Expert expects low voter turnout
Ballot boxes in Dartmouth South won’t be overflowing today and it should come as no surprise, according to a local political scientist.
“It’s dissatisfaction, it’s a byelection — which is always a little bit lower than general election — and it’s summer,” said Mount Saint Vincent University political scientist Dr. Jeff MacLeod on Monday.
“Nothing’s working to help voter turnout for this election.”
MacLeod said that would usually be good news for an incumbent. Since there isn’t one in Dartmouth South, following the sudden death of Liberal MLA Allan Rowe in March, he said it will benefit the established parties.
“The machine to get out the vote will probably matter more today than it does in other elections,” he said of the Liberals, the PCs and the NDP.
Independent Charlene Gagnon is also running in the four-person race.
MacLeod said this byelection, one of three taking place across the province today, is the first “electoral tempera- ture check” for the Stephen McNeil government, and it will show whether issues like the cut to the film tax credit will have “traction” with voters.
But he’s not making any predictions.
“I’ve detected a strong reaction against the austerity measures the McNeil govern- ment has implemented, but I’ve not detected a full- scale loss of support for this government that was apparent with the Dexter government toward its final days,” he said.
The other byelections are for the ridings of Cape Breton Centre and Sydney-Whitney Pier.