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'Unusually low': New survey shows decline in Mayor Jyoti Gondek's early approval rating


A new survey by ThinkHQ Public Affairs suggests a majority of Calgarians don't approve of Mayor Jyoti Gondek's performance to date.

According to the survey, just 38 per cent say they approve of Gondek's performance since taking office five months ago, while 53 per cent say they disapprove.

Nine per cent of respondents say they are unsure of how they feel about her performance as mayor thus far.

Such low approval ratings stand out as an anomaly compared to previous ratings of Calgary mayors and there is generally a 'honeymoon phase' for elected officials in the first few months after assuming their role.

In the early days of Dave Bronconnier's tenure as mayor of Calgary, 75 per cent of Calgarians said they approved of the work he had done.

Naheed Nenshi saw staggering support with 86 per cent approval early in his first term as the city's mayor.

"The first five months of Gondek’s administration have been eventful, but perhaps not in the way a new mayor would want," said ThinkHQ Public Affairs' president Marc Henry.

"The arena deal fell apart with the Flames, protests in the beltline, a (nearly) four per cent tax increase when it was supposed to be zero, etc. There are certainly circumstances outside of the mayor's control, but others are entirely of her own making."

In the 2021 muncipal election, Gondek received slightly more than 45 per cent of the 390,383 votes cast for mayor.

Individual city councillors received roughly 45 per cent support from their constituents, while 31 per cent disapprove and 24 per cent of voters are unsure about the work that has been done.

"It’s also unusual for councillors to have better approval ratings than the mayor, particularly with a council where two-thirds are newcomers," said Henry. "This could be a challenge for Gondek going forward."

Gondek said on Tuesday that two years of uncertainty have been tough for many Calgarians.

"This is a point in time where Calgarians, including myself, have been two years into the most uncertain time of our lives and people are feeling the pressure. They're feeling the pressure of the economy, they're feeling the pressure of the downturn, and I think people are frustrated," she said.

"If I ran to be popular, I would have done nothing but sit quietly in my first few months. I didn't do that, because we were elected as a council with a specific mandate to do a lot of heavy work.

"People elected us to make difficult decisions in a really difficult time, and to bring them out of the troubled times that they're in. But there's no one, no single person, that can do that in 100 days. We can do that in the four years that we have a term, and we will do that."

Gondek also questioned the fairness of comparing her approval number to previous mayors.

"This is not 20 years ago, it's not 10 to 11 years ago, it's not even two years ago," she said. 

"Would I be happier if we weren't in a pandemic and the economy was great? Yeah, I'd be much happier. That'd be fantastic. But that's not the circumstances that I ran under."

The online survey was conducted between March 14 - 21 and heard from 1,101 Calgarians from a random stratified sample of panelists. ThinkHQ says the survey has a 2.9 per cent margin of error 19 times out of 20.

No Honeymoon for Calgary's news mayor: ThinkHQ by CTV Calgary on Scribd Top Stories

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