If there’s one thing guaranteed to keep a politician up all night it’s a rough poll.
So Mayor Dave Bronconnier and his coterie of aldermen better get ready for some tossing and turning — the people have spoken.
An exclusive telephone poll conducted by Metro News in June took the temperature of Calgarians and those who responded were boiling hot.
Likely voters in next fall’s election offered some terse advice for their three-term mayor as to whether he should take another run at Calgary’s top job.
A staggering 56 per cent advised Bronconnier to not just step away from the mayor’s chair, but leave politics altogether.
No provincial MLA post, not a second vain attempt to gain a federal Liberal foothold in Calgary. Just fade away from public life.
A mere 15 per cent of the almost 1,100 respondents were willing to give the mayor another shot.
When asked if an election was held today, 59 per cent said they would check any other box than Bronconnier’s with only 17 per cent saying they would vote for the once untouchable mayor.
And if aldermen feel they will avoid the voters’ wrath, which seems focused on the man at the helm, they’d better think again. Of those who responded, only 63 per cent could pick their representative out of a lineup.
And those who could were not happy.
Fewer than half (46 per cent) said they would give the incumbent another chance, while 38 per cent said they will likely vote for another candidate — any candidate.
Since the 2007 election, in which a record three incumbents were fired, council has done little to make itself popular with grumbling voters.
Despite turbulent economic times, council approved a 5.3 per cent tax hike for 2009, opted to charge transit users who use LRT park and ride lots, and on top of all that, agreed to take a healthy 5.5 per cent raise while many in the city are facing wage freezes and layoffs.
The one poll number that may be even more worrying than the apparent disdain for how council has purported itself is how many Calgarians no longer care.
More than 14,000 live respondents picked up the phone and of those who answered, only 1,100 identified themselves as likely voters.
The natives are restless.
And clearly the mayor and his council colleagues should be as well.
– Shawn Logan is a veteran municipal affairs reporter who covered Calgary city hall for three years after working at a number of publications in southern Alberta.
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