Rob Ford's Numbers Not Boosted By Return

| Filed under: Toronto

Tory edges Chow if Ford doesn't run

TORONTO July 2nd, 2014 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1182 Toronto voters two days after he returned from two months in rehab, Rob Ford has seen his approval and electoral chances equal the lowest point noted since we began tracking. Meanwhile John Tory has seen his numbers improve, edging him forward in races where Ford does not compete.

Tory's approval is tops, Ford's stable at the bottom of the heap

Among the vast majority who are aware of him (95%), as many as two thirds have a positive opinion of John Tory (63%), while the vast majority aware of Olivia Chow (97%) give her approval ratings just below this (57%). The wide majority have heard of Karen Stintz (84%), but just 4-in-10 give her their approval (41%). While fewer have heard of David Soknacki (63%), they give him a slightly better approval rating than Stintz (44%). Rob Ford's approval is still about 3-in-10 (31%), similar to last week (32%).

Chow leads when Ford runs

In the all-important five-way mayoral electoral match up, with all key contenders, Chow wins with more than one third of the vote (36%) to more than a quarter each for Tory (27%) and Ford (26%). Soknacki (4%) and Stintz (3%) do not contend, and few are undecided (4%).

In a four-way match up, without Rob Ford, John Tory (38%) ties Olivia Chow (36%), while Stintz and Soknacki (4% each) aren't in it. In this race, as many as a fifth remain undecided (18%), and these are most likely to be Ford supporters (52%).

In a three-way race between just the main contenders, Chow wins with close to 4-in-10 votes (38%), while Tory ties Ford (30% to 28%). Once again, few are undecided (4%).

In a straight two-way race between Tory and Chow only, Tory ties Chow (42% to 40%), while one fifth are undecided (18% in total, 49% among Rob Ford voters).

Ford Nation subsides

In the question which determines membership in Ford Nation (“Will you vote for Rob Ford in the municipal election in October or not?" with no other contenders mentioned), the mayor has slipped to one quarter this week (25%) from close to 3-in-10 last week (29%).

One quarter will vote for Ford if he remains clean and sober

A very similar proportion to Ford Nation (26%) say they will vote for Rob Ford if he remains clean and sober until the election (26%), while two thirds will not give him this chance (67%). Few don't have a view (6%).

Majority do not expect mayor to stay clean and sober

Just one quarter expect the mayor to stay clean and sober until election day in October (26%), compared to close to 6-in-10 who think he will not (57%). One eighth are unsure (16%). Even among those who approve of Rob Ford and will vote for him, just two thirds think he will remain clean and sober (62% and 64%, respectively). Among these two overlapping groups, as many as one fifth expressly do not believe the mayor will make it clean and sober to the election (17% and 18%, respectively).

Calls for mayor to resign are up

Close to two thirds now want the mayor to resign (62%), up from fewer than 6-in-10 last week (June 24 - 58%).

Most watched return speech, few satisfied

More than 6-in-10 Toronto voters watched or listened to the speech the mayor gave upon his return on Monday, June 30 (61%), but, of these, just one third say this speech was a satisfactory explanation and apology for the mayor's behaviour (34%), while 6-in-10 did not find it satisfactory (60%). Few have no opinion (3%).

Few think Ford can be effective mayor

Just one third think Ford can be an effective mayor, given that he is a recovering alcoholic who will always be battling his disease (34%), while 6-in-10 think he will be ineffective as a result (61%).

Few want mayor's duties, responsibilities returned to him

Two thirds do not believe the mayor should have his stripped responsibilities returned to him now he has completed rehab (63%), while about one third think he deserves them back (32%). Few do not have an opinion (5%).


The mayor's support continues to lie among the youngest, least educated and less wealthy in Scarborough (and North York), but not downtown, and among drivers but not transit users. These groups will continue to vote for him, approve of him, want his powers returned and think he can be an effective mayor despite his affliction. This core group is getting smaller, however, and where it once represented a third of Toronto voters, now may represent about a quarter. If Ford doesn't run, half his supporters may not vote, and the other half may migrate to John Tory, which will give him a slight edge over Olivia Chow. If the mayor runs, however, Chow has an advantage.

"One would expect to see a “dead cat bounce” in his ratings created by the mayor's return, but that has not been the case. On the other hand, we may be seeing the beginning of Ford Fatigue, in which the constant controversy is just being tuned out by most Toronto voters," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.