Saskatoon

NDP takes early lead in Saskatoon byelection race: poll

Saskatchewan's New Democrats appear to have taken the lead in the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection race, but the results of a new poll also suggest there are still a lot of undecided voters in the constituency.

Mainstreet Research poll pegs voter support for NDP candidate Ryan Meili at 46%

A new MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin will be elected on March 2. A new Mainstreet Research poll suggests the NDP's Ryan Meili has twice the voter support of Saskatchewan Party candidate Brent Penner. (Cory Herperger/CBC)

Saskatchewan's New Democrats appear to have taken the lead in the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection race, but the results of a new poll also suggest there are still a lot of undecided voters in the constituency.

The Mainstreet Research poll, conducted for Postmedia and released on Wednesday, pegs support for NDP candidate Ryan Meili at 46 per cent — double the 23 per cent of respondents who said they will vote for Brent Penner of the Saskatchewan Party next month.

However, the poll indicates that 23 per cent of those surveyed remain undecided.

"It's early in the byelection campaign so far, but Meili is definitely the favourite," David Valentin, Mainstreet's executive vice-president, said in a news release.

Valentin said the polling suggests that the NDP's strength has been underpinned by a "total collapse of support for the Saskatchewan Party with voters under the age of 50," but he added that it's possible the governing party could regain support later in the campaign.

"We don't have enough information yet to know if this is truly a sustained plunge of support with voters under 50 or just part of the randomness that makes up our polling," he said.

The byelection, triggered by the death of Saskatchewan Party MLA Roger Parent in November, is slated for March 2.

In addition to Meili and Penner, two party leaders — Shawn Setyo of the Green Party of Saskatchewan and Liberal Leader Darrin Lamoureux — are also vying for the Saskatoon Meewasin seat.

The Mainstreet poll pegs support for the Liberals and Greens at four per cent each.

Mainstreet Research surveyed a random sample of 530 eligible voters in Saskatoon Meewasin by telephone on Monday, using an interactive voice response system that contacted landline and cellphone numbers. A probabilistic sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 4.14 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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