New poll puts Liberals ahead of NDP in Nanaimo byelection 

Vote could change balance of power in B.C. legislature

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - A forthcoming byelection could have significant consequences for Nanaimo (picture here) as well as the rest of the province.
  • photo submitted
  • A forthcoming byelection could have significant consequences for Nanaimo (picture here) as well as the rest of the province.

A new poll is putting the Liberals ahead of the NDP by 13 points in Wednesday's provincial byelection in Nanaimo.

According to a Mainstreet Research poll released this morning, the Liberals have 44.7 per cent among decided and leaning voters and the NDP have 32.2 per cent. The Greens have 13.7 per cent and the B.C. Conservatives have seven per cent.

Respondents were asked which candidate they would vote for. The Liberal's Tony Harris came in with 43.5 per cent, followed by the NDP's Sheila Malcolmson at 35 per cent.

The Green's Michele Ney had 12.2 per cent and the Conservative's Justin Greenwood was at 2.5 per cent.

"No matter what angle we look at it, the B.C. Liberals are ahead of the B.C. NDP in Nanaimo with the vote to be held on Wednesday," Quito Maggi, president and CEO of Mainstream, said in a statement. "No matter if we ask for party names or candidate names, the B.C. Liberals are leading."

A total of 753 Nanaimo voters were surveyed between Jan. 23 and 24. The margin of error on this survey is plus or minus 3.54 per cent and is accurate 19 times out of 20, Mainstreet said.

Maggi said turnout is important. Numbers released so far from Elections B.C. show higher voter turnout compared with the first three days of advance polling in the previous provincial election.

"Turnout is usually a function of voter motivation and party organization and that should be reflected in the final vote," Maggi said.

"The B.C. NDP are literally fighting for the government's life in Nanaimo so it would not be a surprise if the final numbers will be tighter than our findings."

The byelection has the potential to disrupt the balance of power in the legislature.

It was called after long-time Nanaimo NDP MLA Leonard Krog resigned his seat after sweeping to victory as the city's mayor in October municipal elections.

Krog, hugely popular in Nanaimo, endorsed Malcolmson but is not campaigning for the NDP. Not only is he busy with his new role at city hall but his wife is seriously ill and he is devoting time to family.

Nanaimo, with its working-class roots, has long been seen as an NDP stronghold. But given the strategic importance of this race, the Liberals and NDP are battling for voters.

If Harris wins, the legislature would be locked in a 43-43 tie, with the NDP-Green coalition on one side and the Liberals on the other. That would give Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas the deciding vote.

How Plecas would vote is unknown. He was ejected from the Liberal caucus after he accepted the job as Speaker and now sits as an independent.

At the same time, a group of disgruntled Liberals is mounting a recall campaign against Plecas.

The poll will no doubt ramp up the already high tensions in Nanaimo where each party is fighting to win votes. NDP, Liberal and Green leaders have been campaigning in the riding.

More to come ...

The original article can be found here.

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