I had a great opportunity this past August to attend an AMO conference in Ottawa. This year's event hosted close to 1800 politicians from across Ontario. The purpose is to learn about new government policy and initiatives affecting municipalities, making connections to share experiences and to get face-to-face meetings with Provincial Ministers.
Politicians heard from all of the Provincial party leaders — it is amusing how their speeches, tailored to the audience, all talked about the importance of strong municipal partnerships. The platitudes are really nice, but they only last a moment. It would be nice if their words followed by action and actually worked with municipalities as "partners".
One of the more interesting speakers was Nik Nanos — he's about as famous as you get for data research in Canada. He delivered an interesting address about recent polling data on the perspectives from citizens about the 2018 municipal election. If you're into this type nerdy polling data - like I am - watch the video. I will also include a link to the slide presentation at the bottom of this post if you want to follow along.
Nanos spoke of the use of symbolism and how that played a role in Doug Ford's "Buck-A-Beer" platform. Polling data supported the "buck-a-beer" initiative even though the reality is unlikely to have any real positive change in our lives. On the fake news front, 47% of people still believe a lie even after they are told the correct information - that explains a lot of what is happening south of us.
Nanos discussion about how Ontario residents find out about the news was of specific interest to me as a newspaper owner. Not surprising to me, local newspapers was the number one source for news. While governments of all levels are so enamored with jumping on the social media bandwagon, only 8% get their news that way. That's only slightly higher than word-of-mouth at 5%.
Anyone running for office this municipal election will definitely find some interesting stats and discussion points that may help in crafting a message to voters. I've always been a fan of Nanos, and this video will give you the data behind the Provincial election and what voters are thinking about at the municipal level.