Vast Majority of Metro Vancouver Residents Undecided on Candidates but Most Agree it is Time for Change in Upcoming Municipal Elections

Two thirds of Metro Vancouverites are overwhelmed by the number of candidates and are having a difficult time finding meaningful information about them.

Vancouver, BC – With less than a week remaining until British Columbia’s civic elections take place, the latest Insights West poll finds that most Metro Vancouver residents are still on the fence about which candidates to vote for.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 1,000 Metro Vancouver adults, 70% say they are “very likely” to vote in the upcoming municipal elections but, despite this enthusiasm, only one-in-five (22%) likely voters have decided which candidates they are going to vote for. While the remainder are largely planning to do more research before deciding (68%), a handful are either forgoing further research (8%), are making a random selection (1%) or admit they are not sure (1%).

Voter sentiment is restless as almost seven-in-ten Metro Vancouver residents (69%) agree that it is time for a change of government in their municipalities. Those that most strongly agree with this statement reside in Surrey (80%) and Vancouver (78%) where there is no incumbent mayoral candidate.

As with our last provincial election, housing is a key issue in this year’s municipal elections. Housing affordability is seen as the most important issue facing Metro Vancouver communities by a large margin relative to other issues (24%), followed by rental availability (15%). All other issues, such as traffic congestion (11%), crime and public safety (8%), homelessness (6%), taxes (also 6%) and public transit (5%) rank much further down on the list of priorities.

Although housing affordability ranks the highest across all of Greater Vancouver, it is of greatest importance for Burnaby (30%) and Vancouver (28%) residents. Rental availability is a fairly close second for those in Vancouver and Burnaby (21% and 19%, respectively), while crime and public safety (20%) is a high priority for those residing in Surrey. Metro Vancouver residents located outside of these three areas cite traffic congestion (16%) as a significant concern in their communities and will likely be looking at how candidates propose to tackle this issue when making their selections.

More than four-in-five Metro Vancouverites (86%)—a number consistent across all regions—agree that municipal elections are important and a large proportion (72%) feel that there are good, qualified candidates running for office in their municipalities. However, two-thirds (66%) are having a difficult time finding good or meaningful information about them. Many (63%) are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of candidates running for office, particularly in Vancouver (82%) where a record 158 candidates, including 21 mayoral candidates, are vying for only 27 positions.

Even though over half of residents (55%) are closely following news regarding these elections, more than two-fifths (44%) are finding it to be too much effort to figure out who to vote for.

“Despite low expected turnouts, the vast majority of the electorate has expressed a desire for change in municipal politics,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “However, one of the biggest challenges in municipal elections, is finding comprehensive information about the candidates and their platforms. Residents believe municipal elections are important—but they struggle with the effort involved in making an informed decision as well as the overwhelming number of choices to be made.”

Lastly, about a third of Metro Vancouverites residing outside of the city of Vancouver (33%) are closely following the municipal election in that city. One-in-five (21%) even feel that the outcome of Vancouver’s municipal election is more important than that of their own community.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 6 – 8, 2018, among a representative sample of 1,000 adult residents of Metro Vancouver, who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
President, Insights West
778.379.1140
stevemossop@insightswest.com