79% of Ottawa residents approve of Mayor Jim Watson: Poll

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is the most popular mayor in Canada, according to new public opinion research that provides a rare glimpse outside elections into how residents feel about their civic leaders.

The Mainstreet Research poll, commissioned by Postmedia, surveyed residents in 10 of Canada’s largest cities on their level of satisfaction with their mayor, councillors and city council. Mr. Watson ranked highest in the country with a 79 per cent satisfaction rating, edging out Saskatoon’s Charlie Clark and Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi.

Ottawa residents also ranked city council and individual councillors as the most satisfactory in Canada, with 65 and 64 per cent satisfaction, respectively.

Mr. Watson beat incumbent Larry O’Brien to become mayor in 2010 and was easily re-elected in 2014.

During his time in office, Mr. Watson has maintained a high profile in the community, overseen construction and planning of the city’s light-rail line and kept property tax increases below the maximum 2.5 per cent increase promised in his 2010 campaign. This year’s increase was two per cent, although rates for water and sewer services are increasing at a higher rate.

Monday’s poll is likely to spark fresh speculation about Mr. Watson’s political future.

He has so far declined to say whether he will seek an additional mayoral term when municipal elections are next held across the province in October 2018.

The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.