New poll shows Torontonians’ hate of LRTs has been greatly exaggerated
Since election day, the debate over transit in Toronto has been reduced to a logical fallacy: people voted for Rob Ford. Ford likes subways. Therefore, people who voted for Ford like subways. Like most fallacies, it sounds right until some evidence comes along to overturn it. A poll might not be “evidence” in the strictest sense of the word, but a new Web panel from Leger Marketing suggests that Toronto’s hatred of Transit City was never quite what the mayor thought it was. The top line question—“subways versus LRTs”—shows the transit modes roughly equal, but when people are quizzed a bit more thoroughly, their answers are surprising. Details from the poll [PDF] after the jump.
Of those polled:
- Only 15 per cent think all LRT lines should be scrapped and subways should be built instead.
- 89 per cent agree with the statement “smart transit planning is done for the long term and should not be changed every time a new government is elected.”
- 65 per cent agree that Transit City was “an effective step forward.” 18 per cent disagreed.
- While broadly pro-LRT statements are supported 2:1 or even 3:1, building subways because they’re less disruptive, “even if it costs more and takes longer,” is only supported 55:41.
We spoke with Dave Scholtz, the VP of Leger Marketing, about his thoughts on this poll, which Leger conducted without being commissioned. “The reason we did this poll was because there was so much talk [during the election] of subways, streetcars and LRT. We wanted to see where Ford’s supporters are coming from, where his opponents are coming from.”
“One of the big surprises for me was the emphasis on long-term planning,” says Scholtz. “Two thirds of people say they want to save money, but the question for them is how we save money.”
Now, there are some obvious objections to the relevance of a poll like this—namely, who cares? By this point, the TTC and Metrolinx are busy dotting the Is and crossing the Ts on their revisions that are due, last we checked, in “late January.” Still, it does illuminate what we always suspected: that people who voted for Rob Ford wanted many things, and they can’t be summed up with a bumper sticker.
• Press release:Torontonians want light-rail alongside subways: Poll [CNW]
• The Future of Transit in Toronto (PDF) [Leger Marketing]
• Leger Marketing
12 thoughts on “New poll shows Torontonians’ hate of LRTs has been greatly exaggerated”
Ford doesn’t give a toss what the polls show or what people say at his public hearings. He believes that he was elected to do whatever he feels like because he has a ‘mandate’. (A word he only recently learned the meaning of.) I can hardly wait to see the mess he leaves when people kick him out in disgust in four years.
Stephanie: Not as much destruction that Miller did and had allowed to happen during his run as mayor! The situation is that Miller created a huge mess in the playground (and then exits), and that the next person (Ford) just has so much to fix and clean up. Sometimes at this point, trying to fix things has less room to maneuver and may even create some pain, but due in part to the previous person (Miller). Wake up!
What poll? You mean a poll done by a non commissioned company, who caters to the minority of LRT supporters, who would have been made aware of this LRT poll, while the rest of tax paying citizens of Toronto were not informed of it.
I don’t think this poll is the true view of all the ANTI-LRT voters at all. If you really want the true figures of the voters that hate LRT’S then do it properly and let all of the citizens of Toronto know that there is one and then you will see just how many voters hate the LRT.
THIS POLL IS BOGUS AND NOT A TRUE REPRESENTATION OF ALL THE VOTERS IN TORONTO.
The facts speak for themselves. The highest percentage of voters came out to vote for Rob Ford for Mayor for Toronto, bcos they HATE LRT’S…….PERIOD!
Never trust someone who uses caps and a plethora of periods to make a point, or suggests that a vote for a politician is an endorsement of their entire platform. Period.
“I can hardly wait to see the mess he leaves when people kick him out in disgust in four years.”
You mean in the same way David Miller left?
I don’t know if either Pantalone or Smitherman would have been too different than David Miller but my feeling is that 2 months into their term and in 4 years upon their exit (if they were elected)…that people would be saying the exact same thing as above. Basically…it boils down to: you can’t please everyone and there will always be people who say that. No elected official is immune…except Hazel in Mississauga.
Truth is…David Miller was not a popular man by the end of his term as evidence by the fact that he chose not to run for re-election. If he did run in this past election and was beaten by a small margin…I might believe otherwise but voters wanted change and that’s what we are getting.
And yes…there are so many ways to skew data and misrepresent…and polls like this mean nothing. This is akin to tabloid journalism in that the material does not come from a balanced, unbiased source and factual source. This has a clear slant to it.
I am curious as to how the data was obtained. As evidence by the voting patterns throughout the city, I am inclined to believe that you would find a larger percentage of pro-Transit City people living in the downtown core. What’s funny is that these are also the people least likely to be affected by Transit City because a lot of them probably live, work and shop downtown as it is. They are least likely to be affected by the road work that disrupts traffic and with local businesses and the lane reductions for motorists once it’s finally done.
They ultimately don’t even care that LRT is probably not that much more of an improvement in terms of speed and convenience as street cars or buses because LRT is still subject to usual traffic lights and stops.
They want something…because it’s new and it’s about doing anything…even if it’s not necessarily the best thing in the long term.
I think if you polled people living outside the downtown core…you might find a different response.
Don’t forget…North York, Scarborough, East York and Etobicoke are also included when you talk about Toronto. I know some people are just snobs who think that downtowners are the only ones who matter but I pay taxes in the same way as everyone else downtown and I live in North York. I can’t stand it when people, groups and publications (you paying attention Torontolife?) look at Toronto as only the area south of Bloor St.
Missy: In every comment section I visit, there you are spreading right-wing trash LIES all over the place. People like Transit City better. End of story. Would you grow up already?
Did anyone care to look at how the people for this poll were selected. It clearly states that the people asked to participate were selected RANDOMLY, to ensure that the data skewing that everyone is harping on about DOESN’T HAPPEN. Although I personally support the Transit City Plan, this poll doesn’t set in stone the proper course of action. What it tells me is that the Government needs to properly inform the public of the options on the table, and have a month or two of public consultation. This stupid misinformed debate is the WORST possible way that a city could determine in future, in any regard. If Rob Ford had respect for ALL taxpayers, this would have started last month, and we’d be almost done. And if Rob Ford really wants a mandate, then he has to have a PROPERLY INFORMED referendum. That’s a real mandate, not an election.
during the city election surveys were published with the results that reflected the actual outcome, with Ford in the lead in the 40 percentage range.
With this survey, it showed only 15% supporting Ford on his idea of only heavy rail subways.
Why is the very low numbers for a subway as Ford wants it considered BOGUS, but not the surveys results during the election campaign?
Transit City is one of the few things I disagree with Mr. Ford about. Oh well, maybe sometime in the next 500 we’ll get that visionary subway he promised.
Actually, the poll MADE VERY CLEAR that most people are worried that the surface-level Transit City lines that had been proposed would have added to traffic congestion. Only when respondents were asked regarding UNDERGROUND LRT routes, did they warm up to these. Also left out of the discussion seemed to be any idea concerning the relative speeds of these 2 transit options — or whether in fact there are other less costly options such as BRT. This “Poll” reminds me of the one done a few years ago regarding which helicopter purchase by the Canadian Armed Forces the public favoured. Just because people express a preference does not mean it’s an informed judgment. That applies to those preferring surface LRTs or underground LRTs or subways. We need an honest and transparent disscussion of the option — but this has not yet taken place. Miller, Metrolinx, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and yes even Ford, have been extremely negligent on this front.
Torontonians DO HATE LRTs.
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