A new poll commissioned and released by CBC reveals a significant drop in support for Calgary’s 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bid.
Published Wednesday, the results indicate that 35 percent of eligible voters in Calgary support the bid while 55 percent are opposed with 10 percent undecided.
Across the province, however, support is higher with 51 percent in favour of the bid with 36 percent against and 13 percent undecided.
It will be the city numbers that matter most as Calgarians head to the polls for a November 13 plebiscite that will likely determine whether the bid moves forward.
Voters were asked whether they wanted to continue exploring the bid, a small variation from the question on the plebiscite ballot.
Those who conducted the poll have advised to handle the results, gathered between October 24 and November 3, with caution. During that period the situation was volatile for the bid, and polling had to be paused from October 30-31 when it seemed likely plans would be canceled by City Council.
A new financing plan was released October 31, providing critical new information for voters.
“I am approaching this poll cautiously,” pollster Janet Brown told CBC.
“Every poll is a snapshot in time and this is probably an especially blurry snapshot given how much uncertainty was happening while this poll was being administered.”
The small sample size for Calgary, 243 people representing a margin of error of 6.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, makes results even more questionable.
Across the province, 900 people contributed to the sample size with a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The results still mark a steep decline in support compared to a poll conducted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in April that revealed 53 percent in Calgary were in support of the bid.
CBC further indicated that support increased in the latter part of the polling, after the city struck a funding deal with the other orders of government. A low of 26 percent was reported ahead of the revised plans published October 30 but increased to 39 percent is the three days following.
“Really, I think what this poll indicates is that this race isn’t over and that the final few days — the final few days are always important in an election campaign, or any kind of campaign, but these final days are going to be particularly important in this plebiscite,” Brown said..
If chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Calgary 2026 project will cost CAD $5.2 billion with CAD $2.875 billion coming from public sources.
Calgary is competing against Stockholm in Sweden and a joint Italian bid from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo. Bid books are due January 11 and the IOC will choose a winner in June.