The Canterbury earthquake has turned the tables in the Christchurch mayoral election, with Bob Parker now the favourite candidate, an online poll shows.

But neither incumbent Mayor Mr Parker nor his main competition, Progressive leader Jim Anderton, are reading too much into the survey's findings, which showed 55 per cent of voters now intended to vote for Mr Parker, up from just 28 per cent in June.

The poll, conducted and paid for by UMR Research, surveyed 361 Christchurch residents online between September 21 and 27.

Mr Anderton, who had 60 per cent support in June, said yesterday he was not fazed by the poll, which has now dropped his vote to 41 per cent.

"I didn't sleep any easier after the last one and I won't lose any sleep over this one ... it's like that song The Gambler. Don't count your money while you're sitting at the table. Don't count your votes until they're counted."

The 7.1-magnitude earthquake and aftershocks which caused significant damage to the city on September 4 put Mr Parker in the spotlight, he said.

"When you're on radio, TV and print media 24/7 overwhelming everything else, it's not surprising that the gap has changed."

Mr Anderton said the fact that the poll had been conducted online was another reason to be wary because not every voter had computer access.

He said there was a higher voter turnout this year than in either of the past two local elections, with 19.54 per cent of the electorate having voted already as of yesterday, and he hoped that would rise before results were tallied.

Mr Parker said yesterday he was pleased to hear about the poll.

"It certainly lifts the spirit ... but in this game you don't count your chickens until they've actually arrived."

Asked how the earthquake might have won him fans, Mr Parker said: "I think what the earthquake has done is allow me to speak really directly to our community ... it's given people the chance to get to know me a lot better."

Eighty-eight per cent of residents believed Mr Parker handled the earthquake's aftermath well.

Most also believed other organisations handled the aftermath well, including Civil Defence (94 per cent), the Christchurch City Council (90 per cent) and the Earthquake Commission (88 per cent).

THE FINDINGS
June 2010 Sept2010:

Bob Parker 28 per cent 55 per cent
Jim Anderton 60 per cent 41 per cent