Watts top Liberal contender

A new poll reveals former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts as a front-runner to lead the BC Liberals.

The Insights West poll found Watts has the highest favourability rating at 39 per cent.

She's followed by former Vancouver councillor Sam Sullivan at 30 per cent, finance critic Mike de Jong at 28 per cent, Jas Johal at 24 per cent and former cabinet minister Kevin Falcon at 23 per cent.

The leadership race was triggered by the resignation of Christy Clark, following the party's defeat in the provincial election.

Some of those widely considered to make a bid for the leadership will have to fight low name recognition.

At least two-in-five residents don't know enough to provide an assessment of Todd Stone Mike Bernier, Andrew Wilkinson, James Moore or Michael Lee.

When asked how they would vote in an election led by any of these contenders, only de Jong and Watts placed the Liberals in a position to potentially win.

De Jong garnered 27 per cent, and Watts led the way with 30 per cent to the NDP's 25.

“When British Columbians ponder the possibility of Dianne Watts as leader of the BC Liberals, the party’s fortunes change dramatically when compared with other possible contenders,” says Mario Canseco, vice-president of Insights West.

“The Watts-led BC Liberals would enjoy a significantly higher level of support from voters aged 55 and over and residents of the Lower Mainland.”

Across the province, slightly over half of residents (52 per cent) approve of the performance of NDP Premier John Horgan, while 31 per cent disapprove. Almost half (48 per cent) are satisfied with the performance of Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, while the rating is significantly lower (28 per cent) for interim BC Liberal leader Rich Coleman.

The most important issue for British Columbians continues to be housing, homelessness and poverty, followed by health care, the economy and jobs, and the environment.

Who do you think should lead the BC Liberals? Vote in our daily poll.

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