Ford widens lead in Toronto mayoral race: poll
Last Updated: Thursday, August 12, 2010 | 5:19 PM ET
Toronto Coun. Rob Ford has widened his lead in the mayoral race, according to a new public opion poll. Toronto Coun. Rob Ford has widened his lead in the mayoral race, according to a new public opion poll. (CBC)
A new public opinion poll suggests that maverick councillor Rob Ford's campaign for mayor of Toronto has struck a deep chord with voters.
Among decided voters Ford's lead in the race is widening, according to the results of a survey done by Pollstra Research of Hamilton, Ont.
The city councillor's message in the campaign has been one of fiscal restraint — saying if he is elected he will cut the wasteful spending at city hall.
"Toronto has a spending problem, not a revenue problem," he says on his website.
The poll results released Wednesday show nearly 38 per cent of those who have made up their minds say they will vote for Ford on Oct. 25.
George Smitherman — Ford's nearest rival — has the overall support of about 29 per cent.
For Ford it means a jump of more than seven per cent in voter support since June, while support for Smitherman, Coun. Joe Pantalone and Sarah Thomson has remained flat.
"I find the results are a little surprising," said Josh Justice, president of the polling company, in a telephone interview with CBC News. "There has been a noticeable shift in momentum."
The poll shows the lion's share of Ford's support comes from the outside the old City of Toronto , with his strongest showing in the former municipalities of York, Scarborough, North York and especially on his home turf of Etobicoke.
Smitherman leads the polls in the City of Toronto and East York.
The Pollstra poll also asked the 432 respondents for their voting preference in federal politics —
and the results show Ford's appeal stretches across party lines.
Not surprisingly Ford has an enormous lead among Conservative supporters, with 65.7 per cent of those voters saying they intend to vote for him. The next closest candidate is Sarah Thomson with 11.6 per cent.
Surprisingly Ford also leads with Liberal supporters, although the margin of error puts him in a virtual tie with Smitherman, the former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister.
Among Liberals, 36.8 per cent of those surveyed say they would vote for Ford. Smitherman has the backing of 34.2 per cent.
When it comes to NDP supporters, deputy mayor Pantalone comes out on top with 36 per cent and Smitherman places second with 32 per cent. But 20 per cent of NDP supporters say they will vote for Ford.
The undecided vote also appears to be shrinking. While still at 32 per cent, Justice says it is not unusual to have that percentage at this stage in the election.
"It's kind of where we would put it," he said, pointing out that the number of undecided has dropped since June.
"Two-thirds have decided who they will support," Justice said.
The polling firm said the survey was commissioned by a non-partisan research group and carried out between July 30 and Aug. 5. The margin of error is 3.8 per cent 19 times out of 20.
Rob Ford 37.6%
George Smitherman 28.7%
Joe Pantalone 15.5%
Sarah Thomson 10.3%
Rocco Rossi 7.9%