Students conduct exit poll

December 01, 2005, vol. 34, no. 7

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Students in SFU's public policy program conducted Canada's first voter exit poll during Vancouver's 2005 civic election on Nov. 19.

The survey asked those leaving polling stations who they were, how they voted and what issues mattered most.

More than 60 students gathered surveys which were transferred to SFU Vancouver's Harbour Centre campus for analysis.

Updated results were generated throughout the day with the goal of providing an accurate prediction of the election outcome before official results became available from the city of Vancouver's chief electoral officer.

As reported on Global television just after the polls closed at 8 p.m., exit poll results indicated that mayoral candidates Jim Green and Sam Sullivan were within five per cent of each other and that the election was too close to call.

Actual election results confirm the accuracy of the poll, with Non-Partisan Association (NPA) mayor-elect Sam Sullivan finishing less than three per cent ahead of Vision Vancouver's Jim Green.

The Vancouver Sun printed more detailed results of voter preferences and characteristics in a special Sunday edition.

Some of the more striking information from the poll reveals that much of Sullivan's support came from Vancouver's Chinese community - with more than 70 per cent voting for the NPA. Public policy program graduate students Trish MacIver and Stewart Young designed and administered the poll under the supervision of Kennedy Stewart, assistant professor of political science in the public policy program.

Funding was provided by the Vancouver Sun, Elections British Columbia and SFU's institute of governance studies.

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