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Gap closing between candidates in final weeks of Mississauga mayoral race: poll

File photo of a voting sign at a polling station during an election. File photo of a voting sign at a polling station during an election.

A new poll shows that some of the candidates in the Mississauga mayoral race have significantly closed the gap with front-runner Carolyn Parrish as Election Day draws near.

The poll asked people who they would vote for if the election were held today. According to the results, 29 per cent of decided voters would cast a ballot for Parrish, while 24 per cent said they would vote for Dipika Damerla. Some 19 per cent said they would cast a ballot for Alvin Tedjo. Stephen Dasko stands at 12 per cent support, while Brian Crombie stands at nine per cent. Seven per cent of decided voters said they planned to vote for another one of the 16 candidates who are running.

The latest results show an eight per cent drop for Parrish, a former city councilor and MP, and a four-point gain for Damerla, a city councillor and former MPP, since the last poll was released about three weeks ago. It also marks a two-point gain for Tedjo, and a one-point gain for Dasko – both city councillors as well.

The survey was conducted by Liaison Strategies for the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada and surveyed a random sample of 933 Mississauga voters through Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) from May 24-25. It is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.22 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The results, said Liaison Strategies Principal David Valentin, show "this really could be anyone's race."

  • CTV News Toronto will be carrying a live debate between the leading candidates at 7 p.m. on May 29. Here's how to watch

He noted that in particular, Parrish has lost ground with seniors. While the percentage of undecided voters has dropped to 16 per cent among all voters, it has jumped up to 37 per cent among seniors.

"The undecided rate falling closer to Election Day is to be expected. To see it jump in seniors at the same time is surprising," he said in a release. "Among seniors Carolyn Parrish has lost 16 points (from 36% to 20%) and one would assume at least part of this can be attributed to recent statements Parrish has made during the election and, potentially, her decision to not attend future election debates. Her competitors, of course, seized on her remarks and played a role in their amplification."

Following an early debate, comments Parrish made appearing to question the value of Transgender washrooms circulated on social media, as well as comments she made saying refugees "sit around smoking cigarettes all day". Parrish said her comments had been taken out of context, but she was slammed by her opponents.

She subsequently cited "a new style of politics" in the race, as well as the safety of a colleague in an announcement saying she would no longer take part in debates.  

"If Parrish is able to win back seniors, she has a very good chance of being mayor but the opportunity is there for the Damerla and Tedjo campaigns to seize the momentum and votes," Valentin said.

He said that getting supporters out to the polls could also make a big difference given the narrowing gap.

"A big question mark continues to be turnout and which campaigns have the team and program to deliver voters to the polls," Valentin said.

Results from early voting show strong interest in the election from the public so far. According to the city, voter turnout in the first three days of advance voting is up 42 per cent compared to the same period in the 2022 municipal elections. So far 2,250 voters have cast their ballots.

Advance voting is expected to continue June 1-2. Election Day is June 10. Top Stories

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