Poll shows O'Brien well-behind Watson in race for mayor
Published Wednesday, October 20, 2010 6:34PM EDT
For the second day in a row, Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien is questioning his performance in the race for mayor.
A new poll published Wednesday shows O'Brien has fallen so far behind, he only has a slim lead over rival Clive Doucet for second place.
The Leger Marketing survey suggests Jim Watson is well on his way to becoming Ottawa mayor for a second time.
The poll conducted for the Ottawa Sun shows 43 per cent of those surveyed support Watson. O'Brien is a distant second with 15 per cent.
Meanwhile, Doucet is right on O'Brien's heels with 12 per cent support; Andy Haydon has six.
The poll surveyed 601 adults by telephone between Oct. 13 and 17. The results are considered accurate +/- four per cent 19 times out of 20.
O'Brien's late start
O'Brien, who started his campaign late in the game, is now questioning if that was the right choice.
"It always could be better. We're not ahead, so maybe there was a better way of doing it," O'Brien told CTV Ottawa on Thursday.
He suggested light rail was the one issue that drove him to run again: "Had the competition come out firmly and squarely behind LRT at the very beginning . . . I can't commit to saying I would've been in here, but I had to because this city has to get better," O'Brien said.
On Tuesday, the mayor said he's confident the projects he fought for will go ahead if Watson wins the election.
"Jim is committed to doing the LRT; I think Jim is committed to doing Lansdowne. There's no way he can stop the Convention Centre. There's no way he can stop the Ottawa River Action Plan. So, no matter what happens I think the City of Ottawa is in better shape," O'Brien said.
Lawn signs, door-knocking
As for campaign styles, O'Brien chose not to use lawn signs and relied heavily on technology. He launched a cell phone app and conducted two separate telephone "town halls."
In contrast, 5,000 signs for Jim Watson can be found on front lawns across the city.
Watson's campaign team also spent hours door-knocking.
"They're taken aback that you're on their front door step," said Watson, who believes it's important for people to meet their candidate for mayor face-to-face.
"I think that it's important that you be seen and engage in a dialogue, not just a monologue through the media, but through town hall meetings, go to country fairs, go to church bazaars."
Former Ottawa mayor Jim Durrell says it appears O'Brien missed the mark in this election campaign.
"If it were to be done again I think maybe Larry would've done it differently. That face-to-face interpersonal contact is critical," Durrell said.
Ottawa residents head to the polls on Monday.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua