Ford-pocalypse: poll shows Rob Ford destroying the competition—even downtown

Ford-pocalypse: poll shows Rob Ford destroying the competition—even downtown

The results of the Nanos Research telephone survey of 1,021 Torontonians, conducted Tuesday to Thursday (poll is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20) 

After weeks of the election being dominated by campaign stunts and debates that the press barely pretend to pay attention to anymore, Toronto woke up on Monday (or sat down to dinner Sunday, for the obsessives like us) to the news that if Toronto’s election were held today, Rob Ford would win by a landslide. The Etobicoke councillor is leading George Smitherman 46 to 21 , with the other candidates trailing even farther behind. We already knew that Ford was running up a huge score, but what’s really surprising here is how well Ford is doing south of Eglinton.

According to the Globe and Mail:

But the poll turns that narrative on its head: It finds Mr. Ford is actually leading the former provincial deputy premier in the old City of Toronto with the support of 37.2 per cent of decided voters compared to 30.3 per cent for Mr. Smitherman and 19.5 per cent for [Joe] Pantalone, the deputy mayor and torchbearer for David Miller.

In fact, Mr. Ford is the first choice of voters in every part of the megacity.

For all the talk from other candidates about how divisive Ford has been, it looks like Toronto is actually uniting—behind Ford. To put it another way, it looks like voters in the suburbs are just like voters downtown, except more so: the anger that Ford has tapped into (his critics would say he’s helped generate it) is actually a big deal, whether you drive or take the streetcars Ford so loathes.  That’s bad news for other candidates, but the nightmare scenario of a massive urban-suburban split just doesn’t seem to be happening.

Smitherman, Pantalone and Rocco Rossi are no doubt hoping this poll is a sign of Ford peaking early. Much of this election has been spent “waiting until Labour Day” when, we were told, voters would take a good look at Ford and recoil. Instead, as Marcus Gee notes, the reverse has happened. The more people see of Ford, the more they like him.

Predictably, the Smitherman campaign is calling for strategic voting, hoping Toronto will rally around the one candidate they say can beat Ford. The problem is that Smitherman has such a high mountain to climb: Ford only needs another five per cent of the vote before he’d be unbeatable, and he’d probably get that big a bump from people who might have voted for Sarah Thomson or Rossi.

There are still five weeks left in this election, but it’s difficult to imagine what could hurt Ford at this point. We’ve already seen his one-note debate performances, his low-budget commercials and his mug shot. If none of these have taken the candidate down, what could?

• Toronto mayoral race is Rob Ford’s to lose, poll of decided voters says  [Globe and Mail]
• The more they see of Ford, the more they like him [Globe and Mail]
• Rob Ford opens huge lead in mayor’s race [Toronto Star]
• Ford surges ahead at 45.8% support, new poll shows [National Post]
• Ford takes big lead — Polls [Toronto Sun]
• Can you say Fordamania? [Toronto Sun]
• Support for Ford is spreading across Toronto: poll [CTV News]