Supporters of Surrey First react as early numbers come in on election night at Central City Brew Pub.

Election 2014: Surrey First swept 82% of the polls

Analysis: Overwhelming win was interrupted only by 11 polls taken by former mayor Doug McCallum and one by Barinder Rasode.

Mayor-Elect Linda Hepner and her Surrey First team not only won the election, but they took more than four out of five polling stations in the city.

Hepner won 53 of the 65 polling stations. Her Surrey First team was also installed in all of those voting areas.

There were 52 voting places on Election Day and 13 voting opportunities by mail and in advance of Nov. 15.

Doug McCallum took 11 polling stations, eight of them in West Newton, and three of them in East Newton.

He didn’t take a single polling station south of 63 Avenue.

He also failed to garner any wins north of 96 Avenue, possibly due to his harsh campaign criticism of the popular new city hall in North Surrey.

The polling stations where McCallum was favoured were situated in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, and while voters there supported the former mayor, they didn’t back his Safe Surrey team entirely.

Most votes in those polling stations went to four or five candidates with ethnic names and included those from Barinder Rasode’s One Surrey, Hepner’s Surrey First and an independent (Saira Aujla).

Rasode only took one polling spot, “election headquarters.”

Rasode also faired quite poorly in the ethnic ridings, coming in third behind both Hepner and McCallum.

Hepner was successful in a vast majority of the ridings, some by a much greater margin.

She did extremely well in South Surrey and almost tripled McCallum’s votes in Cloverdale.

She also fared well in Guildford, perhaps due to her promise of an at-grade commuter rail from the SkyTrain to that community, which she vowed to have in place by 2018.

In 81 per cent of the ridings, Surrey voters overwhelmingly chose to keep the status quo.

Those results pair well with polls prior to the election that showed Surrey First Mayor Dianne Watts had a 75-per-cent job approval rating, which one pollster called one of the highest of any elected official in the country.

Rasode said Tuesday the election result “speaks to Mayor Watts’ legacy.”

And while it worked out well for Surrey First, figures show people were voting strategically, or “plumping” by voting for fewer than a full council.

Figures show the average voter chose only 6.68 councillors of the possible eight.

Part of the reason plumping occurs is to better ensure the candidates you vote for are elected.

The other significant figure in this election was the voter turnout of 36.29 per cent. It was the largest turnout since 1990, even surpassing the electoral brawl between Watts and McCallum in 2005, which saw 35 per cent of the electorate come out and vote.

Part of this year’s showing at the polls could be explained by having three strong candidates running for mayor who were working heavily to get the vote out.

However, the mere fact that Surrey First won so many of the polling stations indicates some of that turnout will have been  people showing up to defend the status quo.

Watts leads one more council meeting on Dec. 1. The new mayor and council will be sworn in at the inaugural meeting on Dec. 8 at city hall.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

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