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Nanaimo by-election may be a close race, but BC Liberals lead ahead of vote: poll

Last Updated Jan 28, 2019 at 3:11 pm PDT

(Source: iStock)

Plecas spending-scandal report may not be playing a large role in forming voter opinion in Nanaimo

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Nanaimo is at the political centre of the province this week, with the by-election in the riding set to decide who holds the balance of power in Victoria.

The latest poll suggests the BC Liberals are in the lead ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

According to Mainstreet Research, among decided and leaning voters, the Liberals have 44.7 per cent support while the NDP have 32.2 per cent. The Greens have 13.7 per cent while the BC Conservatives have seven per cent.

“The caution here is that voter turnout patterns in by-elections are always quite different,” Mainstreet CEO Quito Maggi said. “It might be a little bit closer than these numbers point to. I would expect on Wednesday that all the parties will throw absolutely every resource they have at this riding to get out the vote.”

Mainstreet Nanaimo 27jan2019 by on Scribd

Regardless, Maggi says the numbers out Monday morning suggest at least a narrow BC Liberal win.

If that ends up being the case, he points out the balance of power in BC Legislature will shift and favour the Liberals, setting the stage for the fall of the NDP-Green government and an early election call.

“Politics will get very interesting — if they weren’t already — all across BC,” Maggi told NEWS 1130.

Maggi believes the Plecas spending-scandal report that has rocked Victoria is not playing a large role in forming voter opinion in Nanaimo.

“I’m not sure that issue is going to play much into it. It certainly does in the overall picture, but not so much in the by-election,” he said. “By-elections are, by and large, organizational exercises. It’s whoever can get out the vote on Wednesday that is going to win this.”

Premier confident ahead of by-election

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan insists he is confident ahead of the by-election.

“The people of Nanaimo have voted NDP for a long, long time. Sheila Malcolmson is an outstanding candidate,” Horgan said. “We have a government that’s focused on making life better for people, reducing costs for people and I think that’s what the people of Nanaimo are looking for.”

When asked about the poll’s results, Horgan would only say that polls offer a snapshot of time.

As for whether he’d be forced to ask for an early provincial election in the case of a defeat, Horgan would only say we’ll have to wait for Thursday for the answer to that question.

He says he’s not worried about speaker Darryl Plecas having too much power in the event the legislature was split right down the middle.

“We’ve got a government that’s focused on making life better for people and that has been missing for a decade and a half,” he adds. “The same message that we’ve had since we were sworn in, how do we make life better? How do we create opportunity for people? And that’s what we’ve been doing not just in Nanaimo but right across the province.”

The polling company surveyed 753 voters in Nanaimo between January 23rd and 24th. The margin of error on this survey is +/- 3.54% and is accurate 19 times out of 20.