It’s been a while since I complained about CBC pundit Stephen Smart but his 5pm news report today was egregious. He suggested the current Angus Reid poll indicates an important shift that gives new hope to BC Liberals. The claim was misleading and not backed up by fact. His words,
“Right now you’ve got 28% of people who say they think Adrian Dix would be the best Premier, Christy Clark at 16%. If you add up the undecideds and the people who don’t like any of the options, you hit 48%, so almost half of the voters don’t like any of the options, don’t know. That’s a huge room that is now left to manoeuvre, which means, really, all bets are off between now and election day.”
All bets are off are they? First, let’s examine what pollster Angus-Reid has been saying over time.
The words of CBC reporter Smart imply that a significant change in public opinion has been revealed. On the contrary, the political alignments in B.C. have been relatively stable, particularly because the margin of error (sampling variability) is +/- 3.5%. In other words, small changes are not necessarily meaningful from one period to another.
Christy Clark and friends describe politics in BC as a struggle between free enterprisers and unwashed lefties. I believe a more accurate description is of a contest between parties that represent economic elites and social conservatives versus two parties that represent pluralistic and egalitarian movements sympathetic to conservation of the natural environment and effective regulation of industrial activity.
During the last few months, the Liberals conducted guerilla war against the Conservative Party of BC. Supporters of the targeted party who lost faith in its leadership were more likely to migrate to the BC Liberals than to either of the progressive opposition parties. Angus-Reid reports little change in support either for the supposed “coalition of free enterprisers” and the groups that style themselves progressives.
Smart emphasized that 48% of voters expressed no opinion on the person best qualified to be Premier. However, that number is unchanged from the last Angus-Reid survey. Instead of breathlessly claiming that Liberals were back in the game, Stephen Smart should have noted that Angus-Reid shows that despite intensive government advertising, the voters aren’t buying Christy Clark’s message, even if they are paying for it.
Reader Will Hartman left a comment on Facebook:
“CTV did a similar fluff piece on their 6 o’clock news tonight. BC’s MSM,still the loyal cheerleaders…”
I watched Keith Baldrey’s report on Global TV and found it a fair report but I agree with Will Hartman that Rob Brown’s CTV report missed the mark quite completely. I wonder if these news rooms are so understaffed, or badly staffed, that they rely on talking points provided by government insiders. The news readers simply echo words fed to them and don’t have time or ability for independent analysis.