Just days before voters decide who will be mayor of Saskatoon, a 650 CKOM/Insightrix Saskatoon civic election poll pegs three candidates as the top contenders in a close race.
Incumbent Don Atchison takes the lead with 28 per cent support, followed closely by political newcomer Kelley Moore at 24 per cent.
In third is former councillor Charlie Clark, earning 21 per cent support.
One per cent of people surveyed said they back last-minute candidate Devon Hein, while eight per cent withheld their preference.
Undecided voters make up 18 per cent of respondents. The proportion is consistent with a similar poll Insightrix conducted days before the 2012 civic election, when 21 per cent said they were undecided.
Looking at decided voters – those who know who they’re voting for or leaning towards – the race tightens up: Atchison is still ahead with 35 per cent support, but Kelley Moore effectively closes the gap at 34 per cent.
Clark also sees a boost to 30 per cent, while Hein remains at one per cent.
A total of 800 randomly-selected SaskWatch Research panel members took part in the online 650 CKOM/Insightrix Saskatoon civic election poll from Oct. 20-22.
The poll started immediately after the televised mayoral candidate debate last Thursday. Quotas were set by age and gender to match the general population of the city.
Since the research is conducted online, it is considered to be a non-probability proportion sample and therefore, margins of error are not applicable.
WILL THE PEOPLE VOTE?
Every vote counts – and this election is once again expected to see actual voter turnout being much lower than the intentions noted in the poll.
Results show 74% of people said they intend to cast a ballot on election day, while 12% said they’ve already voted at an advanced poll.
In a similar poll conducted by Insightrix shortly before the tight 2012 mayoral race between incumbent Atchison and Tom Wolfe, 76% of respondents said they intended to vote. The actual turnout, however, was 36 per cent.
For those who said they plan to vote Wednesday, 24% had watched or listened to at least part of the final mayoral debate aired on 650 CKOM and CTV Oct. 20.Of those who took in the debate, more than four in ten – or 43%t – said it had at least somewhat of an impact on their voting intentions. These changes were most notable among women.
AGE, GENDER OF CANDIDATE SUPPORT
The 650 CKOM/Insightrix Saskatoon civic election poll found some notable differences in candidate support based on age and gender.
Among decided voters, Atchison has greater support among the older demographic: 46% for those aged 55 and older, versus 23% support from voters aged 18 to 34.
The incumbent’s rookie rival is consistent among younger and middle-aged voters, age 18-54, with 34% support; however, Moore drops to 28% among those in the older age bracket.
The poll results indicate Clark has youth appeal, garnering 38 per cent support among 18-34 year olds. He sees a similar drop off as Moore with older voters, settling in at 24%.
Gender differences are also notable between those surveyed as Atchison earns stronger support from men, 40 per cent, than women, 31 per cent.
The opposite is true for Moore, who takes in 37 per cent support from women and 30 per cent from men.
There were no notable gender differences for Clark or Hein.
ATCHISON WIDENS LEADS, CLARK SURGES, MOORE TUMBLES IN MAINSTREET POLL
Meanwhile, another poll released Monday conducted by Mainstreet Research for Postmedia also shows Atchison in the lead, but there’s a change in second place.
Atchison widened his lead over last week from two to four percentage points.
The incumbent now has 32 per cent support, followed by Clark who vaulted into second place at 28 per cent.
Moore slipped to third at 20 per cent, while 3 per cent now back Devon Hein.
“Don Atchison’s lead is not insurmountable but with many of Kelley Moore’s soft supporters leaning towards Atchison – not Clark, it will be tough for the Clark campaign to peel off voters,” said David Valentin, Executive Vice-President of Mainstreet Research.
Seventeen per cent were undecided.