August 15, 2011
It can’t get much more controversial than the HST. As far as issues go, the only rival that comes close is the proposed Ajax mine. But polls — even unscientific polls — have a way of telling a different story.
The latest poll at The Daily News asks readers how they interpret the 50-per-cent turnout for the HST referendum. Depending on how you look at it, 50 per cent might not be a bad turnout. We’re reaching the point where we would be happy to have that many people voting in a provincial election.
In the 2009 B.C. election, we set a record with 50 per cent. That was down from 58 per cent in 2005. In the 1983 provincial election, 70 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots.
Things on the federal scene may be headed in the same direction. In the last election, the turnout was 61.4 per cent, up marginally from 59 per cent in 2008.
But what about the HST referendum? When devising the poll for The Daily News, we put in two serious answers and one not-so-serious answer: Fed up voters want to be rid of it, enlightened voters want to keep it, 50 per cent don’t really care.
As of this writing, 62.8 per cent have chosen the somewhat cynical option number 3. OK, so how do we take the next step and interpret that number?
I’m guessing we have a case HST overload. People have read and heard so much about the topic that they just don’t care any more. Both sides can be extreme and uncompromising in there views.
And at this point, with voting for the referendum over and done, it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks. In a couple of weeks, the numbers will have been counted and announced, and we’ll have fresh new controversies to keep us occupied.