Support slipping for yes side in transit referendum: poll

Poll reveals confusion about transit plan, dissatisfaction with TransLink 

A second poll on the upcoming Metro Vancouver transit tax referendum shows support for the yes side slipping.

The number of poll respondents who say they will vote yes has fallen six percentage points compared with one month ago, according to a poll released by Insights West January 20. In mid-December, 52% of residents said they would “definitely” or “probably” vote yes. Today, 46% say they would vote yes.

The number of people who said they would vote no has increased three percentage points, to 42%.

Only 36% of residents polled said they had enough information about what would happen if the yes side wins.

An earlier version of the referendum ballot was shown to poll respondents for the December poll. Then, the tax was referred to as an 0.5% increase in the provincial sales tax and said there would be “independent audits and public reporting” of the tax revenue.

The provincial government later changed the wording to call the tax a “congestion improvement tax” and removed the wording about audits. 

Young people and people who use transit regularly were more likely to say they would vote yes, but those numbers also dropped  between the two polls. In December, 69% of transit users and 58% of people aged 18 to 34 said they would vote yes; now 61% of transit users and 52% of young voters say they will support the tax.

The yes side lost ground among people in the 35 to 44 age group, falling to 44% from 52%. 

“While the yes side is still ahead, the proportion of definite supporters remains low,” said Mario Canseco, vice president for public affairs at Insights West. “Drivers are now more likely to say they will vote no, and the level of support from transit riders, cyclists and walkers has dropped noticeably in a month.”

The poll also revealed deep dissatisfaction with TransLink, and skepticism it is able to properly implement large transportation projects, among both yes and no side supporters.