Dan Fumano: Vancouver 2022 snap election poll shows Stewart, Sim and Hardwick most popular picks

Analysis: New poll suggests more people are now inclined to support ex-NPA candidates who left the party, rather than the party’s actual mayoral candidate

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Five months before the municipal elections in Vancouver, the candidates of the new parties seem to be the main opponents of the current mayor Kennedy Stewart.

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A new Research Co. poll shows Stewart, with the power of the incumbent, was chosen by 41% of respondents as the mayoral candidate they are most likely to support. Ken Sim, candidate for the new ABC Vancouver party, was the first choice of 26% of respondents, followed by Coun. TEAM’s Colleen Hardwick managed for a 19 per cent livable Vancouver.

Two other mayoral candidates are tied as the first choice by eight percent of respondents: Mark Marissen of Progress Vancouver and John Coupar of the NPA.

Sim emerging as one of the top challengers is perhaps unsurprising given he has name recognition after losing to Stewart in previous elections by less than 1,000 votes.

But Research Co. president Mario Canseco said, “The biggest story for me, looking at the data, is Colleen Hardwick’s performance.”

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Hardwick was the first choice for more respondents than Sim on the west side of town, Canseco pointed out, and also performed well among voters aged 35 to 54.

Respondents were asked to rank the five declared candidates for mayor, from those they were most likely to support to least likely. While Stewart has a decent lead looking only at the top picks of respondents for whom they were most likely to support, the race seems closer when combining the first and second picks: Stewart is 56% combined, ahead Sim’s 49 percent and Hardwick 42 percent. Marissen was fourth with 29% and Coupar bottom with 25.

The low level of support for Coupar and the NPA is also noteworthy, Canseco said.

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The NPA is Vancouver’s oldest and most historically successful civic party. But this new poll suggests that many more people are inclined at this point to support former NPA candidates who have left the party, rather than the actual party candidate this year, Coupar.

Hardwick ran for council and won with the NPA in 2018, and Sim was the NPA’s mayoral candidate that year. Both have since publicly expressed concerns about the conduct of the NPA board and left the party to enter the ground floor of their own new constituencies.

Among respondents aged 55 and over, only 1% chose Coupar as their first choice, a result Canseco called “simply amazing.”

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Stewart was most popular among voters between 18 and 54, while Sim was slightly more popular with those over 55.

The data is based on an online survey conducted April 13-16 of 419 likely voters in Vancouver. The poll was commissioned by the Vancouver and District Labor Council (VDLC), a labor group that backed Stewart and a slate of council candidates in 2018.

The labor council and its affiliates represent about 60,000 unionized workers who live in Vancouver, VDLC President Stephen von Sychowski said. The VDLC has already approved Stewart’s re-election this year as well as five outgoing councilors – Green Councilors Adriane Carr, Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe; OneCity County Christine Boyle and COPE Council. Jean Swanson – and are expected to announce five more council endorsements next month, choosing from candidates nominated by these three parties as well as Stewart’s new party, Forward Together.

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Von Sychowski said the VDLC was pleased with the results, including the answer to a question about what “scenario” voters would prefer after the election: 44% of respondents said they would like to see a coalition municipal government with two or more parties sharing a majority of council seats and working together, compared to 33% who wanted a single-party majority.

Voters may be open to the idea of ​​a coalition after seeing how the BC NDP’s arrangement with the Greens worked provincially, von Sychowski said, as well as with the federal Liberals and the NDP. .

“These opportunities can do a lot of good for those who are able to find common ground and push their agenda forward,” von Sychowski said. “There’s also probably a sense that it allows more different voices to be heard and holds everyone somewhat accountable.”

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Mark Hosak of Forward Together called the results “encouraging…It shows that people approve of what we’ve achieved, but we know there’s still a long way to go.”

ABC Campaign Manager Kareem Allam said, “We are encouraged by the support we are receiving. We are five months away from the election and closing the gap.

For Allam, a “big takeaway” from the poll is that while Stewart was the top-choice candidate for 41% of respondents at this early stage, it suggests that many voters want change.

“A lot of people are unhappy with the mayor,” Allam said. “The Labor Board just released a poll that says 59% of the city wants their guy out.”

Representatives for the NPA and TEAM did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday.

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Marissen said the new data showed a positive trajectory for him, compared to a poll taken last year by Abacus Data showing him at 1% support. With the new poll showing Marissen as the top pick for 8%, he said, “That’s progress.”

The election is scheduled for October 15.

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