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UPDATE: Latest Dogwood poll shows tight race in Burnaby North-Seymour

The latest poll from Insights West shows the race for Burnaby North-Seymour rests between two candidates: the NDP and the Conservatives, but there’s still a large segment of undecided voters that could determine the final outcome.
Carol Baird Ellan
New Democrat candidate Carol Baird Ellan at the all-candidates meeting for Burnaby North-Seymour, with Liberal Terry Beech and Green Lynne Quarmby seated at the table.

The latest poll from Insights West shows the race for Burnaby North-Seymour rests between two candidates: the NDP and the Conservatives, but there’s still a large segment of undecided voters that could determine the final outcome.

Meanwhile, a second riding-specific poll released by Mainstreet and commissioned by Postmedia showed that for decided voters, Tory Mike Little was ahead with the NDP and Liberal candidate tied for second.

The Insights West poll commissioned by the Dogwood Initiative shows the NDP’s Carol Baird Ellan at 29 per cent and Little at 27 per cent, with Liberal Terry Beech in third with 17 per cent and Green Lynne Quarmby at seven per cent.

Insights West conducted the poll from Oct. 5 to 10 and used live telephone interviews with 400 randomly selected people, asking them only if they were going to vote and who they were going to vote for. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 per cent, which means the results could sway by nearly five per cent, making the NDP’s two-point lead on the Tories statistically insignificant, not to mention the large percentage (19) of undecided voters. Nonetheless, Baird Ellan said it reflects information collected through phone calls and door-knocking.

“We run into Conservatives at the doors; we don’t find Liberals,” she said.

Baird Ellan noted Insights West, which has done three polls for Burnaby North-Seymour this campaign period, has consistently put the NDP in the lead for the riding.

Beech, however, was not as pleased with the latest results and questioned the poll’s methodology. Instead, he’s looking at past voting patterns transposed on the new riding.

“In the history of this riding, based on actually votes cast, this riding has never been won by the NDP,” Beech said. “It’s a flawed methodology, and Dogwood is doing our riding a disservice by giving people bad information. I would suggest people look at, which looks at lots of polls, not just 400 (people).”

“The NDP just put out a very deceiving mailer using this exact same poll from five weeks ago making the same strategic voting argument with data they know is old and misleading,” he added. “I would encourage everyone: Do your own research online before you go to vote. Don’t worry about strategic voting, you should vote for the person that workshardest to earn your vote.”

Baird Ellan pushed back against aggregators, like Toronto Star’s Signal, using national data for local riding projections.

“Those aren’t polls,” she said. “They look at aggregate polls, and then they use a formula to project (riding results). They are inaccurate when it comes down to a specific riding, particularly in North Burnaby.”

While the poll has put Little in second, he was still cautious.

“Nineteen per cent undecided at this point is a really big number, but with five days left we don’t really have to wait too long to get to, really, the only poll that matters,” he said, referring to Election Day. “With 19 per cent undecided, I really don’t know how useful that data is.”

Little said he’s doing everything to get out the Conservative vote, and he’s not too concerned with polls at this point. 

Quarmby, who faces the most damage from the latest numbers, didn’t put much faith in the results, which she says “in no way” reflect the support she’s getting while door-knocking.

“I know that number is either an anomaly or it’s reflecting the insecurity people are feeling because of the big push for strategic voting,” she said. “Seven per cent would suggest I had gone out and robbed a bank or something. I know I have much more support than what’s reflected in that number.”

Like virtually all Green candidates across Canada, the biggest barrier Quarmby faces is convincing people that a vote for her will not split the left and benefit the Tories.

“The polls themselves are affecting the election, they’re not just taking the temperature. They’re actually having an effect, and that’s an important thing to be acknowledged,” she added.

The second poll, released by Mainstreet close to the NOW’s press time, showed the following: for respondents identifying as certain to vote, Conservative candidate Little was in the lead at 32 per cent, Beech (Liberal) and Baird Ellan (NDP) were tied for second with 24 per cent, Quarmby (Green) was pulling in eight per cent, and 12 per cent were certain they were undecided.

The poll was conducted using interactive voice response technology, meaning there was no live person interviewing the respondents. There were 716 respondents  contacted, on landlines and cellphones, between Oct. 9 and 10, and the margin of error is 3.65 per cent.