN 4% from the previous Abacus poll; BC Conservatives have 34%, UP 8%; and BC United dropped to 13%, DOWN another 4%.

“Interestingly, the BC NDP is ahead by 15 points among those aged 45 and over, is tied with the BC Conservatives among those aged 30 to 44, and trail the BC Conservatives by 7 among those under 30.”Interestingly, the BC NDP is ahead by 15 points among those aged 45 and over, is tied with the BC Conservatives among those aged 30 to 44, and trail the BC Conservatives by 7 among those under 30,” explained David Coletto of Abacus.

Results like that show me that’s it’s the Conservatives, not the NDP, that show greater promise for the future.

(You can read the full poll results here:

In April, a Research Co poll showed the NDP with 45% support, DOWN 1%; BC Conservatives 27%, UP 2%; and BC United at 15%, DOWN 2%.

The mainstream media pointed out the results show, if an election were held today, the NDP would still form another majority government.

But the election is not being held today … or for several more months (Oct 14, in fact) … and it’s the Conservative’s momentum I find really interesting.

A whopping 65% of respondents complained of falling behind in the cost of living battle … that’s bad for any incumbent government.

And here could lie the NDP’s Achilles heel: cost of living was the TOP issue for 68% in the poll and among other issues rated by importance: housing affordability, 54%; and healthcare, 41%. Only 26% rated reducing poverty and homelessness as a priority, and even fewer, 19% said drug issues were their major concern.

That’s bad news for the NDP, considering the emphasis their government has placed on those last two issues!

Rustad, meanwhile, has hammered other concerns: Ax the carbon tax; crack down on violent crime; end hard drug free handouts; ban tent cities; end ICBC’s basic vehicle insurance monopoly; allow private health care alongside public health care; reinstate unvaccinated, fired health care workers; expanding mining and LNG exports; and provincial control over Immigration (like the Quebec government has.)

Sure looks to me, once the campaigning begins in earnest, Rustad/Conservatives could make major inroads with urban voters on those top issues … outscoring the NDP’s social-conscience policies, promises and ideological priorities.

And if Rustad’s momentum continues, not even NDP government rebates giving taxpayers back some of the own cash will be enough!

Especially if Rustad/Conservatives highlight scheduled further increases in the carbon tax, year after year, right up to 2030!

Of course, the BC Conservatives could be vulnerable on some social issues, like parental rights in education, gay rights, gender issues etc. … but those are not showing up, so far, as the major voter concerns as the next election approaches.

So I doubt that even if Eby/NDP step up their focus/attacks on Rustad/Conservatives on those issues … it will stop the challengers’ momentum among voters hurting from those ever-increasing carbon taxes, the cost of living struggle now being felt by so many families and seniors, the heightened violent crime in urban BC and the province-wide systemic short-comings and failures in health care.

All adding up to a perfect opportunity for BC Conservatives to continue their growing momentum.

Harv Oberfeld