Vancouverites Grow Tired of Occupiers, Call for End to Protest

Most people in the City of Vancouver hold negative views on the Occupy Vancouver protest, and three-in-four are calling for either legal action or a deadline in order to vacate the lawn of the Art Gallery, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 402 adult City of Vancouver residents, only 29 per cent of respondents say they have a favourable opinion of the Occupy Vancouver protest, while 64 per cent hold an unfavourable opinion.

In addition, 39 per cent of respondents think it is time to set a deadline for the Occupy Vancouver protesters to vacate the lawn of the Art Gallery, while just over a third (36%) would prefer to seek legal action to remove the Occupy Vancouver protesters. Only 15 per cent of Vancouverites would allow the protest to continue indefinitely.

Two-thirds of respondents (66%) say that, if a member of the Occupy Vancouver protest were running for office in the municipal election, they would not consider voting for this person.

State of Affairs in Vancouver

Respondents were asked to rate the way the current municipal government has dealt with 12 issues. The city gets a positive review on six of them, showing the highest level of satisfaction for providing good sanitation services (77% say it has done a “very good job” or a “good job”), protecting the environment (62%), having designated bike lanes (62%), promoting tourism to Vancouver (57%), ensuring public safety (53%), and fostering artistic and cultural activities (53%).

About two in-five Vancouverites say the current municipal government has done a good job in allowing homeowners to keep hens in backyard coops (45%), enhancing their overall quality of life (44%) and dealing with homelessness and poverty (38%). The lowest ranked issues are handling the Occupy Vancouver protests (35%), dealing with the Olympic Village situation (29%), and implementing policies to help small businesses (27%).

A quadrant analysis—which takes into account the level of satisfaction with each issue and the level of stated importance from respondents—looks at the topics that could become key vote drivers in the Nov. 19 municipal election.

Overall, the municipal government gets high marks on three issues that are particularly important to voters: sanitation services, the environment and public safety. The city also gets a positive review on three topics that are evidently not as important at this point: tourism, bike lanes and cultural activities.

Conversely, there are three important areas where the municipal government is facing criticism: enhancing quality of life, homelessness and helping small businesses. Two other topics are nearing this quadrant as the election looms: Occupy Vancouver and the Olympic Village situation.

Mayoral Candidate Traits

Respondents to this survey were asked to select up to six words that may describe the two main mayoral candidates in Vancouver. The results of this question are:

Gregor Robertson – Intelligent (43%), arrogant (32%), out of touch (30%), down to earth (30%), compassionate (28%), inefficient (27%)
Suzanne Anton – Arrogant (32%), out of touch (30%), intelligent (27%), boring (23%), strong (20%), uncaring (18%)

Both candidates have intelligence as one of their key characteristics, but Robertson manages a good score on two other positive traits—down to earth and compassionate—while Anton does so in only one: strong.

When asked about their preferred outcome in the municipal election, one-in-five Vancouverites (26%) are uncertain. Almost half of respondents would like to see Robertson as mayor with either a Vision Vancouver majority (29%) or no majority (18%) in council. Conversely, 27 per cent of respondents would prefer to have Anton as mayor with no majority (9%) or with a Non-Partisan Association (NPA) majority in council (18%).


The group that claims to represent the “99 per cent” is now currently seen in a favourable light by just 29 per cent of Vancouverites. Most respondents in the city are calling for an end to the occupation, either through legal action or after establishing a deadline. However, while Occupy Vancouver has gained prominence as an issue in the context of the municipal election, it still trails other topics that are more important to would-be voters, such as sanitation, public safety, quality of life and the environment.

The two mayoral candidates are connecting well with their base of support, with Robertson getting high marks on character traits from women and respondents aged 18-to-34, and Anton getting her best numbers from respondents over the age of 55. Still, one-in-four Vancouverites do not have a preferred outcome in the election, suggesting that—as was the case three years ago—turnout will play a key role in the final result.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From November 9 to November 10, 2011, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 402 randomly selected adults in the City of Vancouver who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 4.9%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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