An Ipsos-Reid poll of 800 British Columbians indicates people would rather see a deficit than see public services slashed.
The poll was conducted in early August for the BC Federation of Labour. It shows a solid majority of British Columbians disaprove of the way the government is handling the economic downturn. Only 45% of people consider the government credible on budget forecasts, while 53% do not consider them credible.
Nearly 70% of British Columbians agree that public services need to be a priority even if it means a short term deficit. Only a quarter of respondents want balanced budgets to be the top priority.
It comes as no surprise that the poll shows people opposed to the HST, but they are in favour of increasing taxes on corporations and wealthy British Columbians. People supported a number of public services raised in individual questions. For example, 86% supported investment in public services like post-secondary education and retraining programs. Nearly 80% said they believed affordability was the number one barrier to college or university education.
Some people will seek to discredit the poll because it was conducted on behalf of the BC Federation of Labour. However, Ipsos-Reid’s reputation rests with their integrity. Agree with the results or not, they are a credible pollster.
In the Throne Speech Tuesday the government claimed a mandate from the May election to pretty well do whatever they want. This poll and another released yesterday by the Mustel Group showing the Liberals falling 8% behind the NDP suggest the government might want to rethink its plans. After all, the election was not won on a promise to cut public services.
The Ipsos-Reid poll can be found at http://www.bcfed.com/node/1742.
This may be the first time you are hearing about the Ipsos-Reid poll. So far nothing has appeared about it in any of the province’s newspapers.