Posts Tagged: forum research

Sep 11

Despite leading question, CUPE poll still bad news for Ford

Toronto’s mayor is deeply unpopular.

The Toronto Star’s Robyn Doolittle:

A Forum Research telephone survey of nearly 13,000 people reveals that more than three-quarters of Torontonians want their local councillor to protect services rather than comply with the mayor’s wishes. And only 27 per cent of residents say they would vote for Rob Ford if an election was held tomorrow.

via Toronto News: Massive poll shows Toronto is united against Ford’s proposed cuts –

Forum Research is a respected pollster, but this poll — which is notable for just HUGE a sample it took, going far beyond what’s generally necessary for statistical accuracy — was paid for by CUPE Local 79, which is undoubtedly going to prompt supporters of the Ford administration to cry bias.

And they have a point. Looking at the poll questions, the one the Toronto Star highlights — “How much do you agree that your councillor should vote in the interests of protecting city services in your community, even if it conflicts with the wishes of Mayor Ford?” — is so leading as to render those specific results mostly irrelevant. Because what kind of person doesn’t agree with that statement? They might as well have asked if you want your councillor to be a spineless wimp or a super tough champion of the people.

Perspective is important with things like this, as it’s very likely a similarly-leading poll could come out that “supports” the mayor’s budget cuts. I’d bet they would see similar support numbers for a question like “Do you support an approach that will lead to balanced budgets this year and prevent large property tax increases?”

That said, the other two poll questions, which asked how views on Rob Ford have changed since the election and whether people would vote for Rob Ford if the election was held tomorrow, seem rather straightforward and free from bias. And the results are more insanely bad news for Rob Ford: a full 54% of respondents say their opinion of the mayor has “gotten worse” since his election and only 27% say they’d vote for him if an election were held tomorrow.

Speculation zone: Ford has lost a ton of support for two reasons. First, I don’t believe that there is a lot of support out there for the kind of budget cuts he’s left on the table. He needs to start speaking authoritatively about the budget to assure people that he does have a plan and that it won’t involve outright cuts to the things people care most about. More honesty and leadership would help a lot.

The second thing: pure overexposure. The mayor has been at the centre of a non-stop media cyclone since the day he took office. Every week brings us another wacky adventure, whether it’s the will-he-or-won’t-he storyline with Pride Toronto, the special all-nighter episode of the Executive Committee, the Jarvis bike lane saga or the recent let’s-sell-the-waterfront gambit. Ford desperately needs a month or two of relative quiet and calm at City Hall. But with this budget process sure to drag on for the next four or five months, there may not be a way for Toronto’s populist mayor to regain his popularity.

Sep 11

Toronto’s unpopular mayor

A new Forum Research poll has the mayor’s approval rating at 42%. This is crazy low for a municipal politician, especially one who is not even a year into his term of office.

I’ve thrown together a quick chart which shows his previous favourability numbers as also reported by Forum Research along with some comparisons to former mayors David Miller and Mel Lastman, compiled via a variety of sources. In summary: his numbers don’t compare very well. Ford’s about as popular right now as a guy who had been in office six years, had pushed through two unpopular new taxes and was staring into the face of a municipal workers strike that would see garbage pile up in public parks for a month.

And Ford hasn’t even got to the big cuts yet.

The Toronto Star’s David Rider looks at the steep drop for Ford support in the suburbs:

Half of Etobicoke-York respondents approve of “the job Ford is doing,” down from 58 per cent in June. In Scarborough, his support is 49 per cent (down from 59 per cent); 43 per cent in North York (down from 69 per cent) and only 30 per cent in Toronto-East York (down from 44).

via Toronto News: Ford support plummeting, poll suggests –

That 26 point drop in North York is crazy.

The obvious retort to this kind of thing is just to fold your arms and say polls don’t matter. Which, sure, is true. As the mayor said yesterday, the only poll he cares about is the one on election day. But behind the scenes, this is a mayor who has built his political power on the premise that he is a very popular and well-liked guy in suburban Toronto. With that premise looking shaky if not shattered, there’s no compelling reason for certain councillors to always look so intently to Giorgio Mammoliti’s thumb when items come to a vote at council.

It’s probably no surprise that the release of this poll coincidences with news that certain councillors will oppose the mayor on key items related to waterfront development and the upcoming budget process.