‘Every vote’s really going to count’ in this election, as Atchison leads and Clark surges in final poll
Posted on October 24, 2016 in In the Media
With just days to go before the election, incumbent mayor Don Atchison appears to be maintaining his lead in support.
A Mainstreet Research poll conducted for Postmedia News on Sunday had Atchison polling at 32 per cent — up from 30 per cent earlier in the week — while Charlie Clark’s support surged to 28 per cent from 21 per cent. Kelley Moore’s support dropped to 20 per cent from 28 per cent. Devon Hein had three per cent support and 17 per cent of those surveyed still didn’t know who they would vote for.
The telephone survey of 799 people is considered accurate within 3.47 per cent 19 times out of 20.
Meanwhile, an online poll done by Insightrix Research for 650 CKOM between Thursday and Saturday, had Atchison polling at 28 per cent, Moore at 24 per cent and Clark at 21 per cent. Quotas on age and gender were set for the survey so the 800 people who took it are believed to be representative of Saskatoon’s population. Because it is an online survey, margins of error are not applicable.
“It’s a very, very tight race amongst the three of them,” said Lang McGilp, research director for Insightrix. “Every vote’s really going to count. We say that often in elections, but in this one it really is going to matter.”
Moore’s numbers in the Mainstreet poll come after a tough week on the campaign trail. She was publicly criticized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon District and Labour Council (SLDC) for pledging to review staffing at city hall in an effort to reduce the 2017 property tax.
She also came under fire from the North Saskatoon Business Association (NSBA), which said it was inappropriate for Moore to be endorsed by the city’s transit union, which is in the midst of contract negotiations. At the last televised mayoral forum on Thursday, both Atchison and Clark accused Moore of using scare tactics, contradicting herself and presenting an inaccurate portrayal of the city’s financial situation.
Moore has said her plans to streamline operations at city hall and find efficiencies “are not about cutting jobs,” that she has not made any promises to the transit union, that she has been consistent with her messaging and that debt at city hall is at record levels.
“I think she’s just had a terrible, terrible week,” said David Valentin, executive vice-president of Mainstreet Research.. “People saw her trying to explain away all these controversies on TV. Really, the last televised debate was more about Kelley Moore than it was about Don Atchison and that’s a big problem for her. And, of course, people saw her tense up under pressure.”
While Clark’s support has grown over the past week according to the Mainstreet poll, the veteran city councillor has big hurdles to clear if he’s to upset Atchison on Wednesday.
According to the Mainstreet poll, almost a quarter — 24 per cent — of those who said they supported Moore said Atchison was their second choice for mayor, compared to 15 per cent who said Clark was their second choice. That means that if Clark persuades some of Moore’s soft supporters not to vote for her, they may cast a ballot for Atchison instead.
Both surveys showed Clark to have higher support among young voters, while Atchison was the top choice for older voters who are more likely to vote.
“That’s a big problem for Charlie Clark because Don Atchison’s voters are going to require less energy and less attention to get to the polls,” Valentin said.
Election Day is Wednesday. Polls across the city are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Unlike at advance polls, voters must vote in the ward in which they live.