Toronto Mayoral Race Down to the Wire: Rob Ford and George Smitherman

In the race for the next mayor of Toronto, it’s the home stretch and we have 2 contenders: Rob Ford and George Smitherman.
 
On Friday, October 15, former Toronto mayor Art Eggleton announced his support for Smitherman at a luncheon at the Board of Trade. In supporting George, he also refused to say anything about the other candidates, reportedly saying, "I’m not going to comment on other candidates. I’m here to say positive things."
 
On Sunday, October 18, the Toronto Star in an editorial announced its support for George Smitherman. The newspaper said that "only one candidate has the proven political skill, government experience, commitment to change, negotiating ability, compassion, drive, determination and charisma that — taken together — would amount to an effective mayor. George Smitherman is that candidate." The Star went on to recognize a host of chronic problems which plague the city of Toronto such as "budget shortfalls, crumbling infrastructure, gridlocked roads, under-built transit, a shortage of affordable housing, and disadvantaged neighbourhoods that foster crime and poverty." It added that while Rob Ford has tapped into the popular sentiment of "It’s time to stop the gravy train", Ford has failed to present a concrete vision of how to deal with the issues while Smitherman has not just the experience, but the fresh perspective necessary for the position of mayor.
 
On Monday, October 18, Montréal MP Justin Trudeau, son of late Prime Minister Pierre Eliot Trudeau came to Toronto to endorse Smitherman and his run for mayor. At a Little Italy restaurant during an evening with Liberal stars and supporters, Mr. Trudeau spoke about the politics of fear and division and the politics of hope and responsibility indicating that Mr. Smitherman was of the latter category.
 
Also on Monday, the Central Ontario Building Trades, the union behind tens of thousands of Toronto construction workers announced its support for Smitherman. Despite their long time support for Joe Pantalone, they felt Smitherman had the best chance of being elected.
 
James St. John, business manager for the union was quoted as saying, "It’s a difficult choice: Joe Pantalone’s been a huge friend of labour for a long time. … But we felt at this point in time, George Smitherman is our candidate with the best chance of being elected mayor of Toronto. George is a candidate that will work with us.”
 
Rob Ford has pledged to end the city’s fair wage policy citing a potential savings of $320 million over four years which the union feels would be detrimental to their members.
 
Councillor Doug Holyday, who has previously expressed reservations about Rob Ford, has endorsed Ford on Monday. “I’d hate to wake up next week and find that the wrong people are in charge of the city,” Mr. Holyday, the former mayor of Etobicoke, said. “Now’s the time to do something.”
 
Nanos Poll
A new Nanos poll conducted between October 14 and 16 places support for Ford at 43.9% and for Smitherman at 40.5%. Joe Pantalone stands at 15% of decided voters. The poll goes on to explain that with a margin of error, the race is a dead heat between Ford and Smitherman.
 
Ford supporters seem to be driven by change and vision while Smitherman supporters are driven by experience and change.
 
Concerning trust for the candidates, Ford is considered by 34.4% as trustworthy while Smitherman only garners 23.1%. 23.6% of Torontonians, or one in four were unsure which candidate was trustworthy.
 
Those polled feel Ford is better able to manage tax dollars: Ford 39.5% with Smitherman 24.4%.
 
The poll also showed that 70% of Ford voters are committed to voting for Ford while 65% of Smitherman voters are committed to him.
 
Angus-Reid
This online survey, done on October 14 and 15, places Ford at 41% and Smitherman at 40% with Pantalone at 16%. The firmness of support shows Ford at 76% and Smitherman at 69%. This refers to those voting for a specific candidate expressing their intention to vote for their preferred candidate. In contrast, 49% of Pantalone supporters have said they could vote for somebody else next week.
 
The election is in the hands of Joe Pantalone
With Ford and Smitherman neck and neck in the race to become Toronto’s next mayor, will Pantalone’s decision to stay or go be the deciding factor in breaking the deadlock between the 2 frontrunners?
 
CP24’s final mayoral debate airs Tuesday evening.
 
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 8pm (2 hour show on CP24)
Election Debate between Ford, Smitherman and Pantalone
CTV’s Masonic Temple
888 Yonge Street
 
CTV’s web site: announcement of this debate
Click HERE to read more from William Belle 
 
References
 
Nanos Research
 
Globe/CTV/CP24/Nanos Poll – Toronto Mayoral Race
Conducted between Oct 14 and Oct 16, 2010
 
Angus-Reid
 
Angus Reid: Toronto Headed for Tight Election as Smitherman Catches Ford
online survey conducted on Oct 14 and 15, 2010
 
Toronto Star Editorial: October 17, 2010-10-19
 
2010-10-18 

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