'There's a real problem,' political pundit says lack of name recognition hurts NDP's Horgan

By Ian Holmes
March 19, 2017 - 7:48pm Updated: March 20, 2017 - 10:57am

BC NDP Leader John Horgan speaks to reporters about a range of issues, including his profile, during a recent visit to ParksvilleCandace Wu

NANAIMO — BC New Democratic Party leader John Horgan's lack of profile hurts the party's chances of forming government, according to political commentator Allan Warnke.

The retired Vancouver Island University political science professor and former MLA told NanaimoNewsNOW Horgan is not a well-known commodity beyond Vancouver Island and Vancouver.

“There's a real problem, it is down to John who?” Warnke said. “This is going to be a problem for the campaign because he's only got really seven weeks left.”

Horgan acknowledged questions have come up about his lack of name recognition during a recent campaign-style stop in Parksville.

“I'm going to work very hard at increasing my availability wherever I am, I'm here to talk to the media, but more importantly I'm here to connect with people and that's been working pretty effectively so far,” Horgan said.

“Two years ago when I was traveling in the Lower Mainland, when I was on the Skytrain, no one paid much attention to me, but now I can't get too far down the street in Vancouver without somebody talking to me.”

Warnke said Horgan has not done a good enough job of raising self-awareness since taking over as party leader in 2014.

“People are still motivated as to the party and who is the leader of the party,” Warnke said. “They want to get a sense of who he or she is.”

Warnke said there is an opening for Horgan to make critical gains on Liberal leader Christy Clark during the election campaign, citing a pair of recent polls indicating about 30 per cent of respondents are undecided.

“Somewhere along the line in the campaign if he is able to score a big point over her on some event or some sort of issue, he can capture that undecided vote.”

A poll by Mainstreet-Postmedia earlier this month had the NDP on top with 29 per cent support, followed by the Liberals backed by 26 per cent. About a quarter of British Columbians were undecided, according to the poll.

The provincial election is scheduled for May 9.


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