Ex­pert ex­pects low voter turnout

Cape Breton Post - - PROVINCE -

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.

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