Metro Vancouver Transit Referendum: “No” side holds the advantage, but this campaign is 10 weeks long

by David Korzinski | March 16, 2015 1:00 am

New poll shows TransLink is a big liability for the “Yes” campaign.

March 16, 2015 – As ballots begin to arrive in Metro Vancouver mailboxes this week, a comprehensive poll from the Angus Reid Institute shows the “No” side with the early advantage.

Many respondents acknowledge traffic woes and are alive to how the region’s transportation system will absorb a growing population. In spite of this, the “Yes” side’s campaign looks to be weighed down with larger and continuing public concerns about TransLink and the potential for the proposed new tax money to be wasted.

Key Findings:

Angus Reid Institute

Angus Reid Institute

More Key Findings:

How the vote looks as ballots arrive:

Those surveyed by the Angus Reid Institute were presented with the ballot question:

“Do you support a new 0.5% Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax to be dedicated to the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit plan?”

At this point, a total of 61 per cent of those polled said they are leaning towards “No”, with two-in-five (39%) saying “definitely “No”, and 22 per cent “probably “No”.

Compare this with three-in-ten (27%) currently leaning towards “Yes”. Of this group: 10 per cent say “definitely “Yes” and 16 per cent “probably “Yes”. 12 per cent say they aren’t sure.

Looking across different population groups:

*This poll was conducted region-wide across Metro Vancouver, and is representative of the region’s population distribution across the various constituent municipalities. The survey results were examined across by region and municipality and, other than those noted here in the case of the overall “Yes”-”No” vote, there are no noteworthy consistent differences in the sub-regional results. Therefore, no other such results are reported.

Some key vote diagnostics

Voter turnout will be a major factor in this mail-in vote. This Angus Reid Institute poll finds the “Yes” and “No” sides equally likely to say they will actually vote (roughly half in each case).

There are two key diagnostic points to trouble “Yes” organizers as they push for traction:

TransLink a big problem for the “Yes” side

Much of the “No” side’s early advantage can be attributed to public distrust of TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s regional transportation authority.

Angus Reid Institute

Other motivations for “No”

The Angus Reid Institute polled the “pull” of other main arguments in favour of the “No” side:

And on the “Yes” side

The Angus Reid Institute survey also assessed the persuasiveness of five key arguments that have or may be advanced by the “Yes” side:

“Yes” supporters were also asked to select from a list of a half dozen reasons they are leaning that way, or provide their own responses.

The one selected most often (50% of “Yes” supporters) is the view that “public transit needs improvement”. This is a particularly compelling reason for “Yes” supporters who are frequent transit riders (68% of them). Other important motivations for voting “Yes” include: concerns about traffic congestion (32%), Vancouver’s future needs (28%), and fears that costs will only increase with delay (27%).

Angus Reid Institute

Traffic woes acknowledged

Angus Reid Institute

This Angus Reid Institute survey also looked at the region’s perceived “traffic pain”. Overall, traffic is a pain for many Metro Vancouver residents, but a “Yes” vote isn’t seen as a panacea for these woes.

Angus Reid Institute

Angus Reid Institute

Angus Reid Institute

Metro residents are paying attention

Metro Vancouver residents who are leaning “Yes” and leaning “No”, are paying attention to this plebiscite: three-in-four of those surveyed said they are following it. Specifically, almost one-in-three (29%) said they have “read/saw stories about it and discussed it with friends and family” and another four-in-ten (43%) said they “saw a story or two, and had the odd conversation about it”.

Click here for full report including tables and methodology[1]

Click here for Questionnaire used in this survey[2]

Image Credit: Ted McGrath/Flickr

  1. Click here for full report including tables and methodology:
  2. Click here for Questionnaire used in this survey:

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