Ford Nation still 'stands by their man': new poll
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, November 22, 2013 10:54AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 22, 2013 1:22PM EST
Rob Ford's approval rating is holding steady despite the ongoing scandal surrounding Toronto's embattled mayor, a new public opinion poll suggests.
A new Forum Research public opinion poll finds that 42 per cent of Toronto voters approve of Ford. The results of the poll, which were released on Friday, are virtually unchanged from a similar Forum poll released two weeks ago, when Ford's approval rating stood at 44 per cent.
Friday's poll also found that one-third of Toronto voters say they will cast their votes for Ford in next year's mayoral election.
Forum Research President and founder Lorne Bozinoff said the results of the latest poll show that the loyalty of the "Ford Nation" – the nickname used to refer to Ford's supporters – can't be shaken.
"What we can see from this is that, to his core supporters, the true citizens of Ford nation, who comprise about one-third of the voters in Toronto, Rob Ford is a viable candidate for mayor," he said in a statement.
"Nothing more he can do will surprise them or put them off. They've seen the worst there is, and they still stand by their man."
The poll surveyed 1,049 randomly selected Toronto voters on Nov. 20, 2013 and is considered accurate to plus or minus 3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The latest poll comes two weeks after Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine while in office. It also comes after weeks of Ford making international headlines and becoming a regular feature on late-night U.S. comedy shows.
Ford was stripped of most of his mayoral powers, including his budget and staff, this week after a vote by city council. Toronto's Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly has since taken over most of Ford's responsibilities.
59 per cent approve of NDP MP Olivia Chow, but Ford seen as best for budget
The poll also looked at the approval ratings for many of Ford's colleagues and potential competitors for next year's mayoral race. In comparison to Ford's 42 per cent approval rating, it found the following:
- 65 per cent of Toronto voters approve of Kelly
- 59 per cent approve of NDP MP Olivia Chow
- 52 per cent approve of former Ontario PC Leader John Tory
- 47 per cent approve of Toronto mayoral candidate and city councillor Karen Stintz
- 36 per cent approve of the mayor's brother and city councillor Doug Ford
But in a rating of mayoral candidate attributes, Ford was seen as best being able to handle the city budget at 34 per cent, followed by Chow (28 per cent), Tory (22 per cent) and Stintz (8 per cent).
Chow was seen as having the best vision for the city at 34 per cent, followed by Ford (30 per cent), Tory (21 per cent) and Stintz (9 per cent).
2014 mayoral election
Looking ahead to the 2014 mayoral election, the poll found that 33 per cent of Toronto voters said they will vote for Ford. The poll found that those planning on voting for Ford are characteristically middle-aged men, in the mid to higher income groups, who live in the Toronto suburbs of Etobicoke and York.
The poll did find, however, that 10 per cent of Ford's supporters will not vote for him next year.
The poll found that 69 per cent of Toronto voters believe Ford has a substance abuse problem – a sharp increase from two weeks ago when 54 per cent believed he had a problem.
Notably, of those voters who support Ford, 36 per cent agree he has a substance abuse problem.
Other findings in the poll include the following:
- 60 per cent of Toronto voters approved the decision to strip Ford of his budget, staff and power
- 60 per cent want Ford to resign; two weeks ago 61 per cent wanted him to resign
- Despite Ford's recent statements during media interviews that he'd like to become prime minister one day, only 19 per cent of Toronto voters support the idea
Then Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks from the council chamber as councillors look to pass motions to limit his powers on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)