The latest Research Co. poll suggests that a former NDP MP is in a good position to become Vancouver's next mayor.
Kennedy Stewart has the support of 24 percent of respondents, compared to 14 percent for the NPA's Ken Sim and 11 percent for independent Shauna Sylvester.
It was based on an online survey of 402 adults and has a plus or minus ratio of 4.9 percent, 19 times out of 20.
Among decided voters, Stewart is at 34 percent. Sim is well behind at 20 percent and Sylvester has the backing of 16 percent.
Trailing them among decided voters are Yes Vancouver's Hector Bremner (10 percent), Pro Vancouver's David Chen and Coalition Vancouver's Wai Young (both at 7 percent), and Vancouver 1st's Fred Harding (4 percent).
Stewart is supported by 34 percent of respondents who said they voted for Vision Vancouver's Gregor Robertson in the 2014 election, as well as by 16 percent of those who said they voted for the NPA's Kirk LaPointe and 55 percent who claimed to have cast ballots for COPE's Meena Wong.
Sim is only supported by 32 percent who voted for LaPointe, whereas Sylvester is backed by 13 percent of LaPointe's voters and just 10 percent of those who voted for Robertson in 2014.
According to the pollster, Mario Canseco, the questions were only asked in English and no political candidate or party financed the survey.
In the meantime, Stewart has released a new campaign video, which you can see below.
If the Research Co. numbers are accurate, they suggest that both Stewart and Sylvester are eating into the NPA base.
This could be a bad omen for Sim, given that the election is less than two weeks away.
The NPA already had a structural problem going into the election campaign. That's because its traditional area of strength—the southwest side of Vancouver—has not densified at nearly near the same pace as other areas of the city over the past two decades.
It means there are proportionally fewer votes coming out of neighbourhoods like Shaughnessy, Point Grey, Dunbar, and Southlands.
So while Sim might appear to be doing well in the sign war on the West Side, these neighbourhoods carry less weight in Vancouver elections than they did in the 1980s and 1990s.
In a curious coincidence, voting patterns in Vancouver municipal elections were covered extensively in Stewart's SFU master's thesis in 1995.
Appendix I in Stewart's thesis examined voter engagement in Vancouver mayoral elections on a poll-by-poll basis from 1958 to 1993, when turnout on the West Side dwarfed that in East Side neighbourhoods like Grandview-Woodland.
In recent elections, those patterns have changed dramatically, which helped account for Vision Vancouver's three consecutive victories between 2008 and 2014.