Poll puts Rob Ford, John Tory and Olivia Chow in a virtual dead heat

Poll puts Rob Ford, John Tory and Olivia Chow in a virtual dead heat

John Tory. (Image: Ontario Chamber of Commerce)

With the 2014 mayoral campaign officially underway, the time has come for a pre-election ritual: a cavalcade of opinion polls measuring relative levels of support for each candidate.

This early in the game, it’s wise to be wary of polls. The candidates haven’t had time to introduce themselves to the public, so much of what’s being measured is name recognition. (Back in 2003, David Miller did terribly in the polls until just before he was elected mayor.) All we can hope for at this point in time is a reasonably accurate snapshot of voter sentiment right now.

According to the Star, the campaign’s first Forum Research poll doesn’t indicate a clear frontrunner. In a hypothetical race between Rob Ford, John Tory and Olivia Chow (who is expected to declare her candidacy soon), the 1,310 residents polled were split between Tory and Ford at 33 per cent each, while Chow captured 32 per cent. In a race among only the candidates who have already filed their nomination papers—that is, Ford, Tory, Karen Stintz and David Soknacki—Tory edges Ford out 39 per cent to 33 per cent, with the other candidates trailing far behind. With Chow in the mix, she and Ford tie at 31 per cent, while Tory gets 27 per cent. (The poll’s margin of error is three percentage points.)

The Star points out that Ford’s numbers aren’t actually as comfortable as they appear: 50 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t so much as consider voting for him, meaning his level of support is probably almost as high as it can get. If that’s true, it has nowhere to go but down.