Former Mayor Doug McCallum is holding the lead in this fall's election campaign.

Election 2014: McCallum holding the lead, poll says

City of Surrey: Online survey shows former mayor has the vote of 40 per cent of decided voters.

Former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum has the lead in the municipal election campaign, according to a poll released this week.

The poll, conducted by Insights West earlier this month, shows almost half  (48 per cent) of Surrey voters are undecided. Out of those who know which mayoralty candidate they prefer, 40 per cent say it’s McCallum, followed by Surrey First mayoralty candidate Coun. Linda Hepner (32 per cent), One Surrey’s Coun. Barinder Rasode (21 per cent), Independent John Edwards (seven per cent) and Vikram Bajwa (independent) at one per cent.

In the online survey of a representative sample of Surrey residents, 55 per cent of respondents say crime is the most important issue facing the city – a 10-point increase since a survey conducted by Insights West in July. Transportation is a distant second at 14 per cent, followed by economic development (nine per cent) and poverty (six per cent ).

McCallum held the lead among those who were asked who was the best person to handle specific issues.

The former three-term mayor holds a slight edge on six of them, including: city finances and taxation (18 per cent); economic development (18 per cent ); transportation (18 per cent ); crime (17 per cent ); development (17 per cent ); and housing (16 per cent ).

Hepner is ahead on three issues: parks and recreation (17 per cent ); arts and culture (16 per cent ); and the environment (15 per cent ). McCallum and Hepner are tied on who would be the best candidate to deal with poverty (12 per cent ).

Among decided voters, McCallum’s support is highest among male residents (46 per cent ), people aged 18 to 34 (42 per cent ) and those aged 35 to 54 (41 per cent ), while Hepner holds the lead among women (36 per cent ) and those aged 55 and over (41 per cent ).

In the race for city council, 38 per cent  of Surrey residents say they are likely to give at least one of their votes to Surrey First, while 36 per cent  would give at least one vote to the Safe Surrey Coalition. Three in 10 residents (31 per cent ) are likely to support independent candidates.

Only nine per cent of Surrey residents say they are following the electoral campaign “very closely” and a further 42 per cent  are doing so “moderately closely.” Half of Surrey residents (49 per cent ) are either following the campaign “not too closely” or “not closely at all.”

“There are many residents of Surrey who have not been immersed in the mayoral campaign,” Mario Canseco, vice-president of public affairs at Insights West said in a release. “The candidates need to establish a meaningful connection with the high number of residents who plan to vote, but have not settled on anyone yet.”

Results are based on an online study conducted from Oct. 3-6 among 520 residents of the City of Surrey who are aged 18 and over and are Your Insights panel members.

While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, Insights West has assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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