Support for the Yes campaign has trended steadlily down, according to recent polls.

Support for the Yes campaign has trended steadlily down, according to recent polls.

New referendum poll finds strong lead for No side

Yes support slips to 33 per cent for new tax to fund transit in Metro Vancouver, No rises to 55 per cent

A new poll gives the No campaign a growing advantage in the transit and transportation referendum a week before ballots are to be mailed out.

The Insights West online survey found 55 per cent of Metro Vancouver voters definitely or probably will vote No, compared to 33 per cent definite or probable Yes voters.

That’s a two-point gain for the No side and a five-point drop in Yes support since a previous poll in February.

About 11 per cent of respondents were undecided as to whether they will support the proposed 0.5 per cent sales tax to fund transit upgrades.

Opposition is strongest among older and middle-aged voters, as well as men and those who drive.

Not even a majority of regular transit users now intend to vote Yes – support in that group fell to 46 per cent.

“Over the past month, the animosity from drivers to the proposed funding structure for transit improvements has hardened,” Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco said. “But even among transit riders, who conceivably stand to benefit directly from the transportation plan, the level of support for Yes has dropped consistently every month.”

Support is highest at 43 per cent in Richmond and Vancouver, but that drops to 39 per cent on the North Shore, 32 per cent in Burnaby, the Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge, and to just 24 per cent South of the Fraser

Among Yes voters, most continue to say they’re dissatisfied with TransLink’s performance but believe the investments to be funded by the Congestion Improvement Tax is the best way to deal with current and future transit problems.

Two-thirds of No voters believe there are other ways to fund expansion and doubt the new tax will stay at 0.5 per cent if it’s introduced.

The survey used 1,604 Metro Vancouver online participants and had a margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Canseco said a second survey was conducted just after the announcement businessman Jim Pattison will head an accountability committee overseeing the flow of new money. It found just three per cent of No voters were more likely to vote Yes because of Pattison’s involvement.