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Conservative focus on issues affecting immigrants backfiring in Metro Vancouver: poll

Last Updated Oct 8, 2015 at 8:43 am PDT

Stephen Harper (May, 2015) (File Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There’s a major shift underway in Metro Vancouver’s ethnic communities when it comes to which party they are supporting this federal election. New exclusive polling from Insights West shows support in these groups for the Conservatives is eroding.

Insights West‘s survey of Lower Mainland voters who identify as East Asian and South Asian finds only 14 per cent are planning to vote Conservative. That’s compared to 40 per cent voting Conservative during the last election in 2011.

Twenty-six per cent plan to vote Liberal and 23 per cent say they’ll vote NDP. Compare that to 14 and 11 per cent respectively in 2011.

Mario Canseco with Insights West believes this is the result of the Conservative focus on cultural issues like the niqab, citizenship and the Syrian refugee crisis.

“There’s not a lot of connection with the Conservatives at this point and Justin Trudeau seems to be hitting the right tone when it comes to citizenship, when it comes to other issues that are related to immigration and the refugee crisis. The voters in this area who used to come out for Conservatives are now looking at the Liberal candidates as the best choice.”

He suspects the Conservatives are shifting strategy and playing to their tradition base of Reform and Alliance voters. “There’s not a lot of talk about multiculturalism unless it’s in the context of trying to make everything more homogeneous and I think this might be backfiring on them.”

Canseco says it’s no longer enough for these voters that the candidate in their riding speaks their language or came from the same region as them. He tells us¬†they are paying attention to issues and are finding the Conservatives’ values aren’t aligning with their own.

But the real growing group here is the undecided.¬†Canseco explains 30 per cent say they don’t know how they’ll vote yet.

“You’re essentially losing a third of your base or a third of your base is not quite sure whether they want to vote for you in this election and this is definitely different. Usually the level of undecided tends to be a little bit lower at this stage in the game.”