A new polls shows the five-way race for the Saskatchewan Party leadership looks set to come down to the wire.
Insightrix Research, in partnership with 980 CJME and 650 CKOM, gave an online survey to 1,004 people from across Saskatchewan between Jan. 9 – 17.
Of those, 72 people reported being Saskatchewan Party members. An additional 34 surveys were sent specifically to party members. That made for a total of 104 Sask. Party members whose answers to the survey questions could be compared to the general public’s.
Insightrix research director Lang McGilp said among the 1,004 Saskatchewan residents polled, a total of 48 per cent were unsure of who should be the next leader.
“One-half of Saskatchewan residents really don’t know who’s going to win,” Lang indicated. “Those who did name a name, Ken Cheveldayoff was first. But only 16 per cent named him as first.”
Alana Koch was second at nine per cent, Scott Moe and Gord Wyant tied for third at five per cent and four per cent chose Tina Beaudry-Mellor.
Among the 104 Sask. Party members the order was similar, although not identical.
Koch garnered 22 per cent, edging out Cheveldayoff’s 21 per cent support. Moe came in third with 13 per cent followed closely by Wyant with 12 per cent. Beaudry-Mellor trailed at three per cent.
Of the party members, 27 per cent reported being uncertain.
The close results and high number of uncertain respondents could mean voting goes several rounds deep before a winner emerges at the Jan. 27 leadership convention in Saskatoon.
McGlip said that could spell trouble for Cheveldayoff, as he didn’t appear to have picked up a lot of second-choice votes.
If no one candidate secures a clear majority after one round of voting, the candidate with the lowest number of votes gets dropped from the ballot, with their votes distributed to the remaining candidates according to voters’ ranked ballots. This process continues until a candidate comes out with 51 per cent of votes.
The poll also asked respondents how likely they were to vote Sask. Party in the next general election depending on who becomes leader.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty as to how people would intend to vote in the next election regardless of who gets into the top chair, gets into the position,” McGilp said.
He said that means the new leader may not be able to count solely on the Sask. Party brand, but rather, he or she will have to create a compelling reason for voters to choose them in the next election.
McGilp said the close poll results leave the race too close to call heading into the final week of the campaign.
“This is not one that’s going to be able to be predicted.”
The poll’s margin of error can be estimated at +/-3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 for questions answered by all 1,004 respondents. The margin of error on voter intentions among Sask. Party members is estimated to be +/-9.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.