Poll shows support for Robertson continues to decline

Post by Mike Klassen in


Mayor Gregor says people aren't seeing homeless success his way – AP Photo

Mario Canseco, VP communications with Angus Reid polling, sounds positively giddy about the latest polling results the company released. Speaking with the Vancouver Sun's Jeff Lee last week, he commented upon Mayor Gregor Robertson's higher standing among women than men voters. "There is something alluring about a guy who shows up at work riding a bicycle," he says.

Canseco, a contributor to The Tyee, Common Ground and Vancouver Sun's "Community of Interest" blog seems to think that Gregor Robertson is holding his own during a time when many politicians are hitting rock bottom. Of course, what the numbers mean depends entirely upon your perspective. Cansenco gives his own analysis in a few highly supportive quotes including the one about Robertson riding his bike to work:

"This is great news for an incumbent"

"What's fascinating is that Robertson has such a high approval rating."

"It is rare for someone in Canada to be over 40 per cent, so having someone at 43 per cent is something of a phenomenon."

Robertson gets what Canseco says are "impressive marks" for his actions on the environment...

Canseco said overall the poll is good news for Robertson, who clearly has engaged the public with his policies and platforms.

It's not clear if Jeff Lee had to hand Canseco a towel after the interview, but there is no doubting that the Angus Reid VP thinks that Gregor Robertson is the shizzit. So we must ask, what do the numbers really say?

Well, if I were Gregor Robertson I'd not be betting the organic farm on my re-election chances. Only 31% of those polled thought that Mayor Gregor should be given another term of office. And the numbers get much worse for Hizzoner:

  • Despite no opponent, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's approval rating drops again. Last spring the Mayor's office released numbers showing Robertson with a 78% approval rating. In September that approval rating dropped to 49%. The recent Angus Reid poll shows Robertson six points lower at 43%.
  • A majority of those polled – 47% – disapprove of Robertson's performance. That's what is referred to as having "high negatives" in the polling business. For example, Carole James also had high negatives entering the 2009 election where she lost to Gordon Campbell.
  • While only 31% think he should be re-elected, a whopping 40% say he doesn't deserve a second term, and 29% 'don't know'.
  • Support for Robertson's performance is highest among those living in households that earn less than $50,000 per year, and lowest among those who make more than $100,000 per year. As anyone who understands campaigning, lower incomes = lower voter turnout.
  • Amazingly, on the Hornby bike lane a majority (53 per cent) opposing the creation of the lane and 42 per cent support it. Vision have taken an issue that would be a slam dunk positive and turned it into a negative.
  • Robertson has 55% of men disapproving of him, and 47% of women approving. This will make for some awkward conversations at dinner next year.

But the statistic that must absolutely have sent shockwaves through Robertson's office is the public perception of Vision's performance on homelessness.

  • Most people — 57 per cent — believed the homelessness problem had not improved. More alarmingly, 17 per cent believe it has worsened, with just one in 10 believing it had improved.

Mayor Gregor went on the defensive in an interview with Jeff Lee. Robertson in essence says that the public just don't get it.

"People, who for whatever reasons aren't noticing the change, don't remember how many people were sleeping on the streets two years ago," the Mayor said. "It is a big drop in the street population, but peoples' memories of the conditions of our streets doesn't seem to be there. It is a worry if people don't feel motivated and encouraged that we're turning the corner. But it demonstrates the opportunity we have because people are still disillusioned and concerned about the fact there's hundreds still on the streets."

So, in other words, "Come on, folks, can't I get a little love here? Can't you see that your Mayor is dealing with those unsightly street people?"

Robertson's failed efforts at reducing homelessness (the April 2010 count showed the homeless population had increased 12% since 2008), while at the same time spinning it that "street" homelessness has gone down will someday get one of those George Orwell awards for doublespeak. For now though it remains a sad problem and the Mayor can't seem to figure out how to deliver on his promise.

The biggest, and perhaps only ace up Vision Vancouver's sleeve is the continued hybernation by the NPA. Their early nominations strategy resulted in three acclamations and one completely unnecessary contest between two Park Board nominees that will draw very few rank and file supporters out to vote on November 19th.

Robertson can afford to fall even further in the polls if he has no credible opponent. But even Vision's backroom hacks know that having your party leader's popularity drop virtually in half within seven months is not a good result. Staff from Angus Reid might be jumping up and down at these results, but somehow I doubt Robertson is.

What do you think? Is Gregor Robertson going to run in 2011 and will he win?

- post by Mike


The problem is always getting a decent civic election turnout.

Most people are too busy shopping, resting up on the weekend, attending functions with their kids or rotating their tires.

I'm not a pollster, but those numbers aren't something that would make me sleep at night if I was Robertson. He doesn't even have a mayoral opponent nominated and he's tanking in approval ratings.

To compare him to Carol James, Gordon Campbell or the Prime Minister is apples and oranges. The public actually has an option to vote for someone else there. I can only imagine what will happen to Gregor's numbers even in the NPA nominate Chumpy the Chimp as their candidate. This election could be a lot more interesting than first thought. Get out the popcorn.

The other ace Happy Planet has up his sleeve on homelessness is the opening of all those new supportive housing units the last NPA Council created with the province. Those should start coming on line in time for the election.

Who exactly writes the headlines for the Sun's front page? How could this slip in the polls be construed as "rare" public support. Is Quinlan working at the city desk part time? I see Frances has also noticed the drop in Robertson's popularity http://tinyurl.com/295u8al

Everyone should take note of the comments UNDER the Vancouver Sun article...it's hard to find a positive comment in there. I think that might tell you something about how people really feel.

I also hope that everyone who feels that Gregor is the wrong person to lead this city actually put in some effort to mobilize come the next election. It's fine for all of us to sit and b*tch about how bad he is, but if we're actually going to do something about it we need to be on the front lines come election time.

What we are thankfully witnessing is the last twelve months of a terrible administration. I am certainly not one of those women who approve of his performance. Quite the contrary. His poll ratings are heading in the wrong direction. Yipppeeee!

The Thought of The 'Yesterday'
(posted on Fabula the other day, I hope it explains what's going on...)

“Alphonse. That’s his name. He is a Mountain Gorilla from Virunga. He is a vegetarian, he likes the great outdoors, his favourite sport is bungee jumping, he loves the foliage, and he plays a mean banjo. He sports a Donald Trump hair style, he detests wearing a suit and he has the stare of a poker player. I think he can take Gregor one on one, no problem.”

Name recognition… ‘Bet on that!’ some say.
But what the hell is that? Do you have to recognize a name? What does it mean? Is it good, is it bad? Does it help? Is it true? Or is it just SPIN? Is it a matter of the Newspeak replacing the Oldspeak? The Doublespeak?

From the point of view of the screwed voter, the ‘name recognition’ it seems to be a good thing. Who would vote for Campbell during the next election? Or for Robertson? The new Mayor doesn’t know who to fire first at City Hall? He remembers… ‘Pennnny!’ Or let’s check the list with the kisser-uppers from the media, you know who, those ones who wouldn’t let go of the Trough Mobile even if it was burning hot? Well, let’s not spoil the surprise, now, but you see, name recognition could be a good thing.

Of course, now and then, some guys would be voted in based on the sound of their name alone. Some Lulu lemon, Yoga moms would vote for a ‘Ghandi’ in a lotus posture minute; others would vote for ‘Sabrina the teenage witch’ for ‘Angelina Jolie’ or even ‘Lady Gaga’. Hey, there would be takers for Adolfo and Benito brothers.

So, how are you going to introduce yourself or your nominee? It’s becoming increasingly hard to educate the voter the way you want him to be educated. So then, do what everyone else is doing. SPIN!

SPIN. It’s not a lie. Neither is it the truth. It’s something in between.

What he did was wrong. He is a creepy, red shoes wearing buffoon. But who doesn’t like the circus? Clowns are just like me and you, people; only sadder, you know?
He swore behind closed doors and made fun of other people. So, who doesn’t? And he laughed about it after that. A sense of humour it’s like an apple a day, and he bikes. To his pretend work.
Incompetent, brutal, heartless, deceiving? Think about it, if we would be living in Hell, and we’d just might, these would be well sought after qualities, eh? It works.
‘They thought the beef jerky would sink.’ Is it a writer? Is it a banker? No, it’s Supergarr!

I’m telling you; in this game at this stage you don’t want name recognition. What you want is a team of professional spinners that work for you. Let the best spinner win!

I also have an announcement to make: I have accepted the nomination for the Mayor’s job on behalf of the newly formed ‘Parody Not Party’ –PNP. It will be a great opportunity to be able to make fun of myself.

I’ll take Vancouver on a newer path of constructive destruction. That way!
PNP’s platform is rather simple; It’s basically a Vision, to Cope with the NPA in a direction, and for some time.
Our campaign slogan will be ‘You bet we can or else we can’t!’ Our colour is going to be in many shades. We stand for nothing, but not for too long. Our campaign contributions will come from people like you, after we get elected. We never lie, we just delay the truth.
Oh, it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to redecorate my office and book myself a trip to Hong Kong.
This is My promise to you.? Now, let’s…


We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

If I were Sadhu or Penny, I would be getting my bags ready. An NPA victory would mean the upper echelons of city hall will face a major enema. I can name a few others who would likely get their pink slips. It will all get really ugly real fast. Taxpayers will be on the hook for a few bucks in severance.

Pretty snide remark gregory.
Most people I know are too busy working to pay the bills,help their kids with their homework and trying to figure out if there are any politicians worth voting for.

snide? LOL, I call it bang on accurate.

Thank you Jason. See you & others there.

I believe that he will run in 2011. Will he win? Depends on who is running for the NPA. They have not identified a credible candidate yet. I suspect there is a lot more grass roots support for Vision than for the other parties and I think they will be able to organize it. Their policies around sustainability and biking are what the city needs but do not go near far enough. Vancouver does not include the suburbs so disgruntled motorists driving a Ford-style campaign are not likely to work well here. The homeless issue is a deep one and it is going to take a long time, real investment and good will to solve. I expect we will be talking about it for the rest of my life.

Thanks for this story. I had only heard the lamestream media's take on it and they certainly managed to SPIN this. No mention of his previous approval ratings. *sigh*

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