The televised leaders debate aired Monday night and was watched by 68 per cent of B.C. residents

The televised leaders debate aired Monday night and was watched by 68 per cent of B.C. residents

Near-tie in TV debate may aid trailing Liberals: Poll

Dix picked as winner by more but underdog Clark had most to gain

The televised leaders’ debate Monday night ended in a near-tie between NDP leader Adrian Dix and B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark, according to a new poll.

The News1130/Insights West online poll found more than two-thirds of B.C. residents watched at least some of the debate.

Thirty-one per cent said Dix won it, 28 per cent said Clark was the winner, 13 per cent picked B.C. Green party leader Jane Sterk, while three per cent chose B.C. Conservatives leader John Cummins.

Twenty-six per cent said there was no clear winner.

Those polled who picked Clark as winner said she appeared most confident, was the  best speaker or provided the clearest vision for B.C., while those who said Dix won said he was best at answering questions and defending his ideas and did not make any major mistakes.

The vast majority of those polled say the debate only confirmed their existing choice or solidified who they were leaning towards. Just 11 per cent said they changed their voting intention as a result.

Insights West president Steve Mossop said the close debate outcome appears to have sparked some momentum for Clark and the B.C. Liberals, who have consistently trailed by a wide margin in earlier polls.

“Usually underdogs have the most to gain in leaders’ debates, and in this sense, Christy Clark delivered,” Mossop said.

“Sterk did as well as expected – which doesn’t impact voter outcomes, while Cummins completely flopped, which could help the right-of-centre vote if a few points get delivered to the Liberals as an outcome.”

He said early polling numbers after the debate suggest the NDP continue to hold a considerable lead with about 37 per cent of decided voters, versus 27 per cent for the Liberals, 12 per cent for the Greens and seven per cent for the Conservatives.