New results from the CROP poll commissioned by Radio-Canada suggest most Montrealers think there should be fewer councillors at City Hall — and fewer boroughs, too.

The question about the size of Montreal’s municipal government made mayoral candidates uncomfortable when asked by CBC News reporter Raffy Boudjikanian.

Montreal mayoral candidates Denis Coderre and Richard Bergeron did not return CBC News’ calls to comment, while Marcel Côté said it’s too early to wade into a debate on the issue. Mélanie Joly deflected the question, saying the priority is to clean up corruption.

“Before talking about governance, we need to clean things up,” she said.

“And that’s why all our measures of transparency inspired by what Michael Bloomberg is doing in New York is key to our platform and is our focus,” she continued.

Youri Rivest, vice-president of CROP, said the idea of cutting boroughs is controversial and that answers varied widely depending which part of the city people live in.

He said that's why politicians may be skittish about committing to it — they're afraid to lose votes.

Still, Nine out of 10 poll respondents said it was time to cut the number of councillors, while three-quarters said some of the city’s 19 boroughs should be eliminated or merged with other boroughs.

There are currently 65 city councillors and 38 borough councillors. In comparison, there are 51 councillors in New York City, which is five times the size of Montreal in terms of population.

“I think it’s kind of a rejection of politicians. What they [the respondents] tell us behind this question is, ‘I want less politicians and less politics,’” he said.

The CROP poll was conducted over the weekend by asking a Web panel composed of 1,001 respondents questions about the upcoming election on Nov. 3.

Other poll results

The results focused on corruption and public transit.

In terms of public transit, 59 per cent of those polled said prolonging the metro was most important, while 29 per cent said there needs to be more reserved bus lanes. Only 12 per cent felt a tramway was a priority.

And when it came to corruption, 29 per cent said cleaning up City Hall was their No. 1 priority. 

But many respondents said corruption at City Hall may have dissuaded them from voting.