– Story by Mike Patterson

The recent televised provincial leaders debate appears to have done little to dampen the prospect of an NDP majority on October 24th.

Surveys done by the Angus Reid Institute and Insights West following Tuesday’s debate found that support among decided voters remains relatively unchanged.

The Reid Institute survey found 49 per cent of decided voters said they plan to vote NDP, while 47 percent of respondents to the Insights West poll said they would vote NDP.

A third (33%) would vote for the Liberal Party and 14-per cent said they would vote for the Green Party (a drop of two percentage points according to Insights West).

Despite leader Sonia Furstenau’s strong showing Tuesday night, the support for the Green Party remained largely unchanged from before the debate.

Chart courtesy of Angus Reid Institute

Chart courtesy of Insights West

However, Furstenau’s personal appeal to voters was much higher following the debate. The Reid survey says the number of people who found her appealing increased from 27 per cent at the beginning of October to 46 per cent the day after she took her place at the podium between Wilkinson and Horgan.

ARI says that as it leader’s momentum surges, the Green party is the most common second choice among those people who have not yet locked in their vote.

According to both polls, NDP leader John Horgan was seen as having the best debate performance, followed closely by Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, and Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson doing nowhere near as well.

When Insights West asked people to rate the leaders performances in the debate, 48 per cent believed Furstenau did either a “good” or “very good” job and 14 per cent of British Columbians felt she won the debate, the same number as Andrew Wilkinson. Thirty-six per cent rated Wilkinson as either “good” or “very good.” The clear winner was Horgan as 53-per cent of British Columbians rated his performance as either “good” or “very good.”

Insights West says that Horgan’s own constituents rated him most highly as 80-per cent said he did a “very good” or “good” job.

ARI says the number of British Columbians who are absolutely certain who they will vote for on October 24th has increased from 41 per cent to 49 per cent over the past two weeks.

However, half of the electorate remains less certain.

The Angus Reid Institute found that in this campaign voters are looking at the available options with disappointment.

“Overall, half of residents say they are ultimately voting for one party because they dislike the others more, not because they are overly drawn to their chosen party.”

Insights West President Steve Mossop says that while there have been fumbles by the BC NDP and BC Liberals during the campaign, “it doesn’t appear that these snafus have impacted the direction of the overall campaign.”

For more details about the leadership debate surveys visit the Angus Reid Institute and Insights West websites.