New poll puts Chow, Tory and Ford in a virtual tie

New poll puts Chow, Tory and Ford in a virtual tie

(Image: Chow: Olivia Chow/Facebook; Tory: Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Ford: Christopher Drost) (Image: Chow: Olivia Chow/Facebook; Tory: Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Ford: Christopher Drost)
 

With about three months to go until election day, a new poll by Forum Research suggests that the mayoral race no longer has a clear frontrunner. Because of some apparent erosion in voter support for Olivia Chow, she, John Tory and Rob Ford all pulled roughly equal numbers in the July 21 phone survey, which canvassed 1063 Toronto residents.

Chow still has the narrowest of leads, with 29 per cent of respondents saying they’d vote for her out of the five major mayoral candidates. Tory has 28 per cent, and Ford trails with 27. The poll’s margin of error is three per cent, though, so for practical purposes those three numbers are pretty much indistinguishable. Chow is the only candidate whose fortunes have changed significantly. By Forum’s reckoning, she had been the favourite, with support levels hovering between 33 and 38 per cent since mid-March. Likewise, a recent Nanos poll put her at around 33 per cent (although the same poll put Tory far in the lead, with 39 per cent, which contradicts Forum’s numbers).

Even if Chow’s lost support isn’t directly helping Ford (as it most likely never would), he still stands to benefit from any weakness of hers. A vote split among Chow and the other non-Ford candidates could allow the mayor to win reelection with far fewer votes than he received in 2010. Strategic voting—where voters throw support behind a second-choice candidate to prevent someone they hate from winning—could pick up as election day approaches, though. Because, let’s face it, few incumbents have ever been more worth strategizing against than the current one.