July 4, 2019 3:54 pm
Updated: July 4, 2019 5:56 pm

Majority of Calgarians disapprove of council, mayor: poll

Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi speaks at the annual Global Petroleum Show in Calgary, Alta.,

Tuesday, June 11, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
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A new survey suggests Calgarians aren’t happy with their municipal government.

The survey conducted by ThinkHQ, showed 39 per cent of Calgarians polled through an online panel approved of Mayor Naheed Nenshi, marking a 22 per cent drop compared to last year.

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Calgarians are more approving of their own councillor at 49 per cent approval, with inner-city ward councillors seeing slightly higher ratings. But only 32 per cent approved of council as a whole — a 16 point drop from June 2018.

“I think a lot of this is stuff we do to ourselves,” Nenshi said Thursday. “It’s a bit chicken and egg, right?

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“So, instead of reminding people that in a CD Howe Institute study last year, of 10 of the largest urban economies in North America, Calgary actually had the lowest taxes and the lowest cost of doing business, we beat ourselves up over issues that are solvable.

“And I think that my colleagues on city council and myself really need to change the channel on this because, ultimately, beating one another up over stuff that we’re fixing is a self-fulfilling prophecy and we can see that resulting in what people’s attitudes are.”

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ThinkHQ president Marc Henry said mayoral approval ratings haven’t been this low in decades.

“You would likely need to go back almost 40 years to find a sitting Calgary mayor with approval this low, and the year-over-year drop in his approval is staggering,” Henry said in a statement. “And yet, almost half of Calgarians are happy with the performance of their councillor.”

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Nenshi gained higher favour among women, people under 35 and citizens living in the northeast and inner-city wards.

The mayor said he has not decided whether he will run in the next municipal election in October 2021.

“You know what my answer always is: I get very, very interested in polls roughly around Thanksgiving 2021.”

ThinkHQ employed an online research panel of 1,253 Calgarians for this poll, weighted to reflect gender, age and region of Calgary population according to Statistics Canada. The online survey utilizes a representative but non-random sample, making a margin of error not applicable. A probability sample of that size would have a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points at a 95 per cent confidence interval.

–with files from Doug Vaessen and Aurelio Perri

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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