Poll has Anton (42.8%) within striking distance of Robertson (48.7%)

Is Robertson’s dithering over Occupy Vancouver costing him thousands of potential votes?

Only a couple of weeks ago I was quoted in the Vancouver Sun stating it would take a "herculean" effort for Suzanne Anton to defeat Gregor "Goliath" Robertson. I took a lot of heat from the folks over at the NPA for that comment. They clearly disagreed with my assessment. However, if the most recent poll results are accurate, it looks like I may have been too quick to write off Anton’s campaign.

According to a new poll conducted by Abington Research, Anton and her NPA team are now within striking distance of Robertson and Vision Vancouver. Robertson is tracking at 48.7% while Anton has 42.8% amongst decided voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4% nineteen times out of twenty.

Only a few weeks ago, Justason Market Intelligence indicated that a whopping 68% of decided voters were going to cast their ballot for Robertson compared to only 32% for Anton.

I have no doubt the dithering and indecision we’ve seen from Robertson over the last three weeks regarding Occupy Vancouver has impacted voters. Whether it’s open line radio or the letters to the editor page, there is a real sense that a shift is taking place on the ground.

What must concern the backroom operatives in Vision Vancouver is the fact 43% of Vancouverites want a change in government, while only 36% are prepared to support the status quo. It is important to note that the pollster was in the field prior to the death of an Occupy Vancouver protester and the City losing its bid for a quick court injunction. One can only assume that has further eroded Robertson’s support.

Here is a breakdown of the poll results:

In terms of trends, Robertson has been holding his own over the last several weeks. However, he has not been experiencing any growth in popularity as Vancouverites firm up who they plan to vote for on November 19th.

If you look at the red line below, Anton has been on a steady trajectory upwards. With one week left in the campaign, it is possible she could even overtake the Mayor before people head to the polls.


In terms of Occupy Vancouver, most voters aren’t impressed with Robertson’s mishandling of the illegal encampment. More of the general public think Robertson has done a poor job (53%) on handling the ‘occupy’ protests than a good job (39%). As previously noted, this poll was conducted before the tragic death of Ashlie Gough.


It’s pretty clear voters are in sync with what Suzanne Anton has been espousing regarding the tent city since it was set up back on October 15th. The protest is okay, but the tents have to go. Only 16% of voters are fine with leaving these tents up past the civic election. If you recall, Robertson told the Vancouver Sun he thought the illegal encampment could stay up "indefinitely". He also continues to support the protesters with free power, water, garbage pickup, recyclying & 24/7 security.


On the issue of affordable housing, amazingly both the NPA and Vision Vancouver are tied for public support. I would have assumed that Vision would have been well ahead on this one.


There are a lot of rumours swirling around that COPE is about to get wiped off the electoral map. Without a mayoral candidate to call their own, Woodsworth, Louis and Aquino are all heading for defeat. It appears the same fate is in store for high profile councillors such as Vision Vancouver’s Geoff Meggs.

The odds are very high we will have an NPA/Vision/Green council. And if the vote tightens up further, it may come down to the Green Party’s Adriane Carr holding the sacred "swing" vote on council.

Needless to say, Mayor Gregor and his Vision team may regret how poorly they’ve treated the Green Party over the last three years. Just imagine Mayor Gregor having to go cap in hand to Carr asking to purchase more stationary for his office. How ironic would that be!

I may not have thought Anton had a chance a couple of weeks ago. But as they say "a week is an eternity in politics." After looking at this poll, it’s clear the NPA now has a reasonable shot of victory – assuming they can get their vote out and none of their candidates have a major gaffe.

The Vancouver Sun also has a front page story about the poll. They state:

The poll was one of three done by Abingdon Research, whose owner is Hamish Marshall, a former pollster with Angus Reid and Ipsos Reid. It built on the two previous polls he did in August and October, and was done in early November before the rising tensions and overdose death of a woman in the Occupy Vancouver camp, which Marshall believes would further delineate issues for voters.

In his executive summary, Marshall said the results show that “the NPA is now on track for four council seats” and that respondents believe Anton and the party are the best choice on economic, transportation, spending control and crime-fighting issues.

SPECIAL NOTE: On November 19th I will be on the CKNW election night desk from 7 pm – 10 pm. Following that I will be on the air at CTV’s downtown studios from 10 pm – 11:30 pm for full election coverage. Be sure to tune in!

– Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/citycaucus.


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  • Really

    Have more faith in the people of Vancouver. They will reject the negativity and the misinformation put out by the NPA in a desperate attempt to get elected. The latest example is occupy.
    According to the Sun, even Charles Gauthier of the Downtown Vancouver Business Association, hardly a big fan of the Mayor, supports the City’s decision not to try to stop the tents.
    Gauthier said the city’s lastminute change of tactics was probably the correct decision.
    “I went down on that first day [Oct. 15],” said Gauthier. “I think it would have been very difficult to stay with that original plan. There were a lot of people down there, and a lot of media.
    Gauthier said he has weekly conference calls with officials from other North American downtown business groups and that no other North American city, other than London, Ont., has been able to successfully dismantle a tent city. Gauthier said the encampment at the VAG is “problematic,” but added that his group is pleased that there has been no property destruction and that downtown employees have not been traumatized by protesters.
    “To us, what was paramount was to not have a mini-version of the June 15 riot, occurring on Oct. 15, three months after the fact.”

  • Joe

    It is a very tight race right now. I would give the advantage to Robertson and Cupe 1004 President Mike Jackson. A deal was made between them to to have 5000 city workers take a extra paid 30 minute break to be able to vote at the union election earlier this week as good faith. Over 300 workers took the polls and the other 4700 took a extra 30 minutes on the taxpayers dime. The cost to the taxpayers 90,000. Keeping the zoo, 150000. Makes sense??? This move should put Robertson over the edge. Back door deals are great way of doing business.

  • Julia

    Really: remember that Charles Gauthier has to work with whoever gets elected on Nov 19 and the last thing he can afford to do is pick sides. He gets slammed the minute he takes one foot off the tightrope.
    Diplomacy is his middle name so I would not take his comments as a glowing endorsement of the Mayor.

  • KWL

    If the NPA are indeed on track for four council seats then I predict the four councillors will end up being George Affleck, Elizabeth Ball, Sean Bickerton, and Joe Carangi. What an all star cast that is.

  • james

    Gauthier’s comments were lame and maybe he’ll be getting the boot along with Robertson next week. A number of his members like Hotel Georgia and Hotel Vancouver must be shaking their head at his stupid remarks. Enough butt covering for the mayor already Charlie! Scoring brownie points with the mayor won’t get you anywhere.
    His only saving grace is he didn’t deny the committee made recommendations to prevent occupy tents, merely that the city management changed their minds at the last minute.
    Word of advice to Gauthier – stop talking to the press cuz you are digging a deeper hole for yourself.

  • Julia

    James, you just proved my point.

  • Jeff L

    Actually he did deny that the committee made any recommendations about the tents.
    Why not read the story and not just the NPA press release?

  • greg

    This means she only is 3% behind if the votes come from the existing mayor.
    The NPA needs to have a massive GOTV effort on election day.

  • Really

    Maybe so but Gauthier’s comments is a total rebuke of Anton’s strategy or lack there of. It is clear that there could have been a riot if she was in charge. We need to make sure that does not happen. It is obvious that the NPA is not ready for prime time.

  • 2 Funny

    “It is clear that there could have been a riot if she was in charge. We need to make sure that does not happen.”
    Ha, ha, ha, ha. This is in contrast to Mayor Moonbeam who already incited a riot by inviting 150,000 people downtown to party and drink their face off.
    I don’t think Visionistas should be going down this road. A losing proposition.
    I have a feeling a quiet majority of people will vote NPA next week. They may not publicly say anything, but they’ve had enough of the juiceman.

  • gman

    Gauthier seems to think the businesses in the area have somehow dodged a bullet,well I think he will be disappointed,it wont matter if its a week or a month from now when the tents are eventually taken down it wont be pretty.One thing we will see is how devoted to the cause the protesters are by how many get up the day after the tents are gone and show up to carry on the protest.Are they protesters or are they campers?

  • Really

    And there were no mass gatherings downtown for the NPA’s riot back in 94. When are you guys going to accept that there were people that wanted to riot no matter what. In fact, if there was no central gathering place, there could have been riots all over downtown and the damage could have been worse. It was the rioters fault. Bottom line.

  • George
  • Leon

    Her previously enormous gap is now tightening up on the “juice man”; and all because of the spirited action at the vag. Lolz…

  • gman

    No Leon, its because Gregors play day is over and its time for the grownups to come in and clean up his mess.

  • Leon

    You’re as humorless as you are predictable.

  • Julia

    Gman, I doubt that Mr. Gauthier nor his Board of directors are that naive to think they have dodged a bullet. They are caught hoping for the best and expecting the worst. What other option do they have.

  • gman

    Julia I do agree with that,so now they are left in the uncomfortable position of knowing the can has only been kicked down the road and that is unfortunate.

  • Laura

    Until occupy Vancouver is out of the downtown, I’m NOT shopping there for xmas stuff.
    Why would I? Possibility of protests clogging the streets? Traffic snarl ups. Guys with hoodies and masks walking the streets.
    I think Mr. Gauthier should rethink his position that allowing these morons to camp downtown was a good thing.
    Maybe if we ALL stopped shopping downtown until occupy was cleared out he (and his pal Robertson) would get the message.
    Frustrated shopper

  • miguel

    Who cares what he thinks? Elected by no one. In the words of Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly, “Our parks are for all of the public, not an unregulated campground for some.”

  • Max

    There are those at the Occupy Van camp that are set for violence regardless of who is in charge.

  • Julia

    Laura, I don’t think Mr. Gauthier has any say in this matter whatsoever. His job is to try and turn lemons into lemonade for his constituents whether that is the Olympics, the Stanley Cup riots, or Occupy Vancouver.
    All he can do is advocate for his members and hope for the best.
    Boycotting downtown only serves to hurt those businesses that are already feeling the pinch rather than sending a message to the politicians who quite frankly could care less about business survival in the city of Vancouver.
    At the very least, please support other commercial areas of our city. Vancouver has lots to offer. Spending our money online, in other municipalities or across the border does nothing to support a vibrant and healthy city. Hopefully, when you are ready to venture downtown again, those businesses you like shopping at will still be there.

  • Everyman

    You should check your facts. Halifax managed to get rid of their Occupy nest quite easily. Mayor Kelly actually had the gumption to tell protesters he was returnign the park to the publci at large, rather than let it be held hostage by a small special interest group. Imagine, bold action from a mayor!

  • Really

    Clearly you have no idea of the concept of risk. Yes, there is the possibility that Occupy could have been cleared with no problems occurring but there is also the possibility that it could have gone badly. You should check out Oakland. Quite frankly, these decisions are best left to people who know more the situation on the ground and have experience in dealing with protests. Armchair advice from anonymous Internet commenters is rarely of any use.

  • Really

    The lastest f-up by the NPA is that they “forgot” to put Anton on a brochure. If these guys can’t even manage that, how does anyone expect that they can run the city.

  • Max

    Give it a rest.
    I could detail the ‘F-ups’ of Vision, but I wouldn’t be finished come election day.
    And let’s not get into the obvious ‘fibs’ on their direct mail out piece.
    Funny, another blogger called them out on it – the ‘Fudge o’meter’, yet they still put them in print.
    And if they are willing to lie about the little things – things that can be easily disputed, then what else are they willing to lie about.

  • Max

    3 deaths at 3 different occupy camps in the US and each of those camps are being shut down.
    Salt Lake City – one OD and the plug is pulled.
    In Vancouver 1 death and 2 OD’s = a shrug your shoulders response.
    For those stating OD’s happen everyday in the DTES – it should not be an acceptable ‘normal’. It is however a poor excuse.

  • Jeff L

    OD deaths in the downtown east side are not acceptable. But neither is demonizing the tent city for one OD death, suspected to be an OD. Unless you can show that the tent city caused it.

  • Jeff L

    I don’t think they forgot, I think they decided they had a better chance without her. Simply a stategic move.

  • gman

    Really, Armchair advice from anonymous Internet commenters is rarely of any use.So Really is your name,are you like Cher or Bono.As far as risk management I would think Anton sending a clear message so all parties know exactly where they stand is a good beginning and her walking into the crowd and having a conversation should be appreciated by those involved.Compare that honesty with what the Mayor did,hand out extension cords,tell them they can stay as long as they like,because he is just so progressive,call in the fire chief so he can hide behind the chiefs decision,then put it in front of the court,with the hope they will kick the can down the road till after the election.No Really,its the Mayor who is treating the protesters like chumps.The best way to remove a bandaid is fast and decisively.Even on the first day there was only a very small group intent on violence and their still there,if the police would have occupied the grounds first we might not even be having this little talk.

  • Jeff L

    “Really, Armchair advice from anonymous Internet commenters is rarely of any use”
    Said the anonymous internet commenter, right before adding another 162 words of advice!
    That just seems humourous to this anonymous internet commenter.

  • Jeff L

    News flash for you. All politicians portray their accomplishments in the most favourable light.
    You can decry Vision for using stats on street homeless vs all homeless (as an example) if you like. But then you should consider the NPA’s description of business license growth in their mailout. They should have acknowledged the growth in business licenses under Vision/COPE since 2008 and not selectively edited the quote to include the shrinkage under previous adminstrations in their attack. It is good to see the growth in business licenses, particularly considering the economic climate since 2008.
    You have a very one-sided view of the world IMO.

  • Max

    Re-read your comment and then tell me again how ‘I’ have a one-sided vision of the world.
    Pot, kettle, black.

  • Jeff L

    You are a little confused, Max, I never suggested you had vision…

  • Max

    Jeff L:
    Thanks for bringing up the ‘moving’ homeless numbers and failed 2008 promise #1. (Wow – Vision sure used the homeless in 2008 to get in and since then, temporary shelters and no new social housing.)
    I was referring to their ‘claims’ regarding the 1500 new social housing units – that they are ‘directly’ responsible for.
    But hey – according to their mailer, they are on track for 38,000 new units of affordable housing, which is interesting considering 1100 units from the NPA and Minister Coleman’s 2007 agreement are still in a no start situation and well, then there is Little Mountain…..

  • Jeff L

    Of course I brought it up. My point was that it is common on both sides. Once more with feeling now:
    “News flash for you. All politicians portray their accomplishments in the most favourable light.”
    You are the one that can’t see exacctly the same sort of slant in all the NPA pamphlets. Hence my suggestion of you having a one-sided view. Now what was that about pots and kettles?