A new poll conducted by Nanos Research for the Globe and Mail, CTV and CP24, shows Rob Ford with a 24 point lead over his closest rival effectively putting him so far out in front, he is almost assuredly going to be Toronto’s next mayor. 45.6 per cent of those polled who are "decided voters", those who have already decided who they will vote for, have said they will vote for Ford. This number is more than twice the number of Ford’s nearest rival, George Smitherman who has 21.3 per cent of the decided voters.
Pollster Nik Nanos was quoted on CTV as saying that a lead of this magnitude will make it difficult if not impossible for another candidate to win. "What really has to happen is for Rob Ford to make a mistake or some sensational thing to come on the stage that would disrupt the Ford campaign so to speak." Mr. Nanos was further quoted, “As of today, this election is about Rob Ford and whether he has what it takes to be mayor. This changes the dynamic significantly.”
The ranking of the candidates according to the poll is as follows:
· Rob Ford — 45.8 per cent
· Ex-deputy premier George Smitherman — 21.3 per cent
· Deputy mayor Joe Pantalone — 16.8 per cent
· Former Liberal insider Rocco Rossi — 9.7 per cent
· Business leader Sarah Thomson — 6.4 per cent
Where does all this support for Ford come from? According to several news sources, the analysts are talking about Ford’s calls to rein in spending at city hall have "resonated" with the voters. The public perceives things are amiss in Toronto’s leadership and Ford is the man to take the helm and get the city back on course. Unfortunately, while these word bites sound good to voters, it remains to be seen whether Ford has the ability to do what he says he’s going to do. Talking on the sidelines is not the same as taking the helm. If steering a boat was that simple, we would all be captains.
Ford’s first major shot at campaign promises involved his plan for Toronto’s transit. Releasing a video on YouTube, Ford explained how he would scrap the current plans for LTR and move ahead with the development of new subway lines. The unfortunate part of this plan is that a subway costs over 3 times as much as an equivalent LTR and in this time of economic hardship, just where will the money come from?
The other part of his plan is to replace downtown streetcars with buses. Streetcars carry more passengers than buses and produce less pollution. But on top of this, there are current orders for new streetcars. To cancel such orders, Toronto would have to pay penalties and all this money would just go to waste.
The voters like Ford’s message. Who wouldn’t want to rein in perceived bad spending? Unfortunately, steering a boat or steering Toronto is not easy and certainly not something which can be accomplished with buzz phrases which "resonate" with the public. At the end of the day, good leadership founded on fiscal responsibility and a strategic vision with the reality of economic reasonableness will be needed. If we all vote Ford into office, let us all hope he is actually up to the job. If not, we will all pay dearly for our mistake.
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Poll: Ford holds commanding lead in Toronto Mayoral race
Globe & Mail/CTV/CP 24/Nanos Poll 21.09.10 PDF
YouTube: Rob Ford’s Transportation Plan
The Globe and Mail – Sep 10/2010
Mayoral candidates sketch out fantasy schemes for Toronto’s transit dilemmas
official site: Rob Ford for Mayor
YouTube: Old Spice commercial <– absolutely hilarious!!!
YouTube: Rob Ford parody
An amusing parody is based on the Old Spice commercial