Mayor and Council Satisfaction in Calgary

Written by Jack Lucas. Originally published as part of the “Calgary Year in Review” series at the School of Public Policy. 

How satisfied are Calgarians with their city council? To answer this question, the School of Public Policy partnered with the Canadian Municipal Election Study to survey 2,0001 Calgarians at the end of 2018. The study was carried out by Forum Research between November 14 and December 13, 2018; margins of error for overall satisfaction scores reported here are +/- 2.2% (mayor) and +/- 2.3% (council). [1]

satisfaction.jpg

The figure summarizes the results of survey questions about mayor and councillor satisfaction in Calgary. In the “Mayor” column, we report satisfaction scores for Naheed Nenshi across the city as a whole (“Overall”) and in each ward. These scores represent the proportion of respondents who told us they were “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with the Mayor’s performance; the percentage score is reported on the left-hand side and estimates with 95% confidence intervals are reported in the figure itself. 

Mayor Nenshi’s overall satisfaction score is 56% city-wide, but it varies substantially across the city, ranging from well over 55% in some northeast and central wards to 40% and below in central-east and southern wards. Unsurprisingly, these scores are broadly in keeping with ward-level votes for Mayor Nenshi in the 2017 election. 

The second column, labelled “Council”, provides the same scores for Calgary’s fourteen councillors. 

In general, about 60% of Calgarians indicate that they are satisfied with their councillor’s performance. Once again, however, these scores vary substantially by ward. Several councillors enjoy strong scores in the 60 and even 70 percent range, including councillors Gondek, Chu, Davison, Woolley, Farkas, and Demong. In other cases, such as wards seven (Farrell) and ten (Jones), opinion is a bit more divided. Just one councillor, Diane Colley-Urquhart, receives an overall score below 45 percent. 

While Calgarians are moderately satisfied with the performance of their mayor and individual councillors, they are much less satisfied with the performance of Calgary city council as a whole: just 37 percent of Calgarians report being satisfied with city council’s general performance. These numbers are nearly identical to Calgarians’ low satisfaction with the Alberta provincial government, which is also just 37 percent. 

[1] As is clear in the figure, ward-level margins of error are higher. Overall city-wide scores are weighted; ward-level estimates are unweighted. For full weighted and unweighted results, along with technical documentation, data, and replication files, please visit https://dataverse.scholarsportal.info/dataverse/jacklucas 

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