A public opinion poll released Thursday on the upcoming Oct. 20 civic election shows NPA candidate Ken Sim and independent candidate Kennedy Stewart nearly tied in the race to become Vancouver’s next mayor.
Research Co.’s online survey showed 26 per cent of voters would support Sim while 25 per cent prefer Stewart. The poll, conducted among 400 adults between July 13 and 16, occurred before Stewart won the endorsement of the Vancouver and District Labour Council Tuesday.
Ian Campbell of Vision Vancouver received 20 per cent support while independent candidate Shauna Sylvester (11 per cent), Wai Young of Coalition Vancouver (eight per cent), Hector Bremner of Yes Vancouver (five per cent) and David Chen of ProVancouver (four per cent) continue to trail in the race.
The poll was conducted after COPE’s likely mayoral candidate, Patrick Condon, ceased his campaign after he suffered a stroke July 10 while visiting family in Massachusetts. COPE has yet to decide whether it will run a mayoral candidate or endorse someone else.
Sim won the NPA’s mayoral nomination in early June and said he has since been busy attending events, meeting people and raising his profile in the community. The 47-year-old businessman, who co-founded a seniors’ home care service and bagel business, was buoyed by the results of the poll but realistic about what it means for his campaign.
“While nice, the reality is there’s a lot of hard work to be done,” Sim told the Courier. “I guess the only poll that counts is the one on Oct. 20 [election day]. We still have a long way to go.”
When asked what he attributes his lead to, he said he has spoken to many people to hear what their concerns are about the city and what they want in a new civic government. He acknowledged being associated to the brand of the NPA has likely helped his popularity.
“Besides that, I couldn’t tell you because it’s not as if we’ve launched a big media campaign, or anything like that,” Sim said. “I don’t know how people respond to polls.”
While Young and Bremner are trailing in the poll, both are seen to line up on the right of centre on the political spectrum, which has been long held by the NPA. Asked if he was worried that some of the right-of-centre vote will go to Young and Bremner, Sim said he can only control his campaign.
“What we can control is working our butts off every single day and meeting a ton of people, and telling our story, and that’s we’re focused on,” he said. “We’re going to tell our story, and whatever happens, happens.”
What bodes well for all mayoral candidates, and means more work on their part to reach out to voters, is the poll also revealed that 35 per cent of voters were undecided on who should replace the retiring Mayor Gregor Robertson.
That percentage is down from 47 per cent in Research Co.’s previous poll in June.
Still, among decided voters, Sim is ahead among men (32 per cent), residents on the West Side (31 per cent) and those aged 55 and over (36 per cent). Stewart is more popular with women voters (30 per cent) and with residents aged 35 to 54 (31 per cent).
He has more support than Sim on the East Side (29 per cent) and downtown (32 per cent), where he once ran for the federal NDP against incumbent Liberal MP, Hedy Fry. Stewart, who will be retired as the NDP MP for Burnaby-South before the civic election, also lives in the West End.
Four in five of respondents to the poll said housing affordability is worse in the city than in any other Metro Vancouver municipality. And more than half (57 per cent) feel the same way about the influence of developers.