polls

The Informer

Municipal Election 2014

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Yet another poll puts John Tory way out in front

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.

The Informer

Municipal Election 2014

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Doug Ford enters the mayoral race in second place, maybe


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.

The Informer

People

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Q&A: Darrell Bricker, the Toronto guy who knows everything about election polling

(Image: Claire Foster)

(Image: Claire Foster)

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.

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The Informer

Municipal Election 2014

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David Soknacki drops out of the mayoral race as his poll numbers continue to flatline


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.

The Informer

Municipal Election 2014

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John Tory takes the lead in the mayoral race, according to a new poll

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.

The Informer

Municipal Election 2014

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Rob Ford is now in second in the mayoral race, according to the latest Forum poll

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.

The Informer

Municipal Election 2014

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A new poll puts Rob Ford decisively in third place

(Image: John Tory/Facebook)

(Image: John Tory/Facebook)

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.

The Informer

Municipal Election 2014

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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.

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The Informer

Municipal Election 2014

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

(Image: Ontario Chamber of Commerce)

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.

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The Informer

Politics

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Sarah Palin would beat Rob Ford in a race for the U.S. presidency, says weird poll

(Image: Ford: Christopher Drost; Palin: David Shankbone)

(Image: Ford: Christopher Drost; Palin: David Shankbone)

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.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Toronto (still) sandwiched between Vancouver and Calgary in list of most livable cities

It’s been just over a month since the release of last big livability ranking of the world’s cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and already they’ve issued another edition (although that last one experimented with seven new indicators of livability, which produced decidedly sketchy results). This time around, looking at 140 cities across 30 metrics (which fall under the categories of stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure) produced…the exact same results for the top 65 as six months ago. This means Melbourne, Australia, still tops the list with a score of 97.5 out of a possible 100, while Toronto places fourth with 97.2—making the city just slightly less livable than Vancouver, which placed third at 97.3 (Calgary ranked fifth with 96.6). Suggestions for ways to nudge Toronto up and over its West Coast rival are welcome. [The Economist]

The Informer

Random Stuff

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Toronto is the world’s eighth most livable city (if you don’t count Vancouver)

As the news cycle slows for the summer, reporters are leaning heavily on a pair of old standbys: polls and lists (a close cousin to polls). On that note, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently ranked the world’s top cities in a livability survey, and Toronto came in a middling eighth, losing points for sprawl and limited “cultural assets.” Despite their city falling several places from its spot in previous livability rankings, Torontonians may not want to start with the usual self-deprecation—even the surveyors admitted the whole exercise was weird. Previously, the survey used 30 weighted indicators in five broad areas, including categories like infrastructure and culture. This year, the unit decided to shake things up by considering spatial qualities like isolation, pollution and sprawl instead, but they say the new features “may not have been applied in quite the right way” (for instance, pollution-plagued Hong Kong came in first). Plus, Vancouver wasn’t even considered, which is odd considering it usually scores well. If this list doesn’t help Toronto compare itself to its West Coast rival, then, really, what good is it? [The Economist]

The Informer

Politics

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There’s a stripper poll on the City of Toronto website

(Image: screen shot from the City of Toronto website)

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]


The Informer

Politics

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Etobicoke has fallen out of love with Rob Ford since his reporter-chasing hijinks

(Image: The City of Toronto)

Funnily enough (or sadly enough, from the perspective of civic engagement), the ridiculous Daniel Dale incident seems to have affected Rob Ford’s approval rating more than any of his decisive political defeats from earlier this spring. Poll results released today show that 40 per cent of Toronto residents approve of the job Ford is doing, down seven percentage points since last month and 20 percentage points since his early days as mayor. And in his home turf of Etobicoke, Ford’s approval rating plummeted 15 percentage points to 33 per cent. Lorne Bozinoff, the president of Forum Research, who conducted the survey, suggested Torontonians are not impressed with Ford’s attempt to buy the parkland abutting his house and the brouhaha that followed. Bozinoff also said west-enders might be feeling snubbed since Ford has ignored his former ward, focusing his attention across town to bring subways subways subways to Scarborough. Still, we thought Etobicoke residents wouldn’t turn away from Ford until hell froze over, pigs flew and the sky started to fall—oh, right. [National Post]

The Dish

Restaurants

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Where to Eat Now 2012: Vote on the 10 trends in dining that we love and hate

Where to Eat Now 2012: Vote on the 10 trends we love/hate

We picked out ten trends that helped define dining in Toronto in 2012, and pronounced whether we loved them, hated them or had a love-hate relationship with them. Now you can have your say.

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