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Mayor Nenshi’s approval takes post-Olympic plebiscite tumble: ThinkHQ panel

The perfect storm of pressing issues has taken its toll on Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s approval, with a recent survey showing a nearly 20 per cent drop in performance rating.

A survey published Thursday by Calgary research firm ThinkHQ shows that 43 per cent of Calgarians either strongly or somewhat approve of the job being done by Nenshi – down from the low 60s earlier this year. SEE FULL SURVEY BELOW.

It’s the lowest approval mark for the mayor in ThinkHQs annual panel research. The highest recent approval was in June 2014 when the mayor was at 74 per cent.

ThinkHQ president Marc Henry said the Nenshi’s numbers definitely suffer from an Olympic fatigue, but it wasn’t the only thing dogging the three-term mayor.

“Certainly the Olympic plebiscite didn’t help his stature, it was a major problem for him,” Henry said.

“But I think you have tough economic times, Trans Mountain being sidelined by a court decision, you see a real drop in people’s attitudes about the economy and the future, you’ve got a council that’s becoming increasingly rancorous, you’ve got a four-year budget cycle where they’re taking a lot of grief – there are a lot of threads unravelling for the mayor at the same time.”

The city is grappling with rising property taxes, an austerity budget, ongoing problems with the downtown tax shift and a perpetually high unemployment rate that’s largely related to the discounted price of Alberta oil and the inability of Calgary’s economy to get back on track.

Henry blames the combination of factors for the precipitous drop, especially in the mayor strong approval ratings, which were cut in half.

“We’ve never seen anything like this since Nenshi was elected.”


Henry also said that when a mayor has been in a job for a long time, it’s natural for the approval rating to slowly erode, especially when potentially unpopular decisions begin to stack up.

“There’s is a natural shelf life for all politicians. It’s just a matter of how long it takes.

“You reach a point where it’s harder to move those numbers up than it is to see them drop. The days of seeing the mayor’s number up near the 80 (per cent) mark like you did five years ago after the flood, that’s not going to happen.”

The ThinkHQConnect and MARU research panel was in the field from Nov. 22 to 26 and had 347 respondents, weighted to reflect age, gender, and region, according to Statistics Canada.

The survey uses a representative, but non-random sample, therefore margin of error isn’t applicable. However a probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of 5.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

For more information on the panels visit thinkhq.com