Cullen more popular on-islands than in riding in general

  • May. 20, 2011 11:00 a.m.

By Alex Rinfret–Federal election winner Nathan Cullen enjoys even greater popularity among islanders than the riding in general, according to the poll-by-poll results for Skeena-Bulkley Valley released last week. Mr. Cullen, the NDP candidate, was the clear winner in every poll on Haida Gwaii, capturing an overall 74 percent of the votes cast here on May 2 compared to 55 percent across the riding. (To put that 55 percent into perspective, it’s an impressive win in a six-way race and the highest endorsement received so far by Mr. Cullen in his four election wins.) Mr. Cullen’s popularity peaked in Old Massett, where he was the choice of 91 percent of voters, and was lowest in Sandspit, at 63 percent. But even Sandspit’s percentage was higher than the riding in general. Conservative candidate Clay Harmon, who did not visit the islands during the campaign, received significantly weaker support on the islands than the rest of Skeena-Bulkley Valley. Overall, 17 percent of islanders voted Conservative, compared to 34 percent across the riding. Mr. Harmon’s support on the islands was concentrated in Port Clements, Sandspit and Masset, where he got 30 percent, 28 percent and 25 percent respectively. Green candidate Roger Benham, by contrast, was much more popular on the islands than on the mainland. In Queen Charlotte, he received the same number of votes as Mr. Harmon did, with each capturing 10 percent. Overall on the islands, Mr. Benham was the choice of 6 percent of voters, double his rate of 3 percent in the riding generally. Mr. Benham received more than twice as many votes on the islands as Liberal candidate Kyle Warwick, but in the riding generally the two candidates got about the same level of support, with Mr. Warwick edging out the Green candidate for third place overall. Interestingly, Mr. Warwick’s two-day visit to Masset during the campaign does not appear to have resulted in any vote gains. His support in Masset was proportionately slightly lower than in the southern communities, although these numbers are low all around and the difference is not significant. According to the poll-by-poll results, 1,468 islanders voted in the May 2 federal election (this number does not include voters at advance polls). Islands voters account for about 4 percent of the total of 35,237 people who cast ballots in this riding. On the islands, Queen Charlotte recorded the highest number of voters at 385, followed by Masset at 302 and Skidegate at 229.