CALGARY -- A new poll has found growing pessimism amongst Calgarians regarding the direction the city is heading and the state of the local economy.

ThinkHQ released the results of its 'A plurality of Calgarians believe the city is on the wrong track' poll Monday morning, roughly a year before Calgarians cast a ballot in the 2021 municipal election.

The poll asked 'Generally speaking, do you think the City of Calgary is on the right track or wrong track right now?' and the breakdown of the responses consisted of:

  • Definitely right track – Five per cent
  • Somewhat right track – 31 per cent
  • Unsure – 21 per cent
  • Somewhat wrong track – 22 per cent
  • Definitely wrong track – 21 per cent

The poll found considerable variations in opinion when comparing demographics.

The 612 male respondents were far more likely to have an unfavourable view of the path of the city than the 625 female respondents (51 per cent of men said Calgary was on the wrong track compared to 35 per cent of women).

Calgarians with household income of $125K or more per year (268 respondents) were more likely to say Calgary was on the wrong track than those with household income below that line (778 respondents). 54 per cent of respondents in the higher income group said Calgary was on the wrong track while 39 per cent of the lower income group said Calgary was on the wrong track.

There was also a noticeable division between the age groups. The majority of respondents 55 years of age or over (53 per cent) questioned the path of the city. In the 35 to 54 age group, 47 per cent said Calgary was on the wrong path while 29 per cent of respondents under the age of 35 held a pessimistic view of Calgary's direction.

Roughly 80 per cent of all respondents described the state of Calgary's economy as weak including 36 per cent who characterized the economy as 'very weak'.

Marc Henry, president of ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc., believes a growth in voter dissatisfaction could result in one of the more interesting municipal campaigns in recent history.

"Even at this very early stage, we know there will be significant turnover on Council, with a number of current councillors indicating they won’t be seeking re-election," said Henry in a statement. "We’re not sure of Mayor Nenshi’s intentions just yet, but if he runs for re-election, he’s already got at least one serious contender in Councillor Jeromy Farkas.

"What we do know is that voters are not in a particularly hospitable mood at the moment, which generally signals a tougher time for incumbents. There is considerable dissatisfaction about where the city is going today. We’re also at or near the bottom of an economic rollercoaster in Alberta, and economic anxiety in Calgary is palpable at the moment with few encouraging signals on the horizon."

The poll of 1,237 adult Calgarians was conducted between Sept. 8 – 12, 2020 via an online research panel and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points 19 times out of 20.