SURREY â€” Two new polls released this week show candidates Linda Hepner and Doug McCallum trading lead spots in the race to replace Dianne Watts as Surrey’s mayor.
The first poll, commissioned by Surrey First and released Monday, shows Hepner in the lead with fellow candidates McCallum and Barinder Rasode in second and third, respectively.
The telephone poll was conducted by the Innovative Research Group between Oct. 6 and 12 and surveyed 300 residents.
Of those surveyed, 27 per cent said they would vote for Hepner, 22 per cent for McCallum and 15 per cent for Rasode. Thirty-two per cent said they were still undecided while three per cent said they would be voting for another candidate. Two per cent said they would not be voting at all. The margin of error for the poll is listed as 5.7 per cent.
However, the second poll, released Tuesday (Oct. 21) by Mainstreet Technologies, showed McCallum in the lead with 22 per cent, Hepner in second with 20 per cent and Rasode in third with eight per cent. Five per cent of those surveyed by Mainstreet were voting for someone else, while 45 per cent remained undecided.
The total number of participants in Mainstreet Technologies’ poll was 1,584 and was conducted on Oct. 20 using automated phone surveys. Mainstreet’s margin of error is listed as 2.46 per cent and only focused on mayoral candidates while Innovative’s poll looked at other aspects such as election issues.
In the Innovative Research Group’s poll, crime remained the top of mind issue for most residents at 36 per cent, while keeping property taxes down and reducing wasteful spending at city hall were both tied for second at 16 per cent each.
As for those who might dismiss the poll for it being commissioned by Surrey First, Greg Lyle, president of Innovative Research Group, said the company would have no benefit in producing polls favourable to one side over another.
â€œWe normally do polls for the media and if we go in and screw around with the numbers for a local poll we destroy our chances of being able to do anymore of that sort of research,â€ he said. â€œI suspect if the numbers werenâ€™t as good they wouldnâ€™t have released it. From our perspective thereâ€™s no upside in cooking the numbers for us.â€
Lyle added the sample of 300 residents were weighted by age, gender and region using information from Statistics Canada in order to provide a demographic representation close to that of Surreyâ€™s. Mainstreet Technologies’ poll primarily interviewed those aged 35 and up, with 12 per cent of respondents in the 18 to 35 range.
The poll comes a week after a different poll by Insights West put Doug McCallum as the lead mayoral candidate with Hepner and Rasode coming in second and third respectively. That poll was conducted online and surveyed 520 Surrey residents.
The 2014 civic election takes place Nov. 15.