Bowman, Wasylycia-Leis getting vote out as poll puts them in near-tie
Insightrix Research poll puts Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Brian Bowman at top of Winnipeg's mayoral race
The race to become Winnipeg's mayor appears to be narrowing itself to only two candidates, and both Brian Bowman and Judy Wasylycia-Leis say they're going to campaign as hard as they can until election day.
A new poll conducted by Insightrix Research for Global News and CJOB suggests Bowman has 38 per cent support of those polled, while Wasylycia-Leis is at 36 per cent.
Wasylycia-Leis, a former NDP MP and MLA, had been considered the front-runner during much of this fall's mayoral race, but she said she always runs her election campaigns as though she's two votes behind.
"Really, nothing has changed for me because, as I said, we've always assumed this was a tight race," she told reporters on Monday.
"I've campaigned hard, like I've done over all my other 14 election campaigns — I never take anything for granted."
Meanwhile, Bowman said he's encouraged by the latest poll results, saying he believes his policies are resonating with Winnipeggers.
"What it does demonstrate is there has been momentum building for us over the course of the campaign, and that's been unmistakable," he said.
"We've been talking about it increasingly over the campaign because we've been feeling that energy from Winnipeggers."
He added that he started the campaign with little name recognition and had only three per cent support in an early poll.
Both Bowman and Wasylycia-Leis said they have lots of work to do before the poll that matters most — election day on Wednesday.
"We've been working day in and day out since the beginning of the campaign to earn the trust and confidence of Winnipeggers, and we've got lots of work ahead in the next two days to make sure we get over the finish line," Bowman said.
Wasylycia-Leis said she had 700 volunteers as of the past week and after the Insightrix numbers came out Monday, more people have phoned up and offered to help.
"For me, I always knew it would be tight and I always thought that Brian Bowman was probably my key opponent," Wasylycia-Leis said.
"I've worked very hard to contrast and compare my policies to his, and I believe Winnipeggers now know the clear choices to them."
Surge comes as a surprise
All polls leading up to this point had showed Wasylycia-Leis far ahead of everyone else.
Most recently, a Probe Research poll, commissioned by the Winnipeg Free Press and CTV and released Oct. 3, put Wasylycia-Leis' support at 41 per cent and Bowman's at 23.
Lang McGilb, a senior research executive with Saskatoon-based Insightrix, said their poll results showing Bowman's surge came as a surprise.
"We had originally gone in and done 600 respondents, which is a respectable sample size, giving an appropriate margin of error," he said.
"When we took a look at the results, we said, 'boy, let's make darn sure it's accurate.' So we went in and we did 200 more interviews immediately and the numbers didn't change."
Bowman's strength appears to be coming from supporters who once backed Gord Steeves. The Insightrix numbers show Steeves' supprt has plummeted to nine per cent from 20 per cent.
"Judy's support has remained consistent over the time frame [of the various polls] but Bowman has increased largely, taken benefit from the decline in support for Gord Steeves. He's down 11 points from a poll we did in late August," McGilb said.
"It's either things that he may have said or policies or things that he's talked about in his campaign or, you know, perhaps people feeling well, there's maybe some similarities or vote-splitting that could occur so people are strategically thinking of supporting Bowman instead," McGilb said, offering theories on why Steeves has fallen.
Steeves, Ouellette respond
But Steeves said the poll results do not reflect what he has experienced with voters on the campaign trail.
"The poll this morning, it really deviated from anything else anybody has seen in this campaign so I think myself and a lot of people are fairly skeptical," he said on CBC's Up to Speed program Monday afternoon.
In an email to supporters, Steeves's campaign manager suggested the poll was "flawed" and raised questions about who paid for it and how it was done.
"Generally speaking, we're polling in second place and Judy is in front," Steeves said.
"This poll, I don't know when it was done, what questions they asked. It doesn't match up with anything that anybody has seen in this election."
Meanwhile, the poll shows Robert-Falcon Ouellette's support has climbed to 14 per cent, putting him ahead of Steeves to capture third place.
Ouellette said he's excited about the latest results, even if they don't peg him in the top spot.
"Obviously we'd love to be in first place, way out in front with 90 per cent of all the available votes, but obviously that's perhaps not realistic," he said.
Ouellette also took aim at the front-runners, saying they "haven't actually put [forward] a vision for this city which is actually very realistic."
Paula Havixbeck (two per cent), David Sanders (one per cent) and Michel Fillion (zero per cent) rounded out the list of candidates.
Of the people polled, 29 per cent were still undecided.
A total of 802 people took part in the poll, which was conducted by phone between Oct. 7 and 17. The margin of error is 3.5 per cent 19 times out of 20.
Below is the text of an email from Gord Steeves's election campaign manager, sent to supporters on Monday, regarding the Insightrix Research poll results.
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