Karen Redman leads regional chair candidates in citizen-funded poll

A poll commissioned by software developer Craig Radcliffe using crowdfunding says Karen Redman is in the lead for regional chair.

Sample size of 530 randomly selected residents saw 37 per cent undecided

According to a citizen-led poll, released Thursday, Karen Redman is in the lead in the race for regional chair. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Karen Redman has a substantial lead in the race for regional chair, according to a poll funded by a group of citizens.

The poll, which was released on Thursday, had a sample size of 530 randomly selected residents, who were called on either their landlines or cellphones. Of those surveyed, 37 per cent of respondents indicated they were still undecided.

Of decided voters, Redman came in first at 67 per cent support. The poll ranks the other three candidates: Rob Deutschmann in second with 18 per cent, Jay Aissa in third with nine per cent and Jan d'Ailly in fourth with seven percent.

For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of 4.25 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The poll was conducted on Oct. 16 and 17 using interactive voice response (IVR), which saw students at Conestoga College make up the phone list, record the poll questions and gather demographic data.

Because the poll was financed by crowdfunding, CBC cannot verify the identities of who funded the poll.

'Number two always tries harder'

Redman said she thinks the results come from voters looking for "proven leadership."

"On the doorstep people are referencing the need to invest in priorities like social housing, dealing with the opioid crisis and investment in transit. They also mention fiscal accountability from government," she said. 

Redman did specifically mention low-voter turnouts for municipal elections in the past, though, and said she encourages people to get out and vote.

Deutschmann responded to questions about the poll via email saying, "Number two always tries harder."

d'Ailly questioned whether the computer software used was able to handle challenging names, like his own. He called the poll "laughable."

"It's always a challenge for people to recognize who I am with a cold call. And that's just a reality," he said in an interview with CBC K-W, noting it usually takes people who know him a few tries to pronounce his name correctly.

He said he hasn't seen the script or heard how his name was said in the poll. His first name, Jan, starts with a "y" sound, which "does not relate to the written word."

Aissa said he doesn't put much weight in the poll.

"I have been campaigning hard for the past number of months and am very pleased by the reaction that I have received from people I've spoken with at the door and at the events I have attended," he said.

"I don't believe the numbers that are being reported. The only poll that matters is the one that takes place on election day."

Race hasn't garnered much attention

Software developer Craig Radcliffe crowdfunded the poll because there were no other public polls.

"This is the first election in thirty years where we will have a chair who is not the incumbent, yet the race has not garnered as much attention as I would have expected," Radcliffe said in a release.

The poll also asked respondents about what the top issues are in the region.

Keeping taxes low and improving housing affordability came in first and second, with 23 and 22 per cent respectively. Increasing social services was third with 17 per cent.

That was followed by "something else" at 10 per cent, lowering crime at seven per cent, improved public transit with six per cent and two answers tied at three per cent each: building more roads and improving cycling infrastructure.