Poll analysis shows mayors' paths to victory

CBC New Brunswick has conducted a detailed analysis of 515 polls in six mayoral races in the province.

515 poll results analyzed in 6 New Brunswick cities

A detailed analysis of the mayoral races in six of New Brunswick’s largest cities shows some candidates were able to drill into distinct pockets of support.

CBC New Brunswick took the unofficial poll-by-poll results from Elections New Brunswick for those races and analyzed them.

There were a total of 515 polls involved, ranging from 42 polls in the northwestern city of Edmundston to 148 in Saint John.

Tom Bateman, a political scientist at St. Thomas University, said the examination of the poll results offers citizens a glimpse into data that normally only politicians and campaign strategists can view.

"It’s part of the political education of a citizenry to see how political geography impacts elections," Bateman said.

The poll results show even in some cities that saw their incumbents re-elected by wide margins that their challengers were able to secure concentrated levels of support in certain areas.

For instance, long-time Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside easily defeated Matthew Hayes, a university professor, on May 14.

Tom Bateman, a political scientist, said poll-by-poll election data is often used by political strategists. ((CBC))

But Hayes was able to win a swath of support in the downtown core of the capital city, while Woodside won handily on Fredericton’s north side.

Saint John voters turfed incumbent mayor Ivan Court. Mel Norton won 75.6 per cent of support in New Brunswick’s largest city.

The poll-by-poll analysis shows Court, a long-time councillor and one-term mayor, lost every single poll in Saint John.

Court saw the Norton wave sweep over his traditional powerbase and it even cost him his home poll.

Bateman said the data can be important to show citizens how different areas of their communities are motivated to vote differently.

"It gives more detail and nuance to any portrait of the cities electorate," Bateman said.

"Now we see it is not just Saint John and it is not just Edmundston, there are some interesting patterns of diversity within cities. It means different issues resonate differently in some neighbourhoods."

Elections New Brunswick publishes the poll-by-poll results in its official documentation following every election.

The data is well used by political strategists who try to maximize areas of support.

The political scientist said politicians can use this information to create their own roadmap to victory.

"This is very important information because any competitive candidate needs to know who already supports him or her and who definitely does not support him or her and whose votes could move," he said.

"You have to really know who are the persuadable people."