More than a quarter of Vancouverites undecided ahead of election
With less than two weeks left until Vancouverites choose their new mayor, a new poll suggests more than a quarter of voters remain undecided.
According to the Research Co. survey, 26 per cent of residents said they were "not sure" who they would vote for.
Research Co. president Mario Canseco said the uncertainty is likely the result of greater diversity in terms of candidates and political parties compared to previous municipal elections.
"This election is a little bit different. It's all over the place. You have a lot of new parties, lots of new candidates, lots of independents who've decided to run," he told CTV News.
"We have two very credible independent candidates who are now ranked number one and number three, so there's definitely a lot of confusion for some voters—maybe those who haven't been paying enough attention to the race, but also those who are still trying to figure out which one of the parties they want to support."
The number of undecided voters has shrunk compared to the results of his research from just a few months ago, Canseco added.
Uncertainty was higher among women (31 per cent) compared to men (20 per cent).
Kennedy Stewart, who is running as an independent, continues to lead in name recognition, according those polled. That's likely part of the story behind his overall popularity.
Stewart was followed by the NPA's Ken Sim, who polled at 20 per cent. Stewart held a double-digit lead over the NPA candidate among the women polled (41 to 16 per cent), but the two were virtually tied among male respondents.
The survey put independent Shauna Sylvester in third spot with 16 per cent and Hector Bremner of Yes Vancouver in fourth with 10 per cent.
ProVancouver's David Chen and Wai Young of Coalition Vancouver both polled at seven per cent.
Canseco said Vision Vancouver and the NPA have dominated past election. But the former isn't running a candidate this time, and that could be working in Stewart's favour.
"You have about 50 per cent of them saying they're voting for Stewart. He's inheriting a lot of those votes from Gregor Robertson," Canseco said. "We don't see the same for Ken Sim. He's only getting 39 per cent from those who voted for Kirk LaPointe, so if you have a high retention rate from a very popular incumbent in the last election, you're going to be ahead."
Advance voting in Vancouver starts Wednesday and will continue for a week.
Election Day is on Oct. 20 and what all candidates will be focused on is getting voters motivated to actually show up and cast their ballots.
Canseco said his research will focus on how motivated voters are actually feeling between now and then.
"I think this is going to be crucial for all candidates, not only Kennedy Stewart who is right now number one," he said.
Only four per cent of participants in the poll said they intended not to vote.
Research Co.'s results are based on a study conducted online between Oct. 4 and 7. According to pollster's website, 402 adult Vancouverites participated and the results carry a 4.9-per-cent margin of error, 19 times out of 20.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan