Is Robertson's dithering over Occupy Vancouver costing him thousands of potential votes?
Only a couple of weeks ago I was quoted in the Vancouver Sun stating it would take a "herculean" effort for Suzanne Anton to defeat Gregor "Goliath" Robertson. I took a lot of heat from the folks over at the NPA for that comment. They clearly disagreed with my assessment. However, if the most recent poll results are accurate, it looks like I may have been too quick to write off Anton's campaign.
According to a new poll conducted by Abington Research, Anton and her NPA team are now within striking distance of Robertson and Vision Vancouver. Robertson is tracking at 48.7% while Anton has 42.8% amongst decided voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4% nineteen times out of twenty.
Only a few weeks ago, Justason Market Intelligence indicated that a whopping 68% of decided voters were going to cast their ballot for Robertson compared to only 32% for Anton.
I have no doubt the dithering and indecision we've seen from Robertson over the last three weeks regarding Occupy Vancouver has impacted voters. Whether it's open line radio or the letters to the editor page, there is a real sense that a shift is taking place on the ground.
What must concern the backroom operatives in Vision Vancouver is the fact 43% of Vancouverites want a change in government, while only 36% are prepared to support the status quo. It is important to note that the pollster was in the field prior to the death of an Occupy Vancouver protester and the City losing its bid for a quick court injunction. One can only assume that has further eroded Robertson's support.
Here is a breakdown of the poll results:
In terms of trends, Robertson has been holding his own over the last several weeks. However, he has not been experiencing any growth in popularity as Vancouverites firm up who they plan to vote for on November 19th.
If you look at the red line below, Anton has been on a steady trajectory upwards. With one week left in the campaign, it is possible she could even overtake the Mayor before people head to the polls.
In terms of Occupy Vancouver, most voters aren't impressed with Robertson's mishandling of the illegal encampment. More of the general public think Robertson has done a poor job (53%) on handling the ‘occupy’ protests than a good job (39%). As previously noted, this poll was conducted before the tragic death of Ashlie Gough.
It's pretty clear voters are in sync with what Suzanne Anton has been espousing regarding the tent city since it was set up back on October 15th. The protest is okay, but the tents have to go. Only 16% of voters are fine with leaving these tents up past the civic election. If you recall, Robertson told the Vancouver Sun he thought the illegal encampment could stay up "indefinitely". He also continues to support the protesters with free power, water, garbage pickup, recyclying & 24/7 security.
On the issue of affordable housing, amazingly both the NPA and Vision Vancouver are tied for public support. I would have assumed that Vision would have been well ahead on this one.
There are a lot of rumours swirling around that COPE is about to get wiped off the electoral map. Without a mayoral candidate to call their own, Woodsworth, Louis and Aquino are all heading for defeat. It appears the same fate is in store for high profile councillors such as Vision Vancouver's Geoff Meggs.
The odds are very high we will have an NPA/Vision/Green council. And if the vote tightens up further, it may come down to the Green Party's Adriane Carr holding the sacred "swing" vote on council.
Needless to say, Mayor Gregor and his Vision team may regret how poorly they've treated the Green Party over the last three years. Just imagine Mayor Gregor having to go cap in hand to Carr asking to purchase more stationary for his office. How ironic would that be!
I may not have thought Anton had a chance a couple of weeks ago. But as they say "a week is an eternity in politics." After looking at this poll, it's clear the NPA now has a reasonable shot of victory - assuming they can get their vote out and none of their candidates have a major gaffe.
The Vancouver Sun also has a front page story about the poll. They state:
The poll was one of three done by Abingdon Research, whose owner is Hamish Marshall, a former pollster with Angus Reid and Ipsos Reid. It built on the two previous polls he did in August and October, and was done in early November before the rising tensions and overdose death of a woman in the Occupy Vancouver camp, which Marshall believes would further delineate issues for voters.
In his executive summary, Marshall said the results show that “the NPA is now on track for four council seats” and that respondents believe Anton and the party are the best choice on economic, transportation, spending control and crime-fighting issues.
SPECIAL NOTE: On November 19th I will be on the CKNW election night desk from 7 pm - 10 pm. Following that I will be on the air at CTV's downtown studios from 10 pm - 11:30 pm for full election coverage. Be sure to tune in!