Election too close to call.
If the Yukon Territorial election were held today, Yukoners would not know who to vote for. According to a recent DataPath Poll of 300 representative Yukoners, 72% are undecided when it comes to picking a political party right now. However, among decided voters, the elections would be extremely close. The NDP and Liberal Party are at a dead tie, each with 35% of the decided voters. The Yukon Party follows only slightly behind with 23%, and 5% are planning to vote Independent. “While the undecided vote typically follows the same patterns as the decided vote, pollsters usually report only on decided voters and are able to accurately call an election. However, with 72% still undecided, this group is too big and too important to ignore.” Commented Donna Larsen, partner in DataPath Systems.
That undecided group tends to be higher in Whitehorse, than in the communities, among females and those employed in the private sector. The younger a respondent, the more likely they were to be undecided, with 77% of those under 35 undecided, compared to 65% for those over 50. As would be expected, the NDP is slightly stronger among the younger residents and among women, while the Yukon Party increases their share of the vote among men, those over 50 years old and private sector employees.
Among decided voters, 63% have selected their party based on policies, while 37% say they selected that party primarily because they do not like the current government. While sample sizes for those decided voters by party are small, there is a clear difference between those selecting NDP and those selecting the Yukon Party. The majority of NDP supporters did so based primarily on party policies, while the majority of Yukon Party supporters did so because they don’t like the current government.
As for policies, those supporting the NDP were driven mainly by social and environmental policies, while Yukon Party supporters tended to support that party’s business and economic policies. Liberal party supporters were more split, with both business and social policies both the reason for their support.
When asked what is the single largest issue facing the Yukon today, party support made little difference. Across parties, Yukoners continue to recognize the ecomony/umemployment/lack of industry, as that issue. 67% mentioned one of those 3 items, up only slightly from the Spring Poll (64%). In addition, respondents are now focusing on specific industries in need of help, such as mining (7%), and tourism (4%).
A new question added to the Poll this summer, asked respondents to take hypothetical “new government money” and allocate it across 5 industries. On average, the most money was allocated to Small business (21% of the money would go there), followed by tourism and mining where each was allocated 20% of the money. The average spending for oil and gas was 17%, with the remaining 13% given to forestry. “This really shows the all-inclusive nature of Yukoners. No one single industry dominates people interests, instead they would like to see all industries supported, with perhaps a bit more emphasis on small business, tourism and mining.” Adds Donna Larsen.
Liberal party supporters are the most optimistic about the Yukon economy. Yukon Party supporters are the most likely to rate the Yukon economy in critical condition (49%), compared to 21% among NDP supporters and only 14% for Liberal supporters. Overall, Yukoners concern for the health of the economy has shown continuous increases in three polls over the past year. A year ago, 19% of Yukoners rated the economy in critical condition and 45% rated it serious. The critical rating climbed to 26% in Spring, where it remains currently. The serious rating has increased since Spring, from 37% to 43%.
Compared to last year, the majority of Yukoners feel they personally are about the same as they were (61%). As seen consistently since Winter of 2001, this summer 21% of Yukoners feel they are somewhat or much worse off, and 16% feel they are somewhat or much better off. Older Yukoners are more likely to feel they are worse off, compared to younger residents.
The survey was conducted by DataPath Systems; an independent Yukon-based market research company. Telephone surveys were conducted with 150 Whitehorse residents and 150 non-Whitehorse residents between June 15 and July 3. The data is weighted to accurately represent Yukoners based on the community they live in, their age and gender. Percentages are statistically valid to +/- 5.5%, 19 times out of 20 (95% confidence). This was a non-commissioned study, paid for by DataPath Systems.