Close to 70 per cent of Ottawa residents feel the issues in the transit strike are important enough that they would rather put up with the strike for another month than see the city back down, according to a recently conducted Harris/Decima survey.

The $35,000 survey was conducted for the City of Ottawa, and polled 816 people from across the city.

“The main point that we should take away from this is that people, broadly speaking, support the position the city has taken and want the city to hold firm to what they’ve put forth as a proposal to the union,” said Harris/Decima senior vice-president Jeff Walker.

Walker said the survey revealed residents have a very keen interest in the issue — more than any municipal issue in the last few years.

He said support for the city was higher than most labour disputes about which they surveyed.
Walker said they worked hard to make the poll as balanced as possible and deal strictly with whether they believed the city’s offer and what the union was demanding was reasonable or not.

“I don’t think all residents necessarily know chapter and verse about the elements of the offer, but it’s clear the more they know about what’s on the table, the more likely they are to see the city’s position as reasonable,” he said.

Results from the survey were quickly dismissed by president of the Ottawa and District Labour Council, Sean McKenny.

“Now we’re hearing that our city council has recently hired a polling firm to gauge public reaction and are basing their next steps on opinion polls. Not the issues, but rather opinion polls. It’s absolutely appalling,” he said.

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