Winnipeg’s mayoral election campaign has been underway for a few months already, but one local pollster says voters may just be starting to pay attention in earnest as we turn the corner from summer to fall.
“People always say in Winnipeg that the mayoral race doesn’t really start until Labour Day, and I think we’re right in the thick of it now,” Curtis Brown of Probe Research told 680 CJOB’s The Start.
“We’ve seen from past races — especially when there is no incumbent — things are fluid, things change, and people don’t necessarily make up their minds right away.
“I think people are definitely paying attention, and people will start to pay closer attention the closer you get to the actual vote.”
In July, Probe Research declared former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray as the frontrunner with a significant lead over the competition. While Brown said Winnipeggers should “stay tuned” for future polling numbers as the campaign progresses, it will be interesting to watch mayoral hopefuls try to distinguish themselves in a crowded field of 15 candidates by tackling the issues.
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Brown said the most recent polling data said Winnipeggers want to see their next mayor and council tackle issues of poverty, homelessness, crime, and infrastructure — with the latter being a major talking point among candidates in recent days.
“There is a lot — a lot of promises, potentially, with just that many candidates,” he said.
“I think that is a little difficult for some of the candidates, maybe some of the ones that are a bit lesser known, but I think people will definitely be following (the issues) and making their decisions accordingly.”
Murray, who served as Winnipeg’s mayor from 1998-2004, is up against a number of high-profile Winnipeggers, including city councillors Scott Gillingham (St. James) and Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood); former MP Robert Falcon-Ouellette; former Manitoba Liberal leader Rana Bokhari; as well as Jenny Motkaluk, Don Woodstock, Rick Shone, Chris Clacio, Shaun Loney, Idris Ademuyiwa Adelakun, Desmond Thomas, Jessica Peebles, Govind Thawani, and Vincent Gabriele.
Winnipeggers go to the polls Oct. 26.