The NDP is leading in Esquimalt-Metchosin, but is virtually neck-and-neck with the Liberals in the Cowichan Valley as they try to hold two seats vacated by retiring MLAs in the provincial election, a new poll commissioned by the Times Colonist shows.
The Liberals had hoped to grab both NDP strongholds after the departure of Maurine Karagianis from the Esquimalt riding and Bill Routley from Cowichan Valley.
But NDP candidate Mitzi Dean looks to have a comfortable eight-percentage-point lead over Liberal candidate and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins with just two days until the general vote on Tuesday.
Andy MacKinnon of the B.C. Green Party is 12 points back, according to the telephone survey by Oraclepoll Research of Toronto.
The pollsters interviewed 300 voting-age people in the riding between Tuesday and Friday.
• 40 per cent of decided voters back Dean
• 32 per cent back Desjardins
• 28 per cent back MacKinnon
Thirteen per cent of those surveyed said they were undecided.
Karagianis won the old Esquimalt-Royal Roads riding in 2013 with 48 per cent of the vote. The Liberal candidate captured 29 per cent.
Oraclepoll president Paul Seccaspina said it appears unlikely the seat will change hands this time. “It looks like a safe riding for the NDP,” he said.
It’s more of a toss-up in Cowichan Valley, where Routley pulled 40 per cent of the vote in 2013, compared with nearly 35 per cent for Liberal candidate Steve Housser.
With Routley gone, Housser has a narrow two-percentage-point lead this time over NDP candidate Lori Iannidinardo and 13 points over Sonia Furstenau of the B.C. Green Party, the poll shows. It found:
• 37 per cent of decided voters back Housser
• 35 per cent back Iannidinardo
• 24 per cent back Furstenau
Fifteen per cent of those surveyed said they were undecided.
The Liberals and NDP are essentially tied in Cowichan Valley, Seccaspina said.
“If the Greens can pull even more NDP support away, the Liberals could pull that one out … depending on the level of voters showing up,” he said.
“It’s still a close race. It could go either way.”
The Cowichan Valley poll also questioned 300 voting-age residents.
Both polls have a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Oraclepoll conducted the survey by telephone — reaching private numbers as well as cellphones-only households — and using person-to-person interviewing, the company said.