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Good grades for Premier Horgan, NDP, but criticisms in key areas

FILE - B.C. Premier John Horgan, July 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Premier John Horgan's approval rating is about as high as it has ever been, poll from Insights West shows

While Horgan's approval rating is high, provincial government is being criticized in some key areas

Housing prices, affordability, homelessness, poverty, energy, pipelines are some of the areas people are unhappy with

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – It is report card time for Premier John Horgan and the NDP, and he should be fairly pleased with his marks.

A poll from Insights West shows Horgan’s approval rating is about as high as it has ever been, but the provincial government is getting criticism in some key areas.

“Here we are, two and a half years into premier John Horgan’s mandate, and he has the benefit of some pretty high popularity ratings,” says president Steve Mossop. “When you have 51 per cent of the public approving of a premier’s performance, those are pretty good numbers.”

That is a slight increase from 48 per cent in June and Horgan continues to rate much higher than other party leaders.

The Greens’ outgoing Andrew Weaver scores 38 per cent, Andrew Wilkinson from the B.C. Liberals scored 35 per cent, and the B.C. Conservatives’ Trevor Bolin gets a 20 per cent approval rating.

“Overall, the government scores highly on some core pillars,” adds Mossop. “When it comes to healthcare (42%), education (40%), the economy (40%), employment (39%), and the environment (38%) they score really well. These four or five are always at the top of the list and we haven’t seen any slippage in those over the last two years.”

But the report card finds British Columbians are not so happy with the NDP government on the issues of housing prices and affordability (58% disapproval rating), homelessness (56%), poverty (51%), and the province’s energy and pipelines.

“The BC NDP has always struggled in these key areas. We’ve been tracking for about eight years on pipelines and the government performance there is 29 per cent approval and 51 per cent disapproval. Those numbers have been going down over the last two years,” he explains.

Transportation is also a theme with a 57 per cent disapproval rating for how the government is managing changes at ICBC and 49 per cent for ride sharing.

The Metro Vancouver transit strike is also a sore spot.

“We have some early numbers and that is also among the worst categories in terms of ratings — 51 per cent disapprove and 22 per cent approve. Those are early days yet and we will see where the numbers go from there if the strike escalates.”

If an election were held today, Insights West finds the NDP would hold their lead across the province, maintaining the 35 per cent voter support they achieved in June of 2019. But they’d be closely followed by the B.C. Liberals, who ticked up to 32 per cent support from 30 per cent in June.

Andrew Weaver’s resignation as leader appears to have eroded Green Party support, which has dropped from 18 per cent in June to 14 per cent in November.

The B.C. Conservatives appear to be benefiting from that slide as they rose from 14 per cent support in June to 17 per cent in November.