Say what you like about polling, it does provide fodder for discussion.
A recent poll commissioned by the owners of Pheasant Glen Golf Resort indicate 67 per cent of Qualicum Beach residents agree the resort’s expansion plans will be good for the community. The poll was conducted by phone Aug. 5-10 by a New York City-based company that has counted heavy hitters of industry and politics among its clients. The poll gathered 303 responses — an impressive sample size for a town like Qualicum Beach — and is considered accurate 5.7 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.
Pheasant Glen did a similar survey in February of 2011 which indicated 68 per cent of Qualicum Beach residents supported zoning changes to allow for expansion of the resort, albeit a different plan that’s in front of town council now. That survey was completed by Strategic Communications, polled 359 people and as considered accurate to five percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.
This kind of polling is not cheap. And these polls were conducted by firms with good reputations, companies that aren’t going to endanger future business with much bigger clients by doing anything nefarious with a little Qualicum Beach survey.
Some people say the only poll that counts is on election day. Fair enough. The most recent election we have to reference is the May 2013 provincial election. Qualicum Beach voters overwhelmingly chose a candidate from a free-enterprise party — the B.C. Liberal Party — over the NDP candidate, 52 per cent to 35 per cent.
The Conservative Party candidate won the riding that includes Qualicum Beach in the federal election of 2011 with more votes than the NDP and Liberal candidates combined.
It’s dicey to link party-driven provincial or federal politics to municipal elections, but there are just too many indicators here to ignore when the professional surveys of both 2011 and 2014 are included.
There’s a question some candidates should be pressed to answer in Qualicum Beach during this municipal election. For the candidates who are in opposition to growth or don’t believe the town’s declining population requires positive steps toward the OCP’s stated maximum build-out of 12,000 people, the question is this:
Who do you represent?
— Editorial by John Harding