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Do voters need to be familiar with party leaders before casting a vote?

Last Updated Mar 17, 2017 at 10:38 pm PDT

NDP Leader John Horgan (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Still lots of voters struggle to name Premier Christy Clark's main rival, with only weeks to go before election

Not having a well-known party leader is not necessarily a hindrance, says political scientist

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Less than two months to go before the provincial election – and still lots of voters struggle to name premier Christy Clark’s main rival.

That’s not necessarily a hindrance for the NDP at this stage of the game, says a UBC political scientist.

But Max Cameron says leadership becomes more important the closer we get to the election.

“Particularly how well known the candidates are and how positively people feel about them. I think you can go into an election not necessarily well-known and become well known, especially if you do it for reasons that are positive. People should see you and like what they see.”

In fact, party leaders are more prominent than ever.

“Elections have become about leadership – even to the extent that may be greater than in the past given the nature of media and given the fact we consume our news through TV, through radio, through the internet, through Facebook.”

Cameron says NDP Leader John Horgan’s relative lack of visibility so far could be that his messaging is not resonating with voters.

But Cameron believes Horgan can still capitalize on the growing sense that the BC Liberals have been in power too long.