Poll puts Bagnell in the lead

New poll results show Liberal candidate Larry Bagnell in the lead in the Yukon with just over three weeks to go until the federal election.

New poll results show Liberal candidate Larry Bagnell in the lead in the Yukon with just over three weeks to go until the federal election.

Thirty-nine per cent of those polled said that they would vote for Bagnell if the vote were held tomorrow, or that they were leaning toward voting for him. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents said they favoured the NDP’s Melissa Atkinson, while 27 per cent supported Conservative incumbent Ryan Leef. Four per cent of respondents chose Green Party candidate Frank de Jong.

“It’s very exciting news,” Atkinson said. “It’s a validation of all of our hard work.” In the 2011 federal election, NDP candidate Kevin Barr garnered just 14 per cent of the vote.

Bagnell chose not to comment on the poll results. “The only real poll is on election day,” he said.

Bagnell was narrowly defeated by Leef in the 2011 election, though poll results prior to the election gave him a 20-point lead. He has previously said he believes part of the reason he lost was that people assumed he would win, and didn’t bother to vote for him.

The poll was sponsored by Leadnow, an organization aiming to help oust the Conservative government. Leadnow commissioned polls for 31 swing ridings across the country to give people the information they need to vote strategically and ensure Conservative candidates are not elected.

But de Jong hopes the poll results will have the opposite effect, and will show Yukoners that they don’t need to vote strategically in the coming election.

“The poll shows that the Conservatives will not win this riding,” he said. “Presumably a fair number of people will be able to revert back to who they originally wanted to vote for.”

Still, that logic could be exactly what led Leef to triumph during the last election. In 2011, Green Party candidate John Streicker took 19 per cent of the vote with 3,037 votes, the second-best result for the party after Leader Elizabeth May’s win in Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.

At the time, the Green and NDP candidates were accused of taking votes from Bagnell.

The poll was conducted by Environics Research, which surveyed 497 voters in the Yukon between Sept. 19 and 21. The results have a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Research associate Brenda Sharpe said respondents were not told that the poll was sponsored by Leadnow, and were not given information about Leadnow’s agenda.

Still, it’s difficult to say how accurate the results are, since the polling firm only surveyed those with directory-listed phone numbers and postal codes.

Contact Maura Forrest at

maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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