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Calgarians’ Views on Mayor & Council Remain Stubbornly Negative

Posted July 12th, 2023 in Alberta Election, Alberta Politics, Calgary, Edmonton, Media Release, News by Marc Henry


Media Release




(Calgary) Now almost midway through their term, Calgarians’ views on Calgary City Council remain decidedly negative according to a recent ThinkHQ Public Affairs survey. These findings align with those gathered last Fall, although one bright spot for Councillors is that their ratings among constituents have improved nominally over the past year.


Mayor Jyoti Gondek


Mayor Gondek has struggled since being elected in October 2021 and has not gained any significant ground with voters regarding their ratings of her performance. The mayor currently sits at 36% approval compared to 55% disapproval this Summer, largely unchanged over the past year. Adding to her woes, the mayor’s support is quite soft, while opposition is intense. Just one-in-ten Calgarians offer strong approval for Gondek (26% “somewhat approve”), while four-in-ten (40%) strongly disapprove of her performance (15% “somewhat disapprove”).



  • There is a notable “gender-gap” in Gondek’s approval ratings. Women are somewhat more positive in their appraisals than men, while men are decidedly more negative toward the mayor
  • Calgarians aged 55+ offer weaker and more negative ratings of Gondek than their younger cohorts
  • Disapproval for the mayor is somewhat more concentrated in established communities and in households earning more than $125,000 a year


Calgary City Councillors


Calgarians were asked to rate their ward councillor’s performance since they were elected in 2021. Aggregately, councillors receive modestly positive ratings from constituents, with 42% saying they approve of their councillor compared to 39% saying they disapprove. This represents a nominal improvement in councillor ratings over the past year, up 3 points since our last survey in Fall 2022. That said, compared to the longitudinal tracking over the past decade, these appraisals are tepid.


Councillor performance ratings are reasonably consistent across demographic strata, with some variation, particularly in negative evaluations.


  • Southwest and inner-city residents offer the lowest approval of their councillors, with support tending to increase as one moves from the city core to the suburbs
  • Men are more negative in their ratings of councillors than women, as are those aged 55+ (disapproval tending to increase with age)


City Council Overall


Council’s overall approval with citizens tends to track in line (though generally behind) that of the mayor. This Summer, just over one-third (35%) of Calgarians say they approve of the performance of their municipal politicians, compared to 54% who disapprove. Again, negative ratings tend to be more intense than positive ones.


  • As with previous measures, age and gender influence performance ratings, with men and older voters decidedly more negative in their appraisals




Commenting on these survey results, ThinkHQ President Marc Henry notes:


“This a not a report card you would put on the fridge. We’re nearing the mid-point of this Council’s term, and their numbers remain chronically weak.


For Mayor Gondek, she has struggled from the outset and has not found her feet yet. For councillors, the news is a bit more positive. They’ve seen a little increase in their constituent ratings, but compared to previous councils, they are still underperforming.


Some of this can perhaps be explained by the historic turnover on Council in the last election – a new mayor and a majority of new councillors – there’s bound to be a few missteps and hiccups as they learn the ropes. But it is at this stage you might expect to see some improvement – if you haven’t learned the job in 18 months, chances are you never will.


It’s also at this stage – even though the next municipal election is 28 months away – that politicians tend to take stock and think about the prospects ahead. Many of the councillors, should they choose to run again in 2025, will have a relatively easy path to re-election (provided they continue to perform as well as they have to date). For others, re-election would be a bit bumpier.


The mayor’s situation is a bit more interesting. Gondek is only in her first term, and for most mayors, the first re-election campaign is the easiest. This mayor could end up the exception to this rule, however. If she plans to run again and be successful, she’ll need to find a way to connect with constituents in a manner that has eluded her so far. Her approval/disapproval has held in negative territory for almost the entirety of her term, and if that stubborn trend were to continue, her prospects for re-election are fairly bleak.”



Click here to view the full release and methodology




Media Inquiries:

Marc Henry

President, ThinkHQ Public Affairs, Inc.