New poll puts Naheed Nenshi 15 points ahead of Bill Smith in mayor's race

A new poll done for a Green Line advocacy group found strong support for the project — and for the incumbent mayor.

Poll was commissioned by LRT on the Green Foundation over 4-day period in early October

Duane Bratt on Green Line poll

5 years ago
Duration 4:46
MRU political science professor Duane Bratt on the Calgary mayor's poll commissioned by the LRT on the Green Foundation.

A new poll done for a Green Line advocacy group found strong support for the project — and for the incumbent mayor.

Commissioned by LRT on the Green Foundation, the online poll found 70 per cent of respondents want to see the full, 46-kilometre route built in stages and 77 per cent support moving ahead with a 20-kilometre first stage currently funded by the three levels of government.

The survey also asked respondents who they support for mayor and found:

  • Naheed Nenshi 41 per cent.
  • Bill Smith 26 per cent.
  • Andre Chabot three per cent.
  • Other two per cent.
  • Undecided 28 per cent.

The online survey was done by the firm Asking Canadians between Oct. 7 and 10 utilizing 1,004 respondents, which it says is a "representative but non-random sample, therefore margin of error is not applicable."

A probability sample of that size would yield a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

An earlier poll done by Mainstreet Research, however, showed the exact opposite — Smith 17 points ahead of Nenshi amongst decided voters, 48 per cent to 31 per cent.

Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt told CBC Calgary News at 6 the reason for the stark difference in results comes down to methodology.

Mainstreet used robocalls, or computer generated, random phone calls while Asking Canadians used an online survey that respondents signed up for, though many of their surveys are not political in nature.

"Obviously if you're looking at both of these, you're going, 'what is going on here?' with a 32 point swing," said Bratt.

"But what I break it down to is the demographic data, and on the demographics, I had been very critical of the Mainstreet polls we had seen and I have a bit more confidence with what the Asking Canadians poll does."

The levels of undecided voters — 28 per cent in the recent Asking Canadians poll compared to 13 per cent in the Mainstreet poll — are also important, said Bratt.

"Typically in a civic election the voter turnout is below 50 per cent so you would expect a much higher degree of undecideds," he said.

The Mainstreet poll — commissioned by Postmedia, the company that owns the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun — surveyed about 1,500 people over two days, while Asking Canadians took four days to complete its pool of just over 1,000.

LRT on the Green Foundation president Jeff Binks said the poll was commissioned after remarks by Smith last week about possibly pausing the $4.6-billion dollar LRT project to rethink it.

Binks says he's reassured the Green Line remains a priority for Calgarians.

"People revealed in the poll that the Green Line will influence their discussion for mayor and what we've seen is from the two leading candidates, we've seen two very different perspectives on not only the Green Line but to other public transit projects as well, such as the Southwest BRT," he said.

Advance voting finishes Wednesday and election day is Oct. 16.