Poll shows Nenshi's approval rating drops to 52%, but mayor isn't concerned

Poll shows Nenshi's approval rating drops to 52%, but mayor isn't concerned

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's approval rating fell to 52 per cent in April, according to the results of a poll released Wednesday.

It's the lowest mark in a series of popularity polls conducted by Mainstreet Research.

Mainstreet pegged the mayor's popularity at 57 per cent back in June 2015 and then at the same level in November 2016.

His approval rating then rose to to 65 per cent in January 2017, according to Mainstreet, but has been falling steadily in regular polling the company has done every month since.

In February, it was down to 60 per cent and in March it dipped to 56 per cent.

'I'm not sure how accurate they are'

Nenshi said the fluctuating poll numbers are far from his top concern.

"I'm not sure how accurate they are, frankly," he said. "Things bounce around all the time."

Even with an election looming in October, the mayor said he doesn't worry much about the numbers.

"I go to work every day and I try to do a good job and ultimately, in the autumn, people will have a chance to tell me if I'm doing a good job or not," he said.

"If there is someone out there who has a really compelling vision to present to Calgarians and Calgarians prefer that vision to what I've been able to do and what I hope to be able to continue do for this city, then that's great, because that's exactly what elections are all about."

'He's looking vulnerable'

Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams, however, believes the mayor has reason to worry — but not to panic.

"He's looking vulnerable," she said.

"It's not good to see that your popularity is dropping off."

Williams noted, however, that approval ratings months away from a municipal election don't necessarily indicate how people will actually vote.

"This is, generally speaking, a time of year when people aren't thinking about municipal politics," she said.

"They probably aren't seriously thinking about who they would vote for in the next election and they don't have any idea what the options are."

Hitting a floor?

Mainstreet president Quito Maggi said the next set of polling numbers will offer a clearer picture of the mayor's true trajectory.

"It remains to be seen if this is the floor, or if his numbers could go down even further in the future," Maggi said in a release.

"Of course, it's also possible we could see his numbers rebound in the months to come as well."

Nenshi was re-elected in 2013 with 74 per cent of the vote.

In the upcoming election he faces a field of declared candidates that includes a rare challenge from a sitting city councillor.

Coun. Andre Chabot announced in March he won't seek re-election in Ward 10 and is vying instead for the mayor's seat.

Other declared candidates include local entrepreneur Shane Baldwin, Grow Calgary founder Paul Hughes, and David Lapp, whose campaign slogan declares he's "genuinely interested in everyone."

Survey method and error margin

Mainstreet said it surveyed a random sample of 811 Calgarians on April 11 and 12 using interactive voice response (IVR) technology.

The automated survey was conducted over both cellphones and landlines and Mainstreet then weighted the responses based on demographic information from the 2011 census.

For comparison purposes only, a random sample of this size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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