“So many men, so little time.”

That’s the way my column started based on a new Ivrnet poll. It shows Ald. Ric McIver leading Calgary’s mayoral race with 44 per cent support. Bob Hawksworth follows with 13. The other eight candidates are trailing.

Then CTV anchor Barb Higgins resigned, and if she makes it official, it will shake up the race.

Sure, there’s her name recognition, but she wields a powerful political tool: Optimism.

Higgins is upbeat personified.

Research proves it. Martin Seligman, a professor at University of Pennsylvania, and Harold Zullow showed that candidates with the most positive speeches won U.S. elections over the course of four decades. They continue to predict wins based on positive messages.

The electorate follows optimism, research shows.

In short, we don’t want to hear how lousy current council is, or gloom and doom for our city. We want can-do solutions.

Those at the bottom need to do something. Of 431 Calgarians polled, MLA Kent Hehr has eight per cent support, former Homeless Foundation chief Wayne Stewart has seven per cent, and Ald. Joe Connelly rings in at six per cent. Clustering in with five per cent each are Craig Hughes, Alnoor Kassam, Jon Lord and Craig Burrows. Mount Royal Prof. Naheed Nenshi trails in this poll with four per cent. (His northeast quadrant was underrepresented with only 16 per cent of respondents.)

Maybe you don’t have the Higgins smile, but stressing positives can’t hurt.

I looked at some candidate websites to get a sense of their messages.

Hehr, I’m sorry, but as a busy mom with a full-time job and aging parents, I’m not excited about developing an Edmonton-Calgary consultation. More cops? There’s no proof that makes us safer. For that, we would need to address families in crisis, help foster kids. You have a fantastic story of resilience. Show us how you look at the world.

Kassam’s website is a conversation hub, but fully lacks him.

Connelly. Safe communities, transparent government, a new type of politics. Ya, just how?

Stewart cares about the disadvantaged and his camp boldly came out with a poll saying he’s winning the race. Good chutzpah.

I enjoy Nenshi’s upbeat tweets paired with the best blog with substance.

So many men, so little time. And now, almost certainly, one woman to up the ante.