If you’re hoping Mayor David Miller will lose the 2010 mayoral election, polling firm Environics has bad news for you. Torontonians are mostly satisfied with their municipal government.
According to a poll conducted for GTA municipalities and obtained by Spacing, 57 per cent of Toronto residents are “satisfied” with the work of their municipal government. The report, conducted by Environics, says that figure is consistent with a November 2008 poll, indicating that Toronto’s political landscape is stable as we head toward the next election.
For those on the right jockeying to be the mayoral candidate of Toronto conservatives there’s even worse news. Environics reports that crime — traditionally a weakness for left-of-centre politicians — is no longer far and away the most important issue for Torontonians. Back in November, 22 per cent of Torontonians said that crime (including guns, gangs, drugs, etc.) was their top issue. Six months later and that number has fallen to just 13 per cent, possibly reflecting the decreasing crime rate in the city over the past number of years.
While an easy assumption might be that residents’ concerns about crime simply shifted to the tanking world economy, that’s not the impression Environics’s numbers lend. The percentage of respondents who said that the economy was their top concern was only up three per cent, equal to the increase of those wanting municipal government to make the environment its top priority.
The final tally for issues leaves crime at the top (13), followed by transportation (11), economy and environment (10), and taxes (nine).
Of note on the issue of transportation, an overwhelming majority — 61 per cent versus 27 per cent — told Environics that they prefer transportation spending to go to public transit instead of roads (11 per cent of people did not respond to that question and it appears that active transportation spending was not provided as an option). Given recent rhetoric, those numbers have to be an encouraging sign to a city council moving forward on sustainable transportation issues.
But the bottom line is this: After implementing a set of controversial tax measures earlier in this term of council and while weathering a global recession, the number of Torontonians satisfied with their municipal government is identical to Mayor David Miller’s 2006 election totals.
If our mayor ever admitted to reading polls, he would probably be reasonably satisfied with that.
Photograph by 416style.