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Calgarians Sour on City Council

Posted July 4th, 2019 in Calgary, Calgary City Council, Media Release, News by Marc Henry

(Calgary) The past year has been a difficult one for Calgary City Council, with a failed Olympic plebiscite, serious budget challenges, a small business tax revolt and senior business leaders calling into question the financial viability of the current Green Line LRT expansion, to name just some of the trouble spots over the past 12 months.  City Hall’s trials and tribulations over the past year are not lost on Calgary voters, who are growing increasingly disillusioned with this Council, and in particular Mayor Naheed Nenshi.


A new poll by ThinkHQ Public Affairs finds currently just under four-in-ten (39%) Calgarians say they approve of the performance of Nenshi, compared to 55% who disapprove (37% strongly), which represents a precipitous 22 percentage-point drop in the mayor’s approval, year over year.


  • Mayor Nenshi’s approval tends to be slightly higher among women, those living in the Northeast and inner city, and those under the age of 35 (declining sharply with age)


Ratings for Calgary City Council overall are slightly more negative than the mayor’s.  Fewer than one-third (32%) of those interviewed approve of Council, as a whole, while 60% disapprove.  This represents a 16 percentage-point drop in approval for Council since June 2018.


Calgary voters are less negative about the individuals representing their wards on Council, with almost one-half (49%) saying they approve of “their Councillor” vs. 34% who disapprove and 17% who are unsure.  These approval ratings have softened slightly since last year (down 5 percentage points) but the decline is far less drastic than those for the mayor and council overall.


  • Councillor ratings are reasonably consistent across the city, but slightly higher in inner city wards than elsewhere


Commenting on the survey, ThinkHQ President Marc Henry notes:


“Calgarians clearly are not happy with how City Hall is operating today, but most of their ire seems directed at Mayor Nenshi.  You would likely need to go back almost forty years to find a sitting Calgary mayor with approval this low, and the year-over-year drop in his approval is staggering.  And yet, almost half of Calgarians are happy with the performance of their Councillor.


The next municipal election is October 2021, so a little over 2 years away.  The irony is that if these numbers were to hold, most members of Council could likely be re-elected, but that’s not the case for Mayor Nenshi.  It would be very unlikely for the mayor to contest and win re-election with approval this low.”


Click here to view the full release and methodology: YYCCC Municipal Release July 2019



Marc Henry, President ThinkHQ Public Affairs, Inc.



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