Mayoral decided voter support gap closing: poll


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A new survey has found a significant drop in support among the leading candidate to become Winnipeg’s next mayor, suggesting the race may now be more competitive.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/10/2022 (236 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A new survey has found a significant drop in support among the leading candidate to become Winnipeg’s next mayor, suggesting the race may now be more competitive.

According to the survey commissioned by Scott Gillingham’s mayoral campaign, 28 per cent of decided voters would vote for Glen Murray, while 19 per cent would support Gillingham.

Leger’s polling also found 14 per cent would select Kevin Klein and 13 per cent would cast ballots for Shaun Loney in the Oct. 26 municipal election.

“That would be the larger takeaway from the poll. It’s that Glen Murray’s support that was pretty consistently up in the 40 per cent mark (in previous polls) seems to have dropped by 10 or 12 points… (That) would be considered a fairly large shift in ballot support,” said Andrew Enns, Leger executive vice-president for central Canada.

The poll, which was conducted Oct. 6-11, found mayoral candidate Jenny Motkaluk had eight per cent support, followed by Robert-Falcon Ouellette (seven per cent), Rick Shone (four per cent), Rana Bokhari (four per cent), and Don Woodstock (one per cent). The remaining two candidates had about one per cent support combined.

The numbers do not add up to 100 due to rounding, Leger said.

Out of all survey respondents, 22 per cent remained undecided and three per cent didn’t plan to vote Oct. 26.

About one month ago, a sizable 40 per cent of decided voters had planned to vote for Murray, according to an online Probe Research poll taken Sept. 8-18. In that data, 15 per cent expected to support Gillingham, followed by Loney (14 per cent) and Klein (10 per cent).

The suggested shift in voter support may encourage a few candidates, Enns said.

“If these numbers carry on to election day, I’d still say Glen Murray was looking fairly good. But it’s definitely a bit more of a race, with respect to what looked like a pretty daunting lead… There’s still lots of work to do, but I would suggest certainly Gillingham, as well as I would say even Klein and Loney, have some potential to still make some noise in this campaign,” he said.

On Thursday, Murray told the Free Press he had not heard of a new poll being released, and didn’t want to speak on any results until he had a chance to view it.

However, it wasn’t unusual in his experience to see support numbers tighten up at this point in a race, said the former Winnipeg mayor (1998-2004) and Ontario provincial legislature member.

“I’ve been in these races before, one normally expects things to tighten up a bit, that’s normal.”

While voters were not asked why they supported a specific candidate, Enns noted the poll was conducted after allegations arose in late September about Murray’s time at the Pembina Institute.

Some former Pembina staff have claimed Murray was forced out of his role at the Alberta energy think tank, where he worked in 2017-18, following complaints about his “chaotic” management. One staff member also accused Murray of sexual harassment at a social event.

Murray has consistently denied the allegation, while his campaign provided letters from three people involved with his work at Pembina who stepped forward to publicly defend him.

Enns said the shift in support may also be linked to the growing attention being paid to the campaign, as Oct. 26 draws closer.

“It’s really not until two or three weeks out from the actual voting day that people start to really start talking about this… Part of what could be happening is people are starting to tune in a little bit more seriously and focusing more on the issues,” he said.

While the poll was commissioned by a mayoral candidate, Enns said its questions were balanced.

“It’s certainly not structured in a way that would try to produce results favourable to the Gillingham campaign and, in reality, the results aren’t necessarily dandy for the Gillingham campaign. They’re good… but they’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said.

A Leger report notes its online panel survey gathered responses from 496 Winnipeg adults.

Leger says the sample was taken across Winnipeg to ensure it represents the broader population. Online polls are not deemed to have a reportable margin of error.

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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