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'There has never been a city council this unpopular': Calgary mayor's approval rating sits at 30 per cent


As 2023 comes to a close, the latest ThinkHQ Public Affairs online poll has Calgary city council's report card sitting well below par.

It asked residents how they would personally rate council's performance since being elected.

"For as long as there has been municipal public opinion polling in Calgary, there has never been a city council this unpopular," said Marc Henry, ThinkHQ president.

"It's certainly a low point for this council."

ThinkHQ surveyed 1,138 Calgarians with only 30 per cent saying they "strongly" or "somewhat" approve of the job Mayor Jyoti Gondek is doing.

"She never did get off to a very good start," Henry said.

"The first time we checked on her approval, a few months into her term, she was at 38 per cent."

Henry says several decisions by the mayor have been bold and controversial, but these numbers are historic.

He says the poll took place during Gondek's "difficult" decision to not attend the lighting of the menorah at city hall, to mark the start of Hanukah.

"You've got a third of the sample that may have picked up on it but it also means that 30 per cent might be a little generous, given the controversy around that decision," Henry said.

"So her numbers may be in the 20s at this point."

The survey found that seven per cent of respondents "strongly approve" of the mayor, while another 23 per cent "somewhat approve" of the job she's doing.

However, 43 per cent of people strongly disapprove of Gondek and another 18 per cent somewhat disapprove.

For an overall council, the numbers were slightly better.

Each person was asked to evaluate the job their councillor has done so far.

Thirty-seven per cent say they approve, while 41 per cent disapprove. The rest are unsure.

"The mayor is usually ahead of the rest of council because they've got the highest profile, but in this case, profile doesn't work in her favour," Henry said.

Sixty per cent of respondents disapproved of the work council overall has done since being elected in October 2021.

"They're not improving and we're past the midpoint of the term,” Henry said.

"The political days are starting to get shorter for this council."


"The people that get targeted (in these polls) are those of us that serve in an elected capacity and so we take the results of those polls very seriously," Gondek said.

She admits many people are feeling the pinch when it comes to affordability.

"Our struggles right now are so intense," Gondek said.

"When you look at the state of housing, you look at the state of public safety, people are frustrated and that's what is showing up in these polls."

Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot says he's unsure how others could change their messaging to see a bump in the poll.

"I try and find some consensus or neutral ground, so if that results in my having better numbers, then others should consider emulating what I do," he said.

"I'm not suggesting that I'm the best but typically, I've scored really high on those polls, so maybe I'm doing something right."

The survey did not evaluate each councillor and their performance to date.

The survey took place between Dec. 5 and 11 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Top Stories

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