By Andrew Macdonald

New Brunswick News For New Brunswickers – Polling The Mayors

While Halifax mayor Mike Savage and his regional council enjoy high popularity among voters in the 70 per cent range, that is in sharp contrast to the support for Fredericton mayor Mike O’Brien.

That’s the finding of Atlantic Canada pollster Don Mills.

“Consumer confidence in Fredericton has slightly declined this quarter, and is notably below levels observed one year ago,” he found. His poll of 400 Fredericton residents was conducted before the recent shooting deaths of four people, including two police officers.

“The level of satisfaction with the performance of council continues its declining trend under Mayor Mike O’Brien’s leadership, reaching a record low in this regard,” Mills tells The Macdonald Notebook.

“Although a majority of residents remain satisfied with the performance of Fredericton council, satisfaction continues its downward trend under the leadership of Mayor Mike O’Brien, dropping nearly 20 percentage points since November 2017,” said the pollster.

“Specifically, just under six in 10 (57 per cent, compared with 64 per cent in May 2018, and down from 75 per cent in November 2017) Fredericton residents are satisfied with the performance of council,” he added.

“Of note, this level of satisfaction is the lowest observed since tracking began in August 2013.”

Mills tells The Macdonald Notebook there are a variety of reasons for the plummeting numbers.

“There is some stuff happening in that city, which has been a a bit challenging. A lot of it has to do with key issues around the pool issue,” notes Mills. “UNB was going to close their pool, and they were trying to get a deal between the university and the city, and they couldn’t get one.

“And, there was a fair amount of people upset by that, frankly, and the council got poor reviews on how it managed the issue. That was one issue.

“The other issue has to do with a park in Fredericton, and they talked about taking trees down and that got a lot of negative press for the council,” adds Mills.

“There have been a few things like that that have kind of hurt the council. It’s the rating of the council’s performance, it is not just the mayor. (The poll) is rating everyone on council,” says Mills, who is based in Halifax.

Over in Saint John, Mills found consumer confidence in that city “has slightly declined.”

“Satisfaction with the performance of council under Mayor Don Darling’s leadership remains stable this quarter,” he tells me.

“After steadily improving since the beginning of 2018, consumer confidence among Saint John residents has slightly declined this quarter,” he adds.

“Specifically, Saint John consumer confidence rests at 99.1, compared with 102.8 three months ago. Of note, consumer confidence in Saint John rests below that of Halifax, Moncton, and Fredericton.

“Meanwhile, satisfaction with the performance of Saint John council is stable, as two-thirds (66 per cent, compared with 65 per cent three months ago) of Saint John residents continue to be satisfied with the performance of council under Mayor Don Darling’s leadership,” he found.

In Moncton, the Mills poll found consumer confidence has risen to its highest level since August 2011.

“There continues to be majority satisfaction with the performance of Moncton council under Mayor Arnold’s leadership,” Mills tells The Macdonald Notebook.

“Specifically, Moncton consumer confidence rests at 108.4, compared with 106.4 in May 2018. Across the region, Moncton residents boast the strongest consumer confidence among the four urban markets included in this study,” he says.

“Satisfaction with Moncton council is now at its highest level since May 2017. Specifically, just over six in 10 (63 per cent, compared with 56 per cent three months ago) Moncton residents are satisfied with the performance of council under the leadership of Mayor Dawn Arnold.”

These results are part of the CRA Urban Report, an independent telephone survey of adult residents and consists of 400 Halifax, 400 Saint John, 300 Moncton CMA, and 400 Fredericton residents.

The polls were conducted from July 19 to Aug. 8, with overall results for each accurate to within ±4.9 percentage points for Halifax, Saint John, and Fredericton, and ±5.7 percentage points for Moncton, 95 out of 100 times.