The Taproot Survey has received more than 16,000 responses since it launched on Sept. 24, as voters sought to gain insight into how they align with candidates on issues like climate change, policing, housing, and transit.
You can play with the data yourself to see where other respondents stand as a whole. You can also compare the people to the candidates on each question.
- The data included in this article incorporates responses to the survey up until Oct. 14.
- Respondents could skip questions. The question with the most responses was Should effects on the climate be taken into account in every decision city council makes? and the question with the fewest responses was What is your position on the bus network redesign?.
- Respondents could theoretically fill out the survey multiple times, though that seems unlikely on a large scale given the structure of it. Taproot excluded surveys with fewer than two answers; the vast majority of respondents answered most of the questions.
On the question about how the city should approach the provision of affordable housing, 50% of respondents said the city cannot afford to build more affordable housing without financial support from other orders of government, while 46% said the city should build it anyway, even without other funding, and 4% said the city shouldn't build more.
There was quite a split on the new bus network, which launched in April. About 35% of those who answered said the redesign sacrificed too much coverage to provide more frequency, 30% said it struck the right balance, and 27% said the city should have taken money from something else to increase frequency and maintain coverage. The rest (about 8%) said regardless of how it is configured, the city spends too much on transit.
On transit fares, about 42% said fares should be frozen where they are, 36% said fares should decrease, and 22% want to see fares go up as planned.
In some areas, Edmontonians were fairly aligned in their views but split on the right approach. About 40% said council should rely mostly on zoning decisions to bring 15-minute districts to life, and 46% think council should use every tool at its disposal, including financial penalties and incentives.
Similarly, while many perceive racism within the Edmonton Police Service, they were divided on whether "Systemic racism is apparent throughout the EPS" or "The EPS is not racist on the whole, but there are some racist members."
Consensus among voters
Topics that saw the most agreement were public washrooms, donor disclosures, and scrutiny of police funding requests for capital projects.
Almost 90% of survey respondents indicated that they want candidates to disclose donors before the election. Candidates running for mayor must disclose their finances to Edmonton Elections before March 1, 2022, and front-runners pledged to do so before Oct. 18. Taproot is posting disclosures as they come in.
Meanwhile, just over 80% said council should closely scrutinize all police requests for capital project funding. Other responses were split fairly evenly between "Council should not approve any further funding requests from police" and "Council should trust the police to know what they need and generally approve their requests," with a slight preference for the former. The Edmonton Police Service requested capital funding of $122 million for six growth projects as part of its 2019-22 capital budget.
Public washrooms also saw overwhelming agreement, with more than 75% of respondents saying that the city needs more of those facilities. And when it comes to housing and homelessness, almost 70% said "Housing First is the right approach and we need more of it." The program involves moving people who experience homelessness into independent and permanent housing as quickly as possible, with no preconditions.
The data also indicated that many Edmontonians believe the current city council code of conduct is not doing an effective job, after one councillor was found in violation of the code three times, but council has never reached the requisite two-thirds majority to censure him.
And voters are divided on how to support the Downtown Vibrancy Strategy, with about 40% in favour of supporting it at the current level of investment from city council ($5 million), 30% saying that the city should fully fund the strategy (between $7 million and $28 million), and 19% stating that Edmonton has already spent enough on downtown.
If you haven't voted yet, there's still time to take the Taproot Survey to see which candidates in your ward align with you best. You can find more information on Taproot's Election Guide. And when the polls close at 8pm, watch the results come in on Taproot's dashboard.