Calgary's crowded mayoral contest currently a 'two-horse race': poll
There may be nearly 30 candidates vying to become Calgary's next mayor but, according to a recent poll, Jeromy Farkas and Jyoti Gondek are currently well ahead of the pack when it comes to voter support.
According to ThinkHQ Public Affair's Calgary's Mayor's Race Tightening survey, 30 per cent of voters plan to cast a ballot for Farkas while 25 per cent intend to vote for Gondek.
The survey suggests 28 per cent of Calgary voters remain undecided.
ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc.'s poll results indicate Jeff Davison is currently a distant third as six per cent of voters plan to support the outgoing Ward 6 councillor.
According to the survey:
· Three per cent of voters plan to vote for Brad Field
· Three per cent of voters had planned to vote for former MP Kent Hehr who has since withdrawn from the race
· Two per cent of voters plan to vote for Jan Damery
· Two per cent of voters plans to vote for one of the other candidates
· One per cent of eligible voters say they don't intend to vote
"It took a while but, with 26 days to go, Calgary’s mayoral race has finally become 'hotly contested'," said Marc Henry, ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. president, in a statement released Wednesday. "For months, the race showed little movement, but there’s been plenty in the past few weeks.
"There are 27 candidates running to replace Naheed Nenshi as mayor, but it’s looking more and more like a two-horse race between incumbent councillors, both finishing their first term in office. Since the start of the campaign, Jeromy Farkas has been the front-runner; he still is but his margin is shrinking.
Jyoti Gondek has made significant gains in the past few weeks and is closing in on Farkas, and with still 28 per cent of voters undecided, the current five-point gap doesn’t mean much."
A ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. survey conducted in July suggested 44 per cent of voters were undecided, 23 per cent of voters would vote for Farkas, 10 per cent would vote for Gondek and seven per cent would vote for Davison.
Henry says time may prove to be on Farkas' side given his current lead and the fact advance polls open Oct. 4. "He also has a committed voter base which typically are more 'dependable' in terms of turning out."
There's also significant reason for optimism within Gondek's camp, according to Henry.
"Gondek has the benefit of momentum, more wind in her sails, and greater growth potential in her vote share. Kent Hehr's decision to withdraw from the race likely most directly benefits councillor Gondek's prospects."
The online survey of 1,109 adult Calgarians was conducted between Sept. 13 and 16 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Calgarians will head to the polls for the municipal election on Oct. 18.
FARKAS: 'I HAVE A PROVEN RECORD'
In an interview with CTV News, mayoral candidate Jeromy Farkas expressed excitement over the news that his team was gaining strong traction in polls.
“It shows us with a bit of a head start, but it’s nothing you can get overconfident about,” he said.
“Our message is resonating and I'm seeking a mandate for real change and to be able to change the status quo, which is here at City Hall. It makes sense that some people have benefited from the status quo, would like to see stays things to stay the same, but I think Calgarians are looking for change and they're responding to that message, economic opportunity, public safety and transparency.”
Jeromy Farkas, Sept. 22, 2021
Farkas added that he is the only candidate with a ‘proven record of actually following through.’
“I’m campaigning for reform and actually turning down the city council golden pension, advocating for financial restraints, voting against defunding the police, there's some big differences between myself and the competitors,” Farkas said.
“Our message is about economic opportunity, getting Calgarians back to work, addressing those Nenshi/ Gondek tax hikes, a seven and a half percent tax increase last year on residents and homeowners that had a huge impact on people.”
'WE HAVE MOMENTUM': GONDEK CAMPAIGN
Stephen Carter, who is the campaign manager for Jyoti Gondek says the most important results of the recent ThinkHQ poll aren’t the numbers, but the trend of momentum increasing for the campaign.
“We have momentum,” Carter said. “Right now we can see tat trend line is up for Gondek and down for Davison and Farkas so we’re really excited about this poll.
“I think that people want a candidate that is actually reflecting their needs, what they're seeing in the city, somebody who's not just talking about one issue like taxation or something along those lines, but instead the full suite of city services.”
Carter notes that Gondek’s campaign’s final push will be towards job creation, reinvigorating the downtown and creating affordable access to childcare.
"That violence was rooted in racism," said Calgary Ward 3 Counc. Jyoti Gondek, about an anti-racism protest in Red Deer that turned violent. "You have to call it out for what it is."
When asked what sets Gondek apart from Farkas, Carter added that she had the ability to bring people together and create a stronger unity amongst council.
“The number one thing is that Farkas isn’t able to build teams, or build a coalition,” Carter said.
“Farkas has been voting for example, 130 times against ideas, and 117 of those have passed in council, so he's just saying no to things without trying to build a coalition to get people to agree with them. If he was voting against motions and having people agree with him that he'd be able to show that he's part of a team. Jyoti is on the right side of issues and able to bring a team along with her to actually create opportunities for Calgarians.”
DAVISON: 'WE NEED TO SUPPORT CALGARIANS'
Mayoral candidate Jeff Davison sits a distant third in the recent ThinkHQ poll, but he continues to vouch for votes as the choice for a stronger economic recovery.
Davison released a wide economic development plan Wednesday outlining efforts to attract young talent to the city, future proofing the economy, implementing continuous learning strategies, and focussing on stronger business partnerships.
“The fact is that Calgary doesn't recover, unless all Calgarians recover, but too many of our neighbors and friends have lost hope that a recovery will happen. While hope is not a plan with this plan, there is hope,” Davison said.
“My opponent on the far right, wants to tear Calgary down by saying no and consistently votes against economic recovery efforts. My opponent on the left would see wasting years studying and revaluating the things we already need to do. Over the next few weeks I'm going to talk a lot about how we're going to support Calgarians by getting our city back on track.”
Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison responded to allegations his campaign is tied to a third-party advertiser.
Davison added that ‘complex problems require complex solutions,’ and noted that his track record has proven that.
“When they said we couldn't have a new event centre, I moved forward and got that done, when they said we couldn't compete with Vancouver's film industry, we made that happen too,” said Davison.
“I was a major player in the Greenline development, the Arts Commons transformation and the BMO Centre expansion. Being mayor is a vital role that requires expertise, and frankly my last four years have shown what I'm going to do over the next four.”
DAMERY: 'NONE OF THE EXISTING COUNCILLORS DESERVE A PROMOTION'
Jan Damery, who sits in fifth place according to the latest ThinkHQ poll is calling out Calgary city council for its lack of action in introducing a municipal vaccine passport bylaw.
She says Wednesday’s council meeting was far too late and had previously called for vaccine passports in July. During that time, 44 Calgarians have died of COVID-19.
Council has been dysfunctional and divisive, they're probably going to spend four hours trying to draft an amendment and it’s a waste of time because many of them talk about wasting taxpayers' money,” Damery said.
Jan Damery, July 27, 2021 in Calgary, Alberta
“So I'm offering a fresh perspective, I'm offering specific ideas, and I'm actually offering leadership. I've got leadership experience in all three sectors, and I have built coalitions to get things done big things done.”
When asked about the latest poll results, Damery was pleased to be placed within the top five candidates and expects to see a steady climb for her campaign in the weeks ahead.
She hopes Calgarians will pay attention to other candidates not currently on council.
“There's been so much noise with federal elections and other provincial things going on. It's natural that those on council have the name recognition, and there's just not been any media focus or attention on the municipal election,” she said.
“So now's the time today, we reset, this is the election and it's really about looking for a fresh perspective and specific ideas that I have show leadership in because we’re not seeing that in Council.”
Calgarians will head to the polls for the municipal election on Oct. 18.