Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. (Now-Leader file photo)

New poll suggests McCallum has 50% approval rating with Surrey residents

Research Co. conducted online poll of 400 people

A new poll suggests Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has a 50 per cent approval rating.

That’s from survey results released by Research Co. Jan. 29 that says “B.C.’s three biggest cities get satisfactory grades on most issues.”

In total, 1,200 people in Surrey, Vancouver and Burnaby were surveyed online about their own municipality between Jan. 2 and 6.

The poll asked 400 residents in each city whether they “approved or disapproved of the performance” of their mayor, quality of life, homelessness and poverty, management of parks and recreation facilities, promoting tourism and fostering artistic and cultural activities, among other questions.

The poll suggests that 15 per cent of respondents “strongly approve” of McCallum, while 35 per cent “moderately approve,” 22 per cent “moderately disapprove,” 19 per cent “strongly disapprove” and nine per cent are “not sure.”

As for how people were chosen, Research Co. president Mario Canseco said that there is “a big pool of people” who join panels to be able to take part in surveys.

“The idea is to have proper representation when it comes to gender, age, specific regions of the city where they live,” Canseco said of the representation that has to match the census data in terms of age, gender and region. “It doesn’t make any sense to do a survey of 400 people in Surrey if 390 of them are women, and 10 of them are in Whalley. They idea is to have something balanced, according to what the census stats are.

“What you do essentially is try and make sure that you have the right number of people in every region, so let’s say for the sake of argument, I think it’s about 51 per cent female, 49 per cent male and then you do the same thing with the rest of the population when it comes to age and region.”

Asked if he thinks the results are an accurate representation of McCallum’s approval rating, Canseco said, “Yeah, I would say so.”

“It’s definitely representative of the people of Surrey. What we find sometimes — and this happens whether I ask about John Horgan or Justin Trudeau or Donald Trump — there’s always going to be a group that has very positive views about a specific mayor or a specific government and there’s a group that is going to have very negative views. I can understand how there’s somebody who says, ‘Well, how can half of the population be happy with a mayor that I despise.”

Canseco said there “hasn’t been any wide-ranging controversy that is going to make people upset.

“In spite of all the discussions” related to RCMP or the changes to SkyTrain, Canseco said the survey was conducted before the situation with ride-hailing between McCallum and Uber, which has now filed an injunction application to prevent Surrey from issuing fines to its drivers.

READ ALSO: Premier says McCallum is ‘destabilizing’ ride-hailing industry, Jan. 29, 2020

READ ALSO: Uber wants court to stop Surrey ‘from issuing illegal tickets’, Jan. 28, 2020

As for the results of the rest of the survey, when it came to dealing with crime, 10 per cent of Surrey survey respondents said that the city is doing a “very good job,” 42 per cent said it’s doing a “good job,” 25 per cent said it’s doing a “bad job,” 18 per cent said it’s doing a “very bad job” and six per cent said they were “not sure.”

For dealing with transportation, 23 per cent of Surrey respondents said the city is doing a “very good job,” 34 per cent said it’s doing a “good job,” 27 per cent said it’s doing a “bad job,” 11 per cent said it’s doing a “very bad job” and six per cent said they were “not sure.”

Canseco told the Now-Leader that the survey wasn’t commissioned and it was “done out of my own interest.” He said he’s had a list of issues for municipalities since 2018, when he asked the same questions leading up to the civic election.

He said that since then, some of the numbers of changed, with “a little bit of a jump” on specific issues that are being handled better in Surrey.

“I don’t know if this is going to be the start of a trend and if we’re going to start seeing numbers that are definitely higher than what they were a few years ago,” Canseco said. “This is why we track these things. Maybe six months, a year from now, it will be different.”

READ ALSO: Councillors say new policing poll shows ‘disconnect’ between mayor, Surrey residents, Sept. 26, 2019

READ ALSO: ‘Absolute sham’: Policing survey full of ‘open-ended questions,’ Surrey councillor says, Dec. 23, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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