Rising city taxes may be the driving force behind Bill Smith’s surprising poll results, a new survey suggests with just days to go before Calgarians cast their ballots for mayor in Monday’s civic election.

The Mainstreet Research/Postmedia poll for the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun shows Smith with the support of 47 per cent of poll participants, 11 points ahead of incumbent Naheed Nenshi.

When respondents who said they would vote for Smith were asked why, the No. 1 reason was his promise to hold the line on taxes, cited by more than one-in-four people.

“(Taxes) are what’s driving voters to him,” said pollster Quito Maggi. “That can’t be overstated, how big of a role taxes and spending at city hall are playing in this election.”

Since throwing his hat into the mayoral race in June, Smith hasn’t revealed detailed policies but has run on a platform of change and promised to rein in excessive tax increases and city spending.

It’s a message that appears to have struck a chord with an electorate hit hard by an ongoing economic recession, said Maggi.

“In good times, when people’s incomes are increasing beyond inflation, people don’t think about their taxes, their utility bills, things are great, things are wonderful,” Maggi said. “When times get tough … that leads to an appetite for change.”

An earlier Mainstreet poll and a poll commissioned by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce found taxes were the primary concerns for voters ahead of the Oct. 16 election.

“Campaigning on change and property taxes and city spending was enough,” said Maggi of Smith’s campaign.

“People may not believe that running on a small issues platform is enough, especially running against a campaign that is very policy-heavy, but it’s enough this time.”

In the latest Mainstreet poll, 27 per cent of Smith supporters listed taxes …read more

Source:: Calgary Herald

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