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Nenshi’s approval rating slipping, support for Calgary police up: poll

Click to play video: 'Mayor Nenshi could still win election today despite slipping support: poll' Mayor Nenshi could still win election today despite slipping support: poll
WATCH: A new Mainstreet poll of Calgary voters show the mayor’s approval rating at 56 per cent - the lowest since the 2010 election. As Gary Bobrovitz reports, both the incumbent mayor and his opponents say they are pleased with the results – Mar 27, 2017

A new poll suggests Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s approval rating is slipping, but support for the Calgary Police Service (CPS) is on the rise.

According to the Mainstreet/Postmedia poll, released on Monday, Nenshi’s approval rating currently sits at 56 per cent.

The number is a sharp decrease from January, when a poll from the same organization indicated his approval rating sat at 65 per cent.

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It is, however, in line with his approval rating from November 2016, which Mainstreet found sat at 57 per cent. A poll from Mainstreet found he also sat at 57 per cent in June 2016.

“So, while this is his lowest rating, it is not by much,” Mainstreet Research president Quito Maggi said in a news release. “Just a single percentage point.”

Nenshi is running for re-election in Calgary’s municipal election on Oct. 16 and Mainstreet suggested that even with a 56 per cent approval rating, Nenshi would be “easily re-elected” if an election were held today.

There are currently four other declared candidates seeking to win the mayor’s job and they all claim Nenshi is vulnerable to an upset at the ballot box: Andre Chabot, David Lapp, Shawn Baldwin and Paul Hughes.

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When asked which candidate they supported, 31 per cent said Nenshi, while 30 per cent said they were undecided and a further 17 per cent said they’d support “someone else.”

“Unless one of his challengers catches fire, right now he would be re-elected,” Maggi said.

Both the mayor and candidates looking to unseat the incumbent say they are encouraged by the results.

“If it’s right, it means I’m probably the third or fourth most popular politician in Canada at this point,” Nenshi told Global News. “But that said, I haven’t read it and there’s an election in October and we will start talking election stuff a couple months before that.”

READ MORE: Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi announces plans to run for re-election in 2017

“If you look at previous mayors, you will see their approval ratings were always significantly higher than that,” Ward 10 Coun. Chabot said, as the only councillor looking to step up to the mayor’s chair. “I think it demonstrates that Calgarians are looking for change.”

“I think a lot of people are sitting on the fence and they are watching and waiting and they are seeing which candidate is really going to represent their views,” Lapp said.

“This poll is an example of the dissatisfaction people are feeling with Mayor Nenshi,” Baldwin said.

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“The mayor came in with substantial fanfare … In the end, just another typical politician,” Hughes said, adding: “My chances are excellent.”

READ MORE: Support of Calgary Police Service split, according to Mainstreet poll

The same poll also asked respondents if they approve or disapprove of the way the CPS is doing its job.

In total, the poll suggests 45 per cent of Calgarians approve of the police force, up six percentage points from September.

The poll also found an increase of 6 percentage points in the approval rating of the Calgary Police – though the disapproval rate is now more intensely negative.

“At the same time that their approval has gone up, their disapproval has become more intensely negative,” Maggi explained. “In September of 2016, only 11 per cent of Calgarians said they strongly disapproved of the Calgary police, that number is now 21 per cent.”

The poll from Mainstreet Research surveyed 831 Calgarians via landlines and cellphones on March 10 and was released on March 27, 2017. Respondents were screened to confirm they were eligible voters. Responses were weighed using demographic information to targets based on the 2011 Census.

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According to Mainstreet, the poll carries a margin of error of ± 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

With files from Gary Bobrovitz

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