Recently released poll-by-poll results of the Sept. 20 federal election indicate the race for Skeena-Bulkley Valley was very similar in the Bulkley and Kispiox region to what it was in the riding as a whole.
The two main rivals for the seat, NDP incumbent Taylor Bachrach and Conservative challenger Claire Rattée both increased their overall percentage of the vote at 42.4 per cent and 35.9 per cent respectively compared to 40.9 and 33.2 per cent in 2019.
In the Bulkley-Kispiox the share was almost identical at 42.0 per cent for Bachrach and 36.2 per cent for Rattée.
Those results were not evenly distributed across the region, though.
Bachrach comfortably won the six urban polls in Smithers with 368 of 804 votes or 45.7 per cent over Rattée’s 290 or 36.0 per cent.
In the rural area around Smithers, however, Rattée was the clear favourite garnering 453 of the 1,016 votes (44.6 per cent) cast in the seven Bulkley-Nechako Electoral District A polls. Bachrach received 325 votes or 32.0 per cent.
Similarly in Telkwa with four polls, the Conservative dominated the incumbent with 47.7 per cent of ballots cast (367) compared to Bachrach’s 27.1 per cent (209 votes).
That was also the case at the Round Lake and Evelyn polls where Rattée nearly doubled Bachrach’s share of the vote.
Heading west, though, it was Bachrach who nearly shut out the competition.
In Hazelton’s three polls, the former Smithers mayor soared to victory with 174 of the 261 votes cast (66.7 per cent) to Rattée’s 35 (13.4 per cent.
New Hazelton also voted heavily for Bachrach who garnered 110 of 184 votes or 59.7 per cent.
It was a similar story in Witset (73.5 per cent), Kispiox (83.2 per cent), Sik-E-Dahk (84.7 per cent) and Two Mile (50.8 per cent).
South Hazelton was a much closer race with Bachrach getting 26 votes to Rattée’s 22.
None of the other four candidates managed to crack the 10 per cent share of the vote either in the riding as a whole or in the local region.
The People’s Party of Canada made the greatest gains in Skeena-Bulkley Valley as well as the Bulkley-Kispiox region with Jody Craven snagging 7.6 per cent of the overall vote compared to 2.3 per cent two years ago. Locally he got 280 of the 3,860 votes cast (7.2 per cent) showing his greatest strength in South Hazelton (15.0 per cent), Evelyn (14.3 per cent), Two Mile (13.6 per cent) and Telkwa (9.2 per cent).
The Green Party took the greatest hit in terms of vote share lost. Adeana Young only managed to secure 3.7 per cent of the vote overall down from Mike Sawyer’s 7.9 per cent in 2019. She fared slightly better in the local region taking 4.3 per cent.
The Liberals also lost ground with parachute candidate Lakhwinder Jhaj garnering just 7.6 per cent of the vote. In 2019, the Liberal candidate, Dave Birdi, got an 11.6 per cent share.
Jhaj came late to the party and only made one appearance in the riding and did not make it east of Terrace during the campaign, which could account for the fact she fared even worse in Bulkley-Kispiox than overall with just 4.9 per cent of local votes.
Rod Taylor, the perennial Christian Heritage Party candidate and federal party leader brought up the rear at 2.1 per cent of the popular vote for the riding as a whole. That is a significant decrease from 2019 when he managed 3.3 per cent.
He did do considerably better locally, however, with 5.3 per cent of the vote. Taylor was strongest in Round Lake (8.7 per cent), Evelyn (8.1 per cent), and Telkwa (7.2 per cent).