The Honeymoon is over for the Yukon Party

A little over a year has passed since the election and satisfaction ratings for the Yukon Party have dropped for the third consecutive quarter.  Based on Yukon-wide DataPath Systems polls of 300 Yukoners each, positive satisfaction with the government has dropped while negative scores have increased.  Soon after the election in 2002, 27% of Yukoners rated the Yukon Party a 4 or 5 on a scale from a low of 1 to a high of 5.  That dropped in May of 2003 to 22% and fell to 17% in January of 2004.  “While we are seeing quite a drop for the Yukon Party, they are still more popular than the Liberal Party was at the last election,” commented Donna Larsen, partner of DataPath Systems.  The highest ratings the Liberal Party achieved were 12% in the summer of 2001.  That rating was as low as 6% right before the election when they lost all but one seat.

“However, one concern the Yukon Party should pay attention to is the increasing level of Yukoners who are extremely dissatisfied with them,” added Donna Larsen.  This recent poll shows 44% of Yukoners rating the Yukon Party’s performance a 1 or a 2.  “This is the worst rating observed since we started the Poll in the fall of 2000, (a total of eight polls).”

There are a few areas which standout as drivers of the drop in satisfaction.   More Yukoners (33%) feel the economy of the Territory is in critical condition – higher than seen in any previous poll.  In the summer this was at 23%.  Two other issues, which are likely impacting the drop in satisfaction, is the handling of the MLAs outstanding loans, and the Porn probe.  When asked how well they felt the Yukon Party handled the outstanding loan issue, 70% of Yukoners were extremely dissatisfied (rated a 1 or 2).  Similarly, 61% of Yukoners rated the handling of the porn/email investigation as poor.

Two other issues were included in the survey, with less negative ratings.  Only 36% of Yukoners disapproved of the management of land claims in Watson Lake, and 37% showed poor ratings of the handling of information concerning Dennis Fentie’s drug conviction.

There are also a few demographic differences that are impacting satisfaction with the Yukon Party.  Ratings are lower in Whitehorse than in the communities.  “This is a critical area since so many seats are elected in Whitehorse” commented Larsen.  In Whitehorse, 46% expressed low (1-2) ratings, compared to 37% in rural Yukon.  Only 14% of Whitehorse residents rated the Yukon Party a 4 or 5 (positive) score, while this increased to 25% in the communities.  “One factor which is likely influencing this is the relationship with their MLA.  Rural residents rated their MLA higher than Whitehorse residents rated theirs, and they were also more likely to have seen their MLA in-person, compared to Whitehorse residents.”  Larsen observed. 

Another area for the Yukon Party to focus on is the difference in satisfaction between government employees and the private sector.  Only 12% of government employees rated the Party a 4 or 5, compared to 22% of those in the private sector.  Over half (51%) of government employees rated the Yukon Party as poor (1 or 2 scores).  “Government employees in Whitehorse can have a significant impact come election time,” concluded Larsen.

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 January 15 and February 8, 2004. 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.