New poll has Vision and NPA in statistical dead heat as election nears

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

22 comments

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Will the civic election this fall really be a photo finish?

It's late into the evening in Vancouver, but that hasn't stopped local pollster Barb Justason from releasing a bombshell. Her latest poll now has the NPA (32%) and the governing Vision Vancouver party (37%) in a statistical dead heat heading into this fall's civic election.

Back in February, Mayor Gregor Robertson's Vision Vancouver party was riding high at 54% in the polls. That means they've dropped a whopping 14% in less than six months. It's a trend that even the most die-hard spinmeisters within the labour-backed party will find difficult to paint as rosy.

Some of the more interesting highlights from within the poll include:

  • The proportion “strongly” disapproving of Mayor Gregor has grown to its highest level (19%).
  • Gregor Robertson's "strong support" is down to 12% - the lowest in his term in office
  • Approval of the performance of Suzanne Anton as City Councillor stands at 35% and disapproval, at 17%.
  • Almost 40% of voters disapprove of Vision Vancouver performance when it comes to reducing homelessness
  • In Feb '11, 22% of respondents said they "strongly approved" of the Mayor's record of consulting with the business community. This has now dropped to only 7%.
  • In Feb '11, 21% of respondents strongly approved of Vision Vancouver's record of "considering the needs of residents". That has dropped to only 10%

After looking like they were going to fade away into the sunset, the COPE party is also now making a bit of a resurgence. They are sitting at 24% in the polls, but the agreement they signed with Vision earlier this year prevents them from running more than three candidates for council. In addition, they are not allowed to run a candidate for mayor.

What will be interesting to see is what COPE voters do with their remaining seven votes they have for council.

If the Green Party does run a full slate this fall, they may be the beneficiary of votes that would have otherwise gone to COPE. In fact, a Green/COPE coalition could have scored a few impressive political victories. But that door is now firmly closed shut.

Frances Bula was first off the mark once again with her story posted online at the Globe and Mail. If you just read the headline, you'd be left with the impression that Vision's backroom operatives were popping open the celebratory champagne tonight. But I somehow doubt that's the case once they have fully analyzed the numbers.

In reaction to the poll, the NPA's campaign manager Norman Stowe tells Bula:

Voters don’t really pay attention to civic politics until four or five weeks before the election. And their opinions can swing sharply.

These are early days. We need to work to create a home for those who feel disconnected from city hall. That opposition is there. People are feeling more and more disaffected.

We are still in the dog days of summer, so the real intense heat of the election campaign is still weeks away. But the release of this polls shows that something is starting to bubble under the surface.

After all, who would have thought only a few months ago that Vancouver's governing juggernaut and the NPA would be neck and neck heading into the election? I know I certainly wasn't in that camp.

That said, I still remain convinced that the election is Mayor Gregor's to lose. However, for the rest of the Vision team, I no longer believe their electoral victory is a fait accompli.

If this trend continues any further, a number of them may well end up being defeated. Therefore, hang on to your hats folks. This election just got a lot more interesting.

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus. Or you can "like" us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CityCaucus.

22 Comments

I think it is too soon and too close to call.

37% approval rating means 63% don't approve. Same is the case for the NPA. Can't really call those numbers an overwhelming vote of confidence.

To think we would swing further left and favour COPE makes me want to surrender and leave town.

With all the political appointments at the hall, it does not really matter who gets elected - Vision agenda will still be there until we clean house. I am hoping against hope that the NPA can take a majority of seats on Council to put the breaks on the runaway train and hold Gregor and staff acountable.

There is a ray of hope for Vancouver in this poll.

If the car hating, Gaia loving, American funded Visionistas get back in, Vancouver is doomed to follow the narrow minded eco-bigotry demanded by their Hollyhock masters.

C'mon voters . . . wake up & save Vancouver.

The NPA has to look at Anton and whether she is electable. I think not, even against someone like Robertson who is beatable under the proper scenario.

Her past gaffes on the cycle lanes to name a one could be coming back to bite her.

Suzanne is the mayoral candidate so get over it. If you look at the poll, it's clear she doesn't have many negatives. She just needs to use the election to help raise her profile.

Anton may not have been my first choice, but we need to support her now to help get rid of Gregor and the hollyhock gang. Stay focused people.

@ Ken – I think you missed the point if you are telling Greg to “get over it”. You are correct that Anton is the mayoral candidate, however, his point is valid – as it stands today, she isn’t the “leader” the NPA needs to beat Robertson specifically. To blindly say “Get behind NPA” isn’t a solution in my mind. If you are an NPA supporter, I think your call should be to Anton to raise her profile (one of the findings from the poll indicated people didn’t know enough about her to answer), be definitive on her issues rather than just poking Robertson/Vision and clarify her past flip flops. Robertson was able to get elected on charisma and little substance imho. Anton doesn’t have that luxury – arguably, she lacks personal charisma so substance needs to be her hallmark. She is a former crown prosecutor which indicates she is a smart lady – let’s see some of that.

No Im not a supporter of the NPA but Im against Vision Vancouver for many things like bike lanes and the expanded and relocated Casino, they only listened to 35,000 a shortage of 565,000 + if the population is 600,000 plus, this is not listening. We need another party like a Conservative municipal party but we need to organize the Provincial party first, a message from a ex Liberal and supporter of the BCC.

It would be good to send the Cortes Islanders back home to their little island. That is where you could easily get intoxicated from the smoke of all the "funny" cigarettes.

I see Jamie Lee Hamilton is considering a run at the Mayor's seat.

She will announce one way or the other come September.

As we get closer to election time, the #’s can and will get more interesting.

What is readily apparent is that many seem to be parking their votes with COPE for the time being.

I suspect the fatal flaw in COPE and VISION thinking right now is that support for COPE translates to VISION. Well if voters wanted VISION they would have indicated such. Instead they indicated COPE was their choice.

One has to wonder what the COPE members think of Chudnovsky’s deal making and macinations with the devil right now. Tim Louis where are you?

I suspect (in speaking to many people) the disaffection for Vision is far deeper than this poll lets on and is just the tip of the iceberg in their slide.

What everyone forgets is that in ’08 the NPA was about where Vision is at this point and the 2 were close till 2 weeks to go when the train finally went off the tracks for the NPA for any # of reasons.

This is just a snapshot in time when interest is low.

Lets see what happens when the silly season gets into gear in September to see any real trends.

As much as I would like to see a more Conservative party for Vancouver as well, I think it would have trouble getting elected as the core urban areas seem to be dominated by takers who depend too much on government spending. Perhaps we should amalgamate Metro Vancouver into one elected entity like Toronto and then we might have some hope.

I am not a fan of the NPA but as the lesser of two evils I believe they made a strategic error by not focusing on winning a majority on council instead of in wasting a council seat by having Anton run for Mayor. Take away his majority and Gregor is not going to be able to do much damage.

wonder if Anton and the NPA would have the intestinal fortitude to take a second look in September to see if Anton has a fighting chance and if not - put herself back on the ballot for council.

In my mind, that would speak volumes about the NPA's commitment to the city.

Sean, Mike... how about it!

This sounds like quite a slap to Ms.Anton's face.

Once again, political intrigue in Vancouver instead of getting things done.

Why I've never belonged to a political party.
Too many internal politics.

I have nothing but respect for Suzanne Anton. She has served the city well and I would hate to see her, and her experience blown off the map by Robertson and his smarmy charm. I have zero doubt that she would be elected as a councilor but big doubts about her ability to overcome the Robertson machine.

Think about how many people vote for a name, or a face in this town with little or no consideration as to what the person has accomplished or what they stand for. I am afraid there are enough lemmings out there to give us another 3 years of our current Mayor and we desperately need a tough and ethical council to stop the continuation of this insanity.

No Julia.

It isn't lemmings.
It's which group can get the most people out to vote.

What special interest (or block as they used to call it) groups can tell their membership to go out and VOTE?

That is the key.

Always has been in politics, and always will be.

How about a 'we're just average people sick of games' group?

Average people who pay for it all.

I see Robertson, VV, and the CoV, are set to alienate yet another neighborhood - there is a 15 storey condo building being built at West 6th and Fir in Kits. And oh, it has a new 'bamboo' YYoga studio going in with it.

There is no buidling in the area that size - it will stick out like an ugly sore thumb.

All new buidlings have been done to previous height restrictions - 5 stories max.

I am so disgusted right now, I can't even put it to words without going 'truck driver'.

It will have edible landscaping and Class A and B bicycle spaces.

Whatever that means.

Fancy words for a lot of fluff, I believe.

Julia, none of the other council candidates has the name recognition of Anton. I guess she could have run for Council again (I'm sure she'd have topped the poll) and they could have thrown a sacrifical lamb like Rob Macdonald out as candidate for Mayor.

It would be interesting if Tim Louis failed to get a COPE council slot, and decided to go rogue and run for Mayor!

Once again I'd like to recommend an article in The Mainlander.

http://themainlander.com/2011/08/03/shannon-mews-rezoning-passes-despite-citizen-opposition/

This blog may be the polar opposite of CC politically but there are few places where you will find clearer insights into the dysfunction of the Vision party government of Vancouver, or as they put it "the corrupt core of civic politics."

@david:

You are correct, The Mainlander is the polar opposite of CC, but they too have seen the writing on the wall.

Another site worth visiting is Cityhallwatch: Citizen Reviews of Major Policies and Rezonings in Vancouver.

They also provide a tracking base of who voted for what during rezoning meetings.

Interesting to note, Cadman has the highest absentee record - 14 missed meetings.

How does that help the voters that elected him to do the job they thought he would do??

It seems the social housing portion of Little Mountain has been 'down graded'.

Great read!

http://vancouver.openfile.ca/vancouver/file/2011/08/social-housing-community-and-vancouvers-political-confidence

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