EXCLUSIVE POLL: Council approval rating just 21%



It’s not easy being a city councillor, according to the pollster who determined Penticton’s elected officials have a collective approval rating of just 21 per cent.

Results of the poll commissioned by The Herald show 71 per cent of voters disapprove of the job council is doing, while another eight per cent are unsure.

Support was highest among wealthy, male, middle-age voters, according to the survey conducted earlier this month by Oraclepoll Research.

Company founder Paul Seccaspina said councils typically poll poorly because they’re first in the line of fire when something goes wrong.

“It’s that level of government that really is closest to the voters, so (voters) tend to be more critical,” said Seccaspina.

“The street wasn’t plowed. Who do you blame? My water’s off. Who do you blame? There’s a pothole that blew my tire. Who do you blame? You tend to blame council.”

Penticton’s current council is at the midway point of its four-year term.

Excluding the mayor – whose approval rating will be revealed separately on Friday – the group is composed of two women and four men.

All of the men – Andre Martin, Max Picton, Tarik Sayeed and Campbell Watt – were elected for the first time in 2014.

The women, Judy Sentes and Helena Konanz, took office in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

Sentes wasn’t shocked by the group’s poor showing.

“Given there is a very organized group stating some dissatisfaction with the current council’s leadership, I am not surprised by the poll’s indication of a low percentage of approval,” she said in a statement.

“I had hoped for a better outcome as this council has achieved several positive outcomes which always seem to be overlooked in conversations of criticism.”

Sentes pledged to take the approval rating to heart as she goes about her political business.

“Councillors must gather as much information as possible on matters requiring our authority and so I will be cognizant of this poll’s information as I continue in the process of ongoing governance,” she said.

Council’s approval rating was highest at 29 per cent among those ages 35 to 50, followed by 26 per cent among those in the 18 to 34 range. It tapered off to 17 per cent among those ages 51 and over.

Men came up with an overall approval rate of 23 per cent, well up on females who checked in at a collective 19 per cent.

Wealthy people also tended to give a more favourable assessment of council.

Those whose families earn between $75,000 and $100,000 annually registered 29 per cent approval, followed by 25 per cent support from those making over $100,000.

The approval rating stood at 18 per cent among those earning under $50,000, and 17 per cent in the $50,000 to $75,000 range.

Toronto-based Oraclepoll Research, which has done work for federal political parties and government agencies, was commissioned and paid solely by The Herald.

The poll is based on responses received Oct. 5-7 from 300 randomly selected city residents who were contacted on land lines and cell phones. The results are considered accurate to within 5.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.