POLL: Nenshi Trails Smith By 17% Points In Calgary Mayoral Race

Political gravity may be re-asserting itself as centre-left mayor loses support in centre-right city.

Naheed Nenshi came out of nowhere to become Mayor of Calgary, running an impressive first campaign utilizing social networks in a way that was quite innovative at the time. As Mayor, Nenshi retained a high-level of popularity for some time, in large part because he utilized twitter in a way that allowed him to connect with constituents constantly.

Those innovations helped Nenshi overcome political gravity.  As a centre-left Mayor in a centre-right city, Nenshi has been pushing against the general tide of public opinion. While his personal popularity had insulated him from electoral consequences for many years, it seems that’s beginning to change.

Nenshi’s main opponent Bill Smith has campaigned against Nenshi’s tax increases, and it seems that campaign is paying off. According to a new Mainstreet Research Poll, Smith now leads Nenshi by 17 points. Here are the numbers:

  • Smith – 48%
  • Nenshi – 31%
  • Chabot – 6%

While some doubt whether Smith’s lead is really that big, the gap shows that Nenshi is in big trouble. Mainstreet Research CEO says “The path to victory for Nenshi is very, very narrow.”

As noted in a Global News report:

“(political scientist) Bratt said there’s been a growing anti-Nenshi sentiment in the race that appears to have coalesced around Bill Smith. He said Smith has attracted dissatisfied voters by focusing on tax rates and by highlighting “feuds that Nenshi has had with the business community. He hasn’t really put much policy forward, but he hasn’t had to,” he said. “It’s more an anti-Nenshi vote than a pro-Bill Smith vote.”

Election day will prove whether the Mainstreet Poll is correct, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a centre-right city vote to replace a centre-left Mayor.

Spencer Fernando