Rasode leading the pack in Surrey: Poll

(Clockwise from top left) Surrey Couns. Linda Hepner, Tom Gill,Bruce Hayne and Barinder Rasode. - File
(Clockwise from top left) Surrey Couns. Linda Hepner, Tom Gill,Bruce Hayne and Barinder Rasode.
— image credit: File

Surrey Coun. Barinder Rasode has some of the highest name recognition going into this year's election, according to a poll released Monday.

Vancouver polling firm Insights West released results of a study conducted between March 21 and March 23 among 507 Surrey residents over 18 years old.

The poll asked residents how familiar they were with potential mayoral candidates, Couns. Barinder Rasode, Tom Gill, Bruce Hayne and Linda Hepner.

(Mayor Dianne Watts has announced she will not run for council this November.)

According to the poll results, Rasode leads the group  with seven per cent of respondents saying they were "very familiar" with her.  She was followed by Gill at six per cent, Hepner (five per cent) and Hayne (three per cent).

However, when the responses of  "very familiar" and "somewhat familiar" are grouped,  Hepner leads the pack at 30 per cent, followed by Rasode and Gill both at 28 per cent and Hayne trailing at 16 per cent.

Those are the kinds of numbers the Surrey First team will be looking at as they gather to decide who will be their next mayoral candidate, according to Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco.

The figures put Gill and Hepner in a virtual deadlock for name recognition as they attempt decide who is most electable. (The poll does not ask whether people are satisfied with the job the current councillors are doing).

While Gill is interested in the job as mayor, he also told The Leader Sunday night he has reservations about the time commitment required and what it would mean for his young family. He said if he doesn't run, he'll be supporting Hepner.

Canseco said as the poll was conducted prior to Rasode leaving Surrey First, her numbers are likely to be even higher than when the poll was conducted.

"She's been in the news more often now," Canseco said. "She has been talking more, she has been speaking about why she left Surrey First, she's been one of the most critical voices on the crime issue, which is the number-one issue facing the city."

In fact, Canseco said he's rarely seen crime as top of mind as it is in Surrey.

A poll conducted months ago had 51 per cent of people saying crime is their top issue, and the most recent survey has 49 per cent of respondents saying it's their number one concern.

"It's huge, usually you don't see anything in the 50s (percentile) unless something tragic happens," Canseco said. "Back in 2008, the economy was the number one issue for 50 or 60 per cent of Canadians, but it was obvious why, we were just going through this crisis," Canseco said.

"Crime is very rarely more than 15 or 20 per cent in a survey," he added. "To see it at 51, it really speaks about that there are people out there who are dissatisfied with the status quo…"

The poll also indicated 68 per cent of respondents are ready for change. Following crime as the top issue, are transportation (22 per cent), health care (seven per cent) and education (six per cent).

The poll shows people are satisfied with the work the city has done on parks, recreation and arts (66 per cent approval), governing the city (56 per cent in favour), development within the city (56 per cent) and improving the image of Surrey (52 per cent).

Mixed reviews were indicated on city services (only 47 per cent liking the delivery), city finances (47 per cent), and efforts to keep taxes low (37 per cent liked Surrey's work in that area).

The city gets poor marks in how it has handled transportation (24 per cent approval), homelessness (18 per cent) and crime and public safety (16 per cent).

The survey of 507 residents is accurate within plus or minus 4.4 per cent 19 times out of 20.



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