Election remains up for grabs

With more than half of voters still undecided and many ridings locked in tight races, the outcome of the Yukon's territorial election remains too close to call, according to a poll released today by DataPath Systems.

With more than half of voters still undecided and many ridings locked in tight races, the outcome of the Yukon’s territorial election remains too close to call, according to a poll released today by DataPath Systems.

The poll was conducted between Sunday and Thursday.

It found popular support for the Yukon Party had fallen by five per cent, brining it into a dead heat with the NDP at 35 per cent. It also found Liberal support has surged by 11 points, to 26 per cent. Most of that gain came at the expense of the Yukon Party.

Support for the fledgling Green and Yukon First Nation parties has shrunk to four per cent, from 10.

RELATED:Read all of our election coverage.

But with four days left in the campaign, only 68 per cent of respondents had fully made up their minds.

The elderly are more likely to have decided, while about half of those under 35 haven’t fully made up their minds.

The Yukon Party’s support is strongest in rural communities, among voters older than 50, and those working in the private sector. The NDP’s core supporters are in Whitehorse, where they have 37 per cent of their vote, among those between the ages of 35 and 50.

The Liberals’ greatest weakness appears to be its leader, Arthur Mitchell. When respondents were asked who they’d prefer to see as premier, Mitchell placed third.

More surprisingly, only 70 per cent of Liberal voters reported they wanted to see him lead the territory, while 23 per cent preferred NDP Leader Liz Hanson.

In comparison, the majority of respondents, and 92 per cent of NDP voters, wanted to see Hanson as premier.

Yukon Party Leader Darrell Pasloski’s popularity remained middle of the pack. But the support of voters rooting for the governing party is far more solid than that of other parties.

Asked why they were not voting for other parties, 34 per cent of those not voting Liberal were doing so because they disliked Mitchell.

In comparison, 27 per cent of voters who oppose the Yukon Party do so because they don’t trust them. And 26 per cent of voters who won’t vote NDP report it’s because of the party’s policies.

Door-to-door encounters with candidates proved to be the biggest influence on how nearly half of respondents would vote, followed by media reports, friends and family, national party policies, brochures and debates.

Yukon Party supporters are the least likely to be swayed by any sort of publicity. Liberal supporters reported that they shaped their views on door-to-door meetings and the opinions of friends and family. New Democrats were more likely to depend on news reports.

Yukoners are almost equally torn between voting for party policies or individual candidates in their ridings. The older the respondent, the more likely their ballot would be cast for policy reasons.

Policy mattered more to those voting NDP or Yukon Party. One-third of Liberal supporters primarily supported their candidate, while one-quarter did so because they disliked the current government.

The non-commissioned poll was conducted using a mix of 51 randomized telephone surveys and 306 online surveys. Online respondents were drawn from a pool of people initially reached with a random call.

Had the poll been done entirely by telephone, it would be considered valid to 5.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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