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Calgary City Council 1-Year Report Card

Posted November 10th, 2022 in Alberta Politics, Calgary, Media Release, News by Marc Henry


Media Release

November 10, 2022 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Calgary) Now one-year into a four-year term, Calgary’s City Council continues to struggle to gain ground with electors according to a recent ThinkHQ Public Affairs survey. Indeed, both mayor and councillors, having received soft approval ratings in the spring have seen further erosion since.


Mayor Jyoti Gondek


Mayor Gondek has dropped to an unprecedently low rating, currently sitting at 35% approval compared to 55% who now disapprove of the freshman mayor’s performance. This represents a nominal 3 percentage-point drop in approval for Gondek since the spring of this year. The intensity of voter sentiment is also a concern for the mayor, with strong negativity leading strong support on a 3:1 basis (35% strongly disapprove vs. 11% strongly approve).



  • Residents of Northwest Calgary and those living in the inner city offer slightly more positive ratings of Gondek, as do women
  • Disapproval for the mayor is disproportionately higher among men, those over 55, and those living in the South
  • Gondek’s disapproval climbs with age and distance from the City centre


Calgary City Councillors


Calgarians were asked to rate the performance of their ward councillor’s performance over the past year. Aggregately, councillors receive tepid ratings from voters, with 39% saying they approve of their councillor compared to 35% saying they disapprove. Although modestly positive overall and tracking ahead of Mayor Gondek, these findings represent a “new low” for ratings of councillors in Calgary, with positive sentiment down 6 percentage-points since March 2022.


Councillor performance ratings are reasonably consistent across demographic strata, with a few variations:


  • Men tend to offer more negative ratings of their councillors, as do those living in the inner city




Commenting on the new survey results, ThinkHQ President Marc Henry notes:


“These ratings of City Council are not good. In fact, we’ve never seen public sentiment towards mayor and councillors at these levels in Calgary before.


It’s been a bumpy year for Council. They’ve had some challenging issues to contend with, and don’t seem to really have their ‘sea legs’ yet as far as most Calgarians are concerned. There were a host of issues early on which set a sour tone with many voters – last year’s surprise tax increase, the arena deal going sideways, the Climate Emergency, along with sundry ‘scandals’ since. At this stage we have a majority of voters who feel Council is not focusing on the issues that most matter to them – issues like public safety, cost of living and taxes, community development and so on … there’s definitely a disconnect between many voters and this Council.


This is particularly notable as they are about to begin debate on the City’s 4-year budget, setting service levels, infrastructure investments and tax rates over the rest of their term. It’s an opportunity for Council to perhaps ‘reset’ public views on their priorities and performance, although it is equally possible for Council to re-enforce existing negative sentiments with a ‘bad’ budget or budget process.


One might have expected Council’s ratings to be a bit ‘wobbly’ given the circumstances – mostly new councillors and a new mayor. There are going to be bumps, and they’ve only been on the job for a little more than a year. But the next civic election is only a little more than 1,000 days away, and Mayor Gondek and councillors will want to try to turn these ratings around – re-election would be very challenging if public sentiment continues to be this negative.”.


Click here to view the full release and methodology




Media Inquiries:

Marc Henry

President, ThinkHQ Public Affairs, Inc.