Occupy Vancouver, bike lanes not main election issues: poll
Designated bike lanes and the Occupy Vancouver protest may not be the hot-button election issues that incumbent Mayor Gregor Robertson's political opponents hope they are, according to a new poll.
The handling of Occupy Vancouver was identified as a "very important" or "moderately important" issue by 70 per cent of respondents in the Angus Reid poll, while public safety, sanitation services and overall quality of life were each identified as important by at least 90 per cent.
"The whole Occupy Vancouver issue has been gaining prominence, but it's not really the most important issue for people in B.C.," said pollster Mario Canseco.
Public opinion of the Vancouver Occupy encampment continues to decline, however, with 64 per cent of those polled declaring an unfavourable view of the protest. Only 29 per cent supported Occupy, and just 15 per cent said the protest should be able to continue indefinitely.
But six issues garnered more attention in the Angus Reid poll, which surveyed 402 adults in Vancouver from Nov. 9-10. Protecting the environment was identified as important by 87 per cent of respondents, while 83 per cent pointed to homelessness and 74 per cent said it was important to help small businesses.
Bike lanes and backyard chicken coops were only identified as important to 39 and 17 per cent of respondents, respectively -- and Canseco said most of the people griping about bike lanes won't be voting in Vancouver's election.
"They're driving from North Vancouver, they're driving from West Vancouver," Canseco said. "[Vancouver voters] are going to be deciding the election, and those voters are not particularly dismayed with the situation with the bike lanes."
Sixty-two per cent of respondents said the current municipal government had done a "good job" or "very good job" with the lanes. Forty-five per cent said the same about chicken coops.
Respondents were also asked to select words to describe Robertson and his Non-Partisan Association rival, Suzanne Anton.
The best traits attributed to Robertson were intelligence (43 per cent), being down to earth (30 per cent) and compassion (28 per cent). He was also described as arrogant (32 per cent), out of touch (30 per cent) and inefficient (27 per cent).
Anton was most favourably described as intelligent (27 per cent) and strong (20 per cent). She was also found to be arrogant (32 per cent), out of touch (30 per cent), boring (23 per cent) and uncaring (18 per cent) -- but Canseco insists that doesn't mean she's not a contender.
"People over the age of 55 seem to look at Suzanne Anton in a much more positive light," Canseco said. "That is the group that votes the most in municipal elections."
Forty-seven per cent said they wanted Robertson as mayor ether with a Vision Vancouver council or not. Twenty-seven said they preferred an Anton-led municipal government, with or without a Non-Partisan Association council.
The online poll claims a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 per cent.