Do Calgarians Support Municipal Funds for a New NHL Arena?

Written by Jack Lucas

Should the City of Calgary contribute municipal funds to a new NHL arena? Opinion among Calgarians is divided: about 46% support the idea, 50% oppose it, and the rest aren’t sure.[1] However, as we can see in the figure below, the two sides are strikingly different in the firmness of their opinions: opponents tend to be strongly opposed, whereas supporters are more likely to be merely “somewhat” supportive.

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We can learn a bit more about these opinions by breaking our respondents down into sub-groups. In each of the graphs below, we report the proportion of each group that supports municipal funds for an NHL arena, along with 95% confidence intervals – if the “whiskers” for each bar overlap those for another bar in the same graph, the difference between the two groups is not statistically significant – meaning that the difference between the groups may well be due to chance.

In some sub-groups, we find no significant differences in levels of support. Despite some variation by ward, for example, no ward is significantly more or less supportive than any other ward; opinion is fairly evenly divided on the issue all across the city. The same goes for gender: women are no more likely to support or oppose the arena than men.

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screen shot 2019-01-23 at 11.34.55 amIn other cases, however, we do see significant differences between the groups. Those who voted for Naheed Nenshi in 2017 are significantly less likely to support municipal funds for an NHL arena than those who voted for a different candidate in 2017 – a reflection, perhaps, of the contentious arena debates that occupied considerable attention during the 2017 mayoral campaign. Fiscal conservatives are less likely than fiscal liberals to support an NHL arena — although fiscal conservatives do not differ significantly from fiscal moderates. Civic identity (the extent to which a respondent identifies as a Calgarian) is positively related to support for the arena: in general, deeper identification with Calgary makes for higher support. 

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[1] All findings reported here are from the “Calgary Year in Review” survey, commissioned by the School of Public Policy and carried out by Forum Research between November 14 and December 13, 2018. Total number of respondents after quality checks were complete was 1,975. The margin of error for a sample of 1,975 people at a 95 percent confidence interval is 2.2 percent and larger for smaller groups within the sample. Please see here for more details.

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