Top of Mind - February 28, 2011

What are chances of the provincial Liberals breaking apart now that Christy Clark has won the party's leadership?

In the days and months before the leadership vote, there was much talk that right-wingers would quit the provincial Liberals should Ms. Clark succeed Gordon Campbell. The capstone of that talk was a poll, commissioned by Falcon 20/20 head Ryan Beedie, which showed 40 percent of respondents who voted for the party in the last election would "slightly" or "strongly" consider voting for the provincial Conservatives should Ms. Clark be elected leader. Nevertheless, Mr. Beedie - along with every caucus member interviewed by the media so far - have pledged to support her premiership or at the very least give her a chance. Indeed, it's important to remember MLAs publicly went along with Mr. Campbell's leadership for years, despite rumoured private grievances with his management style. So that past docility, coupled with the discipline of power, will likely keep most legislators in-line in the short-term. But what arguably matters more is how right-wing backroomers respond to Ms. Clark. And they'll be closely watching who the incoming premier decides to surround herself with in the West Annex.

What impact does Ms. Clark's win have on the provincial New Democrat leadership race?

According to the polls, Ms. Clark was the most publicly popular candidate in the Liberal leadership race. On the other side the political aisle, Mike Farnworth holds the same status among the New Democrat leadership candidates - having a net impression score of +23 according to the latest Ipsos-Reid Corp. survey. By comparison, competitors John Horgan and Adrian Dix have net impression scores of +1 and -11 respectively. As such, it's conceivable Mr. Farnworth and, to a lesser extent, Mr. Horgan could benefit from Ms. Clark's win - with New Democrats putting popularity ahead of other considerations in light of that result.


Sean, having dived into the BCNDP commentariat the past few days I really think they want to brawl. Adrian Dix is their guy to brawl and attack.

The guy I least want for Christy is Nick Simons - he's a policy wonk. Oh and a cool dude.

Josef, are you sure you didn't dive into the shallow end?

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