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No voter honeymoon for new Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante: poll

Click to play video: 'Majority of Montrealers unhappy with Plante’s performance as mayor' Majority of Montrealers unhappy with Plante’s performance as mayor
WATCH: A new Ipsos Poll commissioned by La Presse found that six out of 10 Montrealers say they are not satisfied with the city's Projet Montreal government. Global's Matt Grillo reports – Feb 7, 2018

A new Ipsos Poll commissioned by La Presse suggests Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and her new administration are facing an uphill battle.

The survey, conducted online and by telephone, between Feb. 2 and Feb. 6, showed that after only three months in office, six out of 10 Montrealers said they were not satisfied with the work of the Plante administration.

The proportion of respondents who expressed satisfaction totalled less than 34 per cent.

READ MORE: Despite controversy, Valérie Plante’s Montreal 2018 budget adopted

The mayor has caught a lot of heat from the opposition and mayors of the demerged cities over tax hikes announced in the 2018 budget, and the survey indicates the move wasn’t popular with Montrealers either.

Of 502 people polled, 77 per cent said they were unhappy with the tax increases, while 63 per cent expressed dissatisfaction with the increase in municipal user fees which include construction permits, access to sporting facilities, licensing pets and tickets.

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Snow removal has also been an issue this winter, with over 61 per cent of respondents saying they were unhappy with the quality of service.

WATCH BELOW: Snow, snow, go away

But the news wasn’t all bad for the Projet Montreal administration.

Cancelling the Formula E race was met with 66 per cent approval, while the decision to add 300 hybrid buses to the Société de transport de Montreal’s (STM) fleet was also welcomed, with 74 per cent agreeing it was a good decision.

READ MORE: Montreal mayor cancels Formula E over cost overruns, sponsorship woes

Surprisingly, suspending the city’s controversial pit bull ban — seen by some as one of the reasons for former mayor Denis Coderre’s downfall — had respondents divided.

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Forty-two per cent said they were happy with the decision to drop the pit bull ban, while 44 per cent were not.

READ MORE: Coderre reflects on years in office 3 days after stunning mayoral election defeat

According to Ipsos VP Sébastien Dallaire, it’s rare to see such high rates of dissatisfaction for a new mayor.

He told Global News that new administrations generally benefit from a certain grace period, but he’s not seeing that now.

Dallaire said the pre-election narrative may have played a role in shaping voters’ perception of the Projet Montreal party.

“They were portrayed by the opposition as big spenders and bad managers and because of the narrative during the campaign. Voter fears were confirmed,” he said.

READ MORE: Change needed to encourage women to enter politics, Justin Trudeau says

However, Dallaire cautioned against judging Plante’s government too harshly and jumping to conclusions.

“They were faced with a deficit and had a hard decision to make,” he said. “They were put in a tough situation, between a rock and a hard place.”

Asked whether Plante’s gender may have played a role in voter dissatisfaction, Dallaire said it was hard to say as the poll didn’t address the question. Plante is the first woman mayor of the city of Montreal.

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He did note however that Plante’s approval ratings were 10 points higher among women than men.

“Men tend to pay more importance to financial issues,” he said, which could explain the higher dissatisfaction noticed among male respondents.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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