Survey to test mayoralty waters

1 comment
Larry Baldock.
Larry Baldock.

A pre-election poll of 600 Tauranga residents will take place next month to gauge public opinion on the big field of candidates vying to become mayor.

Former city councillor Larry Baldock is using an Auckland-based company to run a statistically reliable poll in which people would be asked which candidates or potential candidates they thought would make a good mayor.

The road to the mayoralty has been thrown open by the decision of the incumbent Stuart Crosby to not seek re-election.

With 10 people so far confirmed or seriously thinking about contesting the mayoralty, Mr Baldock said spreading 30,000 votes among so many candidates could see someone win with only 5000 votes.

"The poll is a good way of seeing what the lie of the land is and whether I should support one of the good candidates - if the poll showed they were in with a good chance."

Mr Baldock will delay his decision on running for the mayoralty until the results of the poll of at least 600 voting age residents.

The poll would indicate how tight the mayoral race could be and create a reasonable read of which candidates were or were not well known in the community. People could be asked to rank candidates, he said.

If the poll showed he did not have a reasonable chance of winning, Mr Baldock said he would consider running for the city council or the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

If the poll was favourable, he would run for both the mayoralty and the city council.
Mr Baldock intends to run the poll in July before nominations close on August 12.

He was holding off in order to get as many confirmed candidates on the list as possible.
Responses to poll from confirmed mayoral candidates:

Kelvin Clout: "I would be interested in seeing the results but it would have no major strategic relevance to the campaign. It might encourage some candidates to drop out. Some would argue that polls like that could influence people. There is a danger the poll might miss one or two people [considering standing] that kept their cards close to their chest."

Murray Guy: "It sounds totally bizarre to me as far as the rationale goes. It is allowing a survey to determine who he will support. Why would he not support that person regardless - if they are the best fit for the role. A lot of candidates keep their intentions close to their chest."

Max Mason: "It depends on when it is held. If it is towards the closing date for nominations you will get more of a steer. I'm not sure it will be accurate because the incumbent councillors [standing for mayor] have a higher profile. Existing councillors would gain a benefit."

Graeme Purches: "It is a bit of game to be honest. You are trying to influence people before you know exactly who is standing. If you want to stand, you have got to believe in yourself. Surveys by potential candidates are always fraught."

John Robson: "If Larry thinks he has something to offer, he should just run. The only reason you run for Mayor is if you want change. If the poll showed he had no chance of winning, then how is he going to get his ideas into the public domain."
Others thinking seriously about standing for mayor: Bev Edlin, Hori Leaming, Steve Morris and Doug Owens.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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