A new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid for Global News tells a much different story than the ones done late last week, in the immediate aftermath of Rob Ford’s withdrawal from the mayoral race. Unlike those two earlier polls, which disagreed on Doug Ford’s standing (one gave him second place, while the other put him a distant third), this latest one seems consistent with what we were seeing prior to Friday’s shakeup. Doug’s vote percentage, in this online poll of 586 Torontonians, is close to what Rob was getting in the weeks leading up to his health crisis. If it’s true that voters consider the two brothers to be virtually interchangeable, then this kind of similarity in poll results would make sense. There’s one way in which this poll agrees with all other recent polls, though: it gives John Tory a commanding lead. If he hadn’t already cemented his frontrunner status, he certainly has now.
There are a few things about this latest Forum Research poll, released on Friday, that are a little suspect. For one, another poll, conducted by a lesser-known agency, shows Doug Ford at just 16 per cent, with John Tory at 45. That’s a disparity way outside any margin of error. Another possible source of trouble: both polls were done just hours after Rob Ford withdrew and Doug announced his candidacy, while the entire city was still reeling from the news. And both, of course, are subject to the usual pitfalls of any political polling. The only thing everyone seems to agree on? This is now officially Tory’s opportunity to win an election, for a change. If he becomes the consensus anti-Ford candidate, he may just be able to pull it off.
Polls don’t just measure political campaigns; as wonky as they sometimes are, they can actually shape outcomes. The latest example? David Soknacki’s exit from the mayoral race following a disappointing showing in a survey by Forum Research. Even as the candidates base major decisions on polls, though, many of us don’t really understand how they’re conducted, or what the results mean. We sat down with Darrell Bricker—who is the Toronto-based CEO of the public-affairs branch of Ipsos, one of the top market-research firms in the world—to talk about the nature of polling, and how to tell the good polls from the bad.
Tuesday night was a sad one for a certain kind of voter as policy-nerd-favourite David Soknacki, citing weak (but growing) support, announced that he would be ending his largely self-funded mayoral campaign. A new poll of 1069 voters released this morning by Forum Research seems to confirm Soknacki’s fears: it, like almost every poll before it, puts him in last place by a wide margin. For John Tory, meanwhile, there’s good news. Like last week’s Nanos poll, this one shows him starting to build a nice lead over Rob Ford and especially Olivia Chow, whose support, the poll finds, is particularly weak in Scarborough.
With Olivia Chow’s numbers softening, Toronto’s mayoral race has been in need of a new frontrunner. Now, courtesy of a new Nanos Research poll conducted on behalf of CTV and the Globe, it may actually have one: John Tory. The former radio host and ex-Ontario PC leader has been polling increasingly well lately, but this latest survey of 1,000 voters is the first to give him a decisive lead over both Chow and Rob Ford. This poll is also notable for being one of only a handful not to have been conducted by Forum Research, which isn’t to say that Forum isn’t credible. It’s nice to have a little independent corroboration of these shifts in voter intention, is all. The results shown above are among decided voters only. The Globe says 17 per cent of respondents were undecided.
A new poll from Forum Research is the latest of several to show Olivia Chow’s campaign crumbling underneath her. In this latest survey of 1945 Torontonians, Chow ranks third. Rob Ford, meanwhile, pulled his best result since March, putting him in close contention for the top spot. John Tory has the best numbers, currently, but he doesn’t seem to have benefitted much from Karen Stintz’s departure from the race: he’s down one point since earlier this month.
Here’s the thing about polling before an election: if you ask two pollsters to predict the outcome, you’re going to get two different answers. In contrast to last week’s Forum poll, which described a virtual dead heat between Olivia Chow, John Tory and Rob Ford, a new survey by Maple Leaf Strategies, a lobbying firm with conservative ties, gives Tory a healthy lead and puts Ford in the back. By Maple Leaf’s reckoning, Tory takes 30 per cent of the total vote, Chow gets 26 per cent and Ford trails with 23 per cent. (Among decided voters, the percentages are 35, 31 and 27, respectively.)
Since the numbers come from an unabashedly conservative pollster, it’s wise to approach them with some skepticism. Polls can be more effective at swaying public opinion than measuring it, and political operatives know it. Even so, this is an interesting data point, and bad news for the mayor, who has by all accounts been struggling to increase his vote share since the start of the campaign. Maple Leaf finds his remaining support to be strongest in Scarborough, where he polled at 35 per cent.
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.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Wondering whether Rob Ford could win the American presidency against an equally divisive candidate is sort of like wondering whether The Flash could beat Superman in a footrace: it’s a contest that can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t ever occur. And yet, for some reason, a U.S. polling company spent some of its valuable time asking 845 American voters whether they’d support mayor Ford if he were to run against Sarah Palin.
City staff have posted an online “Adult Entertainment Parlour Regulation Survey” (yes, actually) that asks the public to weigh in on whether strip club clientele should be allowed to touch exotic dancers. (While you’ve probably heard the no-touching-the-dancers spiel before—from watching a lot of TV, of course!—it may not have been apparent that this is actually a city-mandated rule and not just something imposed by club bouncers.) The Adult Entertainment Association of Canada is fighting to change the current by-law, which forbids any physical contact between dancers and their clients, calling the rules “onerous and archaic” and just plain unenforceable. Though several councillors have already survived a committee-meeting pole dance in the name of progress, the poll’s formal language (“burlesque entertainers” and “no-touch provisions,” for instance) makes us think there will be a lot of uncomfortable seat-shifting when the matter is brought up at council. Good luck to the soul whose job it will be to translate the sure-to-be-colourful survey responses into city-hall speak. [Toronto Sun]