Public sees controversy’s negative effect on trust in OPS

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Public sees controversy’s negative effect on trust in OPS

Both Watson and Bordeleau see approval plummet

In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 859 Ottawa voters, close to 4-in-10 support the Ottawa Police Association in the controversy currently embroiling the Ottawa Police Service (37%), while just one third support the Mayor and the Chief of Police (33%). One fifth support neither side (21%), and one tenth don’t have an opinion (9%). Support for the Police Association is common to the boomer segment (55 to 64 - 40%), males (40%) rather than females (34%) and those in mid income groups ($40K to $60K - 46%). Support for the mayor and police chief is characteristic of the oldest (40%), males (36%) rather than females (30%) and the wealthiest ($100K to $250K - 39%).

Wide majority sees negative effect on public trust in OPS

As many as 7-in-10 agree the controversy has had a negative effect on public trust in the police (70%), and just one fifth think it has not (20%). One tenth don’t have an opinion (9%).

Approval ratings for Watson and Bordeleau suffer

Mayor Jim Watson has the approval of two thirds of Ottawa voters (66%), primarily younger females. Police Chief Charles Bordeleau has the approval of just more than half (54%). While these are respectable approval ratings in isolation, they represent a sharp decline for both since last month (July 22, Watson - 74%, Bordeleau - 74%).

Approval high for Skof, El-Chantiry

Matt Skof, president of the Ottawa Police Association, has the approval of close to 6-in-10 voters (59%), slightly higher than for Chief Bordeleau. Eli El-Chantiry, Chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, has the approval of just more than half (53%), matching Chief Bordeleau’s rating.

Awareness of controversy is high

Seven-in-ten are aware of the controversy in general (71%), awareness that a recruit who did not initially pass investigation was hired is characteristic of about 6-in-10 (58%), and awareness that the recruit was of Somali background is at the same level (57%).

Majority disagree with Bordeleau’s commitment to stand by recruit

Just one third agrees with Chief Bordeleau’s stated intention of standing by the recruit in question (33%), whereas the majority disagree with the chief (55%). One tenth don’t share an opinion (11%).

Substantial minority think Bordeleau should resign; not so Skof and El-Chantiry

Close to 4-in-10 Ottawa voters, when asked, agree Chief Bordeleau should resign  (39%), while just more than 4-in-10 disagree with this idea (44%). Close to one fifth don’t have an opinion (17%). Those who see the Chief as unfit for his job include the boomers (55 to 64 - 44%), males (43%) rather than females (35%) and the least wealthy (less than $20K - 54%),

Just more than a quarter agree Matt Skof should resign (28%), compared to close to half who don’t agree (47%). Those who think he should go are characteristically the youngest (32%), males (33%) rather than females (23%) and the least wealthy (42%).

One third of Ottawa voters agree Eli El-Chantiry should resign (35%), while 4-in-10 do not agree (41%), and close to a quarter have no opinion (23%). It is primarily males (43%) in the lowest income bracket (46%) who think he should go.

“This controversy has had a significant impact on the way Ottawans view those who serve and protect them. While the mayor and the police chief maintain approval levels in the majority, they are down sharply since just last month, and it is apparent that citizens are not entirely on their side. In fact it is Matt Skof who comes out looking the best, by comparison" said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.