“For the Liberals to be leading in Bourassa is expected, and in Toronto Centre, it’s to be anticipated. But for a federal Liberal to be leading in Brandon-Souris is a strange result indeed. The Justin factor seems to be working right across the country.”
— Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, Forum Research president
The race for Brandon-Souris continues to have no shortage of surprises in store.
Just as Prime Minister Stephen Harper called byelections over the weekend in the ridings of Provencher, Bourassa, Toronto Centre and Brandon-Souris, the results of a poll conducted by Forum Research Inc. in each of the four ridings suggest Brandon-Souris Liberal candidate Rolf Dinsdale has a four-point lead over Conservative Larry Maguire.
Dinsdale leads the poll numbers with 39 per cent support, ahead of Maguire at 35 per cent. That is within the margin of error, which is considered to be plus or minus five percentage points — meaning that if the numbers are even close to accurate, the two candidates are essentially running neck and neck.
The polling was conducted on Oct. 17-18 and was an interactive voice response telephone survey of randomly selected Canadians over the age of 18. The polling company listed its sample size as 412 respondents; only 372 of those called actually responded.
NDP candidate Cory Szczepanski and Green candidate David Neufeld were tied with 12 per cent support each.
Considering the relatively small sample size, and the fact that the writ has only just been dropped, it’s impossible to cite this poll as a prediction of what voter intentions will be on Nov. 25 — even the poll company suggests this is only a snapshot of opinion at one point in time.
But considering where the Liberal party stood in the 2011 federal election — dead last — this is huge.
From his quote above, Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff seems to think that Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s presence in Brandon-Souris has made a huge impact on the riding’s voter intentions. There is no disputing Trudeau’s political star power, and while we agree, the younger Trudeau’s visits have served to energize the local Liberal riding association and its members, his visits to Provencher have not been as effective.
In its report, Forum Research stated that its poll results showed that the Liberals hold significant leads in Toronto Centre and Bourassa in Montreal. And while they have a slim lead in Brandon-Souris, the Conservatives still lead strongly in the other Manitoba riding under a byelection — Provencher.
We think that in addition to the current upswing in Liberal popularity across the country, the significant voter shift in Brandon-Souris is equally a result of Rolf Dinsdale’s long-standing family name in the region — and the goodwill his father, Walter, built up over more than 30 years serving the riding as a Progressive Conservative MP — combined with ongoing concerns of party interference over the Conservative nomination race several weeks ago.
Clearly, right now the momentum is in Dinsdale’s camp.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 22, 2013