Yukon Party could win another majority, says poll

If a territorial election were held today, Premier Dennis Fentie and his Yukon Party would likely win another majority, according to a new poll.

If a territorial election were held today, Premier Dennis Fentie and his Yukon Party would likely win another majority, according to a new poll.

Yukon-based DataPath Systems found that 46 per cent of decided voters would mark their ballot for Fentie.

NDP Leader Todd Hardy would receive 23 per cent of the vote compared to 21 per cent for Liberal Leader Arthur Mitchell.

But 32 per cent of Yukoners remain undecided about what party they would support in the next election.

They’re actually more sure of which presidential candidate they would support in the upcoming United States election.

Approval among territorial party leaders has dropped slightly from previous polls.

On a five-point scale, 24 per cent of respondents gave Fentie a four or five.

That’s down from 29 per cent in the fall.

The Liberals dropped dramatically to 12 per cent from 19 per cent in the fall and 22 per cent last spring.

High ratings for the NDP dropped back to the spring 2007 level of 10 per cent after rising to 15 per cent in the fall.

The lower popularity numbers mixed with an unusually high indecision rate could indicate a growing dissatisfaction with Yukon political parties, said DataPath partner Donna Larsen.

“It makes logical sense if the numbers are showing voters aren’t jumping on any bandwagons,” she said.

In the eight years DataPath has conducted the poll, undecided voters usually sat in the 25 to 28 per cent range.

The higher number of undecided voters is probably due to the fact the next election is still far away, said Larsen.

Many Yukoners mark their ballots based on their MLA, not necessarily the party leader, she added.

“That last-minute MLA decision is critical for Yukoners,” said Larsen.

She stressed that the non-commissioned poll is an indicator of voter moods, not an election prediction.

DataPath surveyed 324 Yukoners, 155 from Whitehorse and 169 from outside the city, between March 15 and 30.

The numbers are accurate 19 times out of 20 with a variability of 5.4 per cent.

Only 22 per cent of Yukoners are undecided about the US election, 10 per cent less than for a territorial election.

“The Yukon election is the furthest away in time, but likely the more relevant to voters here, so they would still be looking for information before making a decision,” said Larsen.

In the Democratic race, 40 per cent of Yukoners would prefer Barack Obama get the nomination to Hillary Clinton.

But 39 per cent of voters don’t care.

If Obama ran against Republican nominee John McCain, 69 per cent of Yukoners would vote for the Illinois senator if they could.

Fifty-five per cent would vote for Clinton over McCain if she were the Democratic nominee.

In federal politics, Green Party candidate John Streiker jumped ahead of the NDP, which has yet to nominate a candidate, with 11 per cent support compared to nine per cent.

Liberal MP Larry Bagnell still enjoys high approval rates among Yukoners with 55 per cent support of decided voters.

Support for new Conservative Party candidate Darrell Pasloski sits at 24 per cent.

Despite repeated visits from Conservative cabinet ministers toting bags of cash to the territory, 44 per cent of Yukoners disapprove of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Thirty-eight per cent of voters approve of his work so far, while 18 per cent don’t know.

In territorial politics, Yukon Party support is higher in rural areas than in Whitehorse.

Fifty per cent of rural voters support the Yukon Party compared to 45 per cent in the city.

Party support among men is higher than women, with 52 per cent of male voters probably voting Yukon Party compared to 40 per cent of women.

The Liberals and NDP have stronger support among women than men.

For the first time, education became a major issue for voters, ranking third among important issues facing Yukoners.

That might have something to do with the media coverage on education spending during the polling period, said Larsen.

When topics get a lot of space in papers, the interest in them spikes, she said.

“A year ago child-care subsidy issues were in the news and it became a major issues for voters (in the poll),” said Larsen.

The environment and economy remain the number 1 and 2 biggest issues for Yukoners.

This is the third poll in a row that shows the environment is the biggest concern for voters.

The economy had a lock on the top position for years, but 59 per cent of Yukoners feel the economy is stable and that means it’s less of a concern, said Larsen.

“It’s a function of the economy doing well,” she said.

“There isn’t a lot of bad publicity. If the economy starts to not work, people will start to complain.”

The environment remains the number 1 issue among voters who’ve decided to support the NDP, while health care is number 2.

The environment and education are top priorities among voters supporting the Yukon Party and the economy and education are major issues for Liberal voters.