St. John’s Municipal Poll: Most Residents Satisfied with City and Services

vocmabacusA survey of eligible voters in the City of St. John’s by VOCM and polling firm Abacus Data found that, on the whole, residents were generally happy with the quality of life and municipal services within St. John’s.

Quality of life and citizen satisfaction runs high in St. John’s

Respondents were asked how they would describe the quality of life in their community.  Overall, 82% felt that the quality of life was either good or very good, with only three percent stating poor or very poor, and no responses of unsure.

Across demographics, residents over 60 years old were most likely to have a very good quality of life (52%), while those 40 to 59 were least likely, at 33%

Generally speaking, how would you describe the quality of life in your community?

Response

All Eligible Voters

All Likely Voters*

Very good

41%

45%

Good

41%

41%

OK

15%

12%

Poor

2%

2%

Very poor

1%

1%

Don’t know

0%

0%

N (Weighted)

436

365

*Abacus Data classifies individuals as likely voters based on their response to six questions in the survey including their interest in politics, likelihood to vote, past voting behaviour, and how closely they have been following the election.

 

Generally speaking, do you think things in St John’s are headed in the right direction or wrong direction?

Response

All Eligible Voters

All Likely Voters*

Right direction

70%

71%

Wrong direction

20%

19%

Don’t know

10%

11%

N (Weighted)

436

365

*Abacus Data classifies individuals as likely voters based on their response to six questions in the survey including their interest in politics, likelihood to vote, past voting behaviour, and how closely they have been following the election.

 

When asked whether they felt the city is on the right track or heading in the wrong direction, most residents (70%) felt that St. John’s is on the right track.

Residents generally satisfied with key municipal services

Respondents were also asked about a range of municipal services; including snow removal, garbage collection, sports and recreation services, street maintenance and growth management.  Across all categories, a majority of residents were either very or somewhat satisfied with the services they were getting from the city.

How satisfied or unsatisfied with the job that St. John’s City Council has done in each of the following areas over the last four years:

Snow Removal

Garbage and Recycling Collection

Sports and Recreation Services

Street Maintenance

Managing the city’s Growth

Very satisfied

21%

60%

24%

17%

24%

Somewhat satisfied

52%

31%

47%

57%

49%

Somewhat unsatisfied

16%

4%

9%

17%

15%

Very unsatisfied

11%

3%

1%

8%

9%

Unsure

1%

3%

19%

1%

3%

N (Weighted)

436

435

435

435

435

The largest demographic differences across the municipal services were observed in areas of snow removal and street maintenance, and were driven primarily by age and region of the city.  Those over 60 years old were twice as likely as other age groups to be satisfied with snow removal, as were residents of Wards 1, 4 and 5 over Wards 2 and 3.  In terms of street maintenance, the same pattern was observed as with snow removal: those over 60 were twice as likely as other age groups to be satisfied, as were residents of Wards 1, 4 and 5 over Wards 2 and 3.

“Although these findings uncover some interesting differences in levels of service and regional satisfaction, there is little here with the potential to serve as a wedge issue or stir debate in the mayoral race”, said Coletto

Mail-in ballots appear to be a hit with residents.

To get a sense of St. John’s system of mail-in ballots, respondents were asked whether or not they support or oppose such a system.  Overall, 80% of respondents support the system, with particularly strong support observed among respondents over 60 (42% strongly support, 41% mostly support).

Overall, do you support or oppose the mail-in ballot election process for municipal elections in St. John’s?

Response

All Eligible Voters

All Likely Voters*

Strongly support

36%

40%

Mostly support

44%

44%

Mostly oppose

5%

5%

Strongly oppose

8%

7%

Unsure

7%

5%

N (Weighted)

436

365

*Abacus Data classifies individuals as likely voters based on their response to six questions in the survey including their interest in politics, likelihood to vote, past voting behaviour, and how closely they have been following the election.

Opposed and unsure responses were largely driven by unlikely voters, 11% of whom strongly opposed the mail in ballots, and 21% of whom were unsure.

Most Plan to Vote but Only Half Following Municipal Election Closely

Although 86% of eligible voters in St. John’s said they planned to vote in the municipal election, only 48% said they have been following news about candidates for St. John’s city council very or fairly closely.  Another 52% of respondents said they were following the election not too closely (34%) or not at all (18%).

Not only are most residents not following the election closely but only 38% said they have given a lot or some thought to the election with a majority (55%) saying they have given little attention to it.

“With about three weeks to go in the municipal campaign, most eligible voters in St. John’s still haven’t given much thought to the election campaign,” said Coletto.  “As voters start to pay more attention to the issues and the candidates, the dynamics of the individual elections could change.”

Methodology

The random live-interview telephone survey commissioned by VOCM was conducted with 435 eligible voters living in the City of St. John’s

The survey was completed from August 28 to 31, 2013.

The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 435 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 4.8%, 19 times out of 20.

The data was statistically weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched the St. John’s population.  

For more information about the poll’s methodology or the results, please contact David Coletto, CEO at david@abacusdata.ca or at 613-232-2806.

David Coletto is CEO of Abacus Data and leads its Public Affairs research practice. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.  He’s an avid road cyclist.

Contact David Coletto:

T: 613-232-2806 x. 248

E: david@abacusdata.ca

W: http://www.abacusdata.ca

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