A new survey financed by the activist group Leadnow has found that Conservative party support in 13 swing ridings across Canada has dropped significantly -- and provides polling data for residents who want to vote strategically in those competitive constituencies to defeat the local Tory candidate.
The Leadnow poll, conducted by Environics between August 15 and 18, indicates the Tories are in serious trouble in three new battleground ridings in B.C.: Port Moody-Coquitlam, Vancouver-Granville and West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country.
Leadnow is promoting strategic voting in the federal election to defeat the Stephen Harper government. The group has commissioned polling to help anti-Conservative voters in those ridings identify the opposition candidate best positioned to defeat the Tories.
In Vancouver-Granville, New Democrat Mira Oreck has emerged as the candidate with the best shot of beating the Conservatives, leading with 32 per cent of support, according to the new poll. Conservative Erinn Broshko has 27 per cent while support for Liberal Jody Wilson-Raybould is at 21 per cent.
Leadnow executive-director Lyndsay Poaps said her group is not ready to endorse the NDP's Oreck as the clear front-runner among the opposition candidates.
"This is just the first poll, and we are going to poll again. This isn't conclusive; it's just giving people a state-of-play of what is going on in that riding."
Poaps said that a second poll will be conducted in September in most of the 13 ridings, with potentially a third round in October in ridings where one of the opposition candidates does not have a clear lead. In the final weeks of the campaign, Leadnow will ask its "community" -- people who have signed its strategic voting pledge -- whether it wants to formally endorse a candidate in the 13 swing ridings where it is polling.
Six in 10 willing to vote strategically
Anti-Conservative strategic voters could have a difficult time making a choice in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country where the Liberal and NDP candidates are far ahead, according to the poll, and Tory support has fallen by 23 points.
Liberal Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, a former West Vancouver mayor, has 29 per cent of support, compared to New Democrat Larry Koopman at 26 per cent and Tory incumbent John Weston at 22 per cent. Despite the decline in Tory support, Weston could score a narrow victory if the anti-Conservative vote remains evenly divided.
In the new riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam, NDP candidate Fin Donnelly leads by a two-to-one margin, with support from 49 per cent of voters, compared to Conservative candidate Tim Laidler at 24 per cent and Liberal Jessie Adcock at 13 per cent.
The poll also found that six in 10 voters are willing to vote strategically for the candidate with the best chance of beating the Conservative candidate, based on local polling information.
"Obviously, we are excited that 62 per cent of people are willing to change their vote in order to defeat the Conservative candidate," Poaps said.
Poaps said the poll results match other national polls conducted in recent weeks, "which is reassuring, but we wanted to get a real bead on what is happening at the local level, and this is what that is."
Overall, the Conservatives are down 14 percentage points from 2011 in the 13 ridings, according to the Environics poll.
Environics said that it polled 7,573 voters in the 13 ridings, and that a survey of that size can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 1.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The sample sizes used in the B.C. polling were 511 voters in Port Moody-Coquitlam with a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points; 482 in Vancouver-Granville with a margin of error of 4.5; and 582 in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country with a margin of error of 4.1.