Parker has big lead over rivals
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has stormed to a decisive lead in the mayoral race a week out from election day, a Press poll shows.
The survey of 400 voters, conducted between September 24 and 29, showed that of those who had voted or planned to vote, Parker had 36 per cent support to Jim Anderton's 20 per cent.
Another 28 per cent had not decided, 16 per cent would not disclose and 1 per cent opted for Blair Anderson.
The poll results, with a margin of error of 5.3 per cent, echoed the trend of an online poll this week that showed Parker ahead by 55 per cent to Anderton's 41 per cent.
A Press poll in August had Anderton ahead by 50 per cent to Parker's 31 per cent of those who had made a choice.
The latest poll also looked at the impact of the September 4 earthquake on voter behaviour, with Parker widely expected to have benefited from his handling of issues in the aftermath.
However, the poll found 74 per cent had not changed their vote as a result of the quake. Of the 13 per cent who had changed their mind, 80 per cent now supported Parker.
Both of the main candidates believe the race will be tight.
Parker said the "real result" would not be known until next Saturday, while Anderton said he could still win.
Parker held the the lead in three city wards, but not in Hagley-Ferrymead, Shirley-Papanui and Banks Peninsula.
He and Anderton were tied for support in the Riccarton-Wigram ward, which includes part of Anderton's Wigram parliamentary electorate.
The results showed Parker was comfortably leading across all voter age groups.
Parker said he found it "pretty humbling to find myself leading the poll", but he was not taking his surge in popularity for granted.
"There are a couple of political truisms," he said. "One is it's better to be ahead in polls than behind and the other is to remember the only poll that counts is on the day."
He said there was still "a long way to" next Saturday, and he had always believed the mayoralty race would be close.
Anderton was not surprised at the poll findings but said there was still time to turn his fortunes around before election day.
"There's an old saying that 24 hours is a long time in politics, and nine days is a lifetime," he said.
"I don't give up – ever."
His team would continue its campaign strategy right to the last minute, he said.