Vot­ers favour ive­son, split on photo radar: poll

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - CLAIRE THEOBALD

New poll num­bers show in­cum­bent mayor Don Ive­son dom­i­nat­ing the up­com­ing Ed­mon­ton may­oral race, but a lack of strong op­po­si­tion to his cam­paign has left many vot­ers un­de­cided.

In a poll of a ran­dom sam­ple of 800 Ed­mon­to­ni­ans ques­tioned on Mon­day and Tues­day, pro­vided by Main­street Re­search for Post­media, 46 per cent of all re­spon­dents pledged their sup­port to Ive­son.

“He will get well over 50 per cent among de­cided vot­ers,” said Quito Maggi, pres­i­dent and CEO of Main­street Re­search, pre­dict­ing it is un­likely any other can­di­date will break into two-digit per­cent­ages once the votes are tal­lied.

Maggi said the re­sults aren’t sur­pris­ing since polling through­out Ive­son’s term as mayor has shown strong and grow­ing ap­proval.

At the same time, a whop­ping 35 per cent of re­spon­dents said they were un­de­cided less than a week be­fore they are ex­pected to cast their bal­lots.

“That’s very high at this stage in any elec­tion to have 35 per cent un­de­cided. For con­text, in Cal­gary at this time the un­de­cided is at nine per cent,” Maggi said.

“What it means is, likely some of those un­de­cided vot­ers aren’t go­ing to vote be­cause there are no re­ally strong con­tenders in this elec­tion against mayor Ive­son,” Maggi con­tin­ued.

Other is­sues proved more di­vi­sive, with re­spon­dents split on whether they would like to see Ed­mon­ton’s photo radar pro­gram re­placed with po­lice en­force­ment and dig­i­tal speed sig­nage.

“I think largely peo­ple be­lieve it is an in­tru­sive mea­sure, and so that’s why we’re see­ing th­ese re­sults,” Maggi said.

Over­all, 40 per cent of those polled wanted to see the photo radar pro­gram scrapped, while 38 per cent dis­agreed.

“It is an is­sue that is very di­vi­sive, so there is a cau­tion there in terms of the po­lit­i­cal cap­i­tal that any­body wants to spend on photo radar,” said Maggi.

The is­sue of bike lanes has been brought up in can­di­date fo­rums across the city, but the ma­jor­ity of those polled — 55 per cent — op­posed putting bike lanes on city streets while sup­port across var­i­ous age groups hov­ered around 30 per cent.

While bike lanes have proven to be a hot topic for con­stituents, Maggi doesn’t see it as a make or break is­sue for can­di­dates, say­ing ar­gu­ments over “nice-to-have” projects like bike lanes tend to crop up when op­ti­mism about the econ­omy is higher but tend to “fall to the way­side” dur­ing pe­ri­ods of eco­nomic pes­simism when peo­ple are more fo­cused on is­sues that af­fect their pock­et­books.

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