News » Politics

Tight race forming in federal West Van riding

Liberals hold slim lead over incumbent Weston, polls show



If early polls are any indication, the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding could be in for a tight race in this October's federal election.

New poll numbers prepared by Insights West show Liberal candidate Pam Goldsmith-Jones with a slim lead on incumbent Conservative MP John Weston, 23 to 22 per cent.

NDP candidate Larry Koopman trails slightly with 19 per cent while Green candidate and former Whistler mayor Ken Melamed sits with nine per cent.

"This really shows that it's a battle," said Mario Canseco, VP of public affairs for Insights West.

"It's a very complicated issue (for the Conservatives) in the sense of having to fight not only the Liberals, who usually do well in this riding... and now also the resurgence of the NDP as an option in areas where the NDP didn't use to do well."

Canseco attributed the Liberals' slim lead to the name recognition of Goldsmith-Jones — a former two-term mayor of West Vancouver.

"It's interesting when you have somebody who is very well known in the community," he said.

"Pamela was the mayor for two terms, very well known, very high name recognition. That definitely helps you when you're fighting a candidate who has been there for a while."

While the Liberals hold a slight lead in the riding in terms of voter intention, when it comes to the riding's preferred Prime Minister the party lagged.

According to the poll, Thomas Mulcair is the riding's preferred Prime Minister, with 28 per cent of the vote. Stephen Harper was second with 24 per cent and Justin Trudeau came third with 22 per cent. Green Party leader Elizabeth May received 11 per cent of the vote.

"This one is almost like a three-way race, and that's what makes it even more fascinating," Canseco said.

"There are certain aspects within the numbers that might suggest that there is a party that is having an advantage, but Harper is not connecting very well as the best Prime Minister when you have almost 60 per cent of residents saying that somebody else should be doing the job."

The poll also gauged public perception on a number of issues.

In the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding, the majority of residents oppose more oil tankers on the coast, recently increased government surveillance and the government's approach to climate change.

The majority of respondents support electoral reform and feel the ongoing senate expense scandal has affected their views of the government.

A question concerning the benefits of LNG drew a split response, with 40 per cent disagreeing the benefits would outweigh the risks and 39 per cent agreeing.

The poll — prepared by Insights West on behalf of environmental activist group the Dogwood Initiative — surveyed 301 adults in the riding between July 3 and 7.

Canseco said Insights West tries its best to accurately reflect the demographics of each riding when doing its surveys.

"Obviously you need to recreate the way that the riding is, so we're not calling 300 people and talking to 290 women and 10 men," he said.

"You have to be absolutely certain that this is the way that it looks."

To view the full survey head to

The margin of error — which measures sample variability — is +/-5.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.