The large number of undecided voters indicates that many have yet to find any mayoral candidate particularly appealing. This is a straightforward failure of Eisenberger's campaign.
By Adrian Duyzer
Published October 16, 2010
A poll commissioned by the Hamilton Spectator and conducted by Nanos Research puts Bratina, Eisenberger, and Di Ianni ahead of the pack, but virtually tied with one another - and the number of undecided voters means that victory is within anyone's grasp.
The results break down as follows:
Although the results put Bratina ahead of Eisenberger, the poll's 3.1 percent margin of error means it could be the other way around. However, Bratina's 5.1 percent lead over Di Ianni is outside the margin of error.
Most significantly of all, however, is that Bratina is a major contender and possibly the leader in the race for mayor, confirming earlier polling rumours.
Bratina is well-known in the downtown as Ward 2 councillor, and even more well-known across the city - and especially in older demographics - as a CHML radio personality. He's temperamental, but his urbanist outlook has earned him wide support among downtown residents.
He's a household name among the older crowd, which is particularly valuable because they vote in greater numbers than younger people. This is reflected in the poll's methodology, as an astute commenter on RTH pointed out this morning, writing that the poll is "skewed to reflect historic voter apathy" because it features more older respondents than younger ones:
Out of 1000 respondents:
- 18 to 29: 89 respondents
- 30 to 39: 119 respondents
- 40 to 49: 194 respondents
- 50 to 59: 244 respondents
- 60 plus: 354 respondents
It will be interesting to see if voting patterns among age groups in this election are consistent with previous years.
The large number of undecided voters - almost 30 percent - indicates that many have yet to find any mayoral candidate particularly appealing. This is a straightforward failure of Eisenberger's campaign.
I don't believe, as many have claimed, that tepid support for Eisenberger is because people disagree with him on the best location for the Pan Am Games stadium, or are upset with the way he handled negotiations with the Tiger Cats.
Although Bratina's positions on the stadium have been, shall we say, "nuanced", he never supported the East Mountain proposal and eventually did express strong (but late) support for the West Harbour. In spite of that, Bratina is enjoying plenty of support from voters, so support for the West Harbour is not a serious political liability.
The biggest problem with Eisenberger's campaign is that the message is weak.
Eisenberger has a great track record to run on. In his four years we've installed an integrity commissioner, made substantial progress on LRT, saved the Lister Block, instituted a one-bag limit on garbage (a challenge Hamiltonians rose to in impressive fashion) and held taxes to 2% or less per year (half that of Toronto). We endured the worst recession since at least the 1980s and now the Conference Board of Canada reports that Hamilton has the second highest rate of economic growth in the country.
These accomplishments, plus the natural advantage of incumbency, should make Eisenberger the clear favourite. Instead, weak messaging has allowed his opponents to define him as lacking leadership and the ability to get things done.
Certainly, he's not the most charismatic person, but his steadiness, his clear vision for the future of Hamilton, and his personal integrity more than make up for that. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't look like that's getting across to many Hamiltonians.
Bratina's message, on the other hand, seems to be getting through loud and clear.
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