Nearly half of Toronto voters think public transit and gridlock are the most pressing issues facing the city ahead of October's municipal election, a new poll suggests.

The Nanos Research poll conducted for CTV News and The Globe and Mail asks voters "what is the most important issue facing the City of Toronto?" The open-ended question generated a number of responses, but one issue was far ahead of the others: transit and gridlock.

Here’s how people responded:

  • Transit and gridlock, 49 per cent
  • Need a new mayor, 11 per cent
  • Other, 10 per cent
  • Need for accountability, 7 per cent
  • High taxes/too many fees, 7 per cent
  • Unsure, 7 per cent
  • Finances/debt/expenses, 6 per cent
  • Jobs/economy, 4 per cent

They asked which front-running candidate had the "best vision for urban transit," voters picked John Tory's $8-billion SmartTrack plan (38 per cent). Self-proclaimed "subway mayor" Rob Ford came in second with 24 per cent of support, and Olivia Chow's plan, which promises to boost bus service, received 22 per cent of support. Sixteen per cent of voters said they were unsure.

The poll also looked at how voters perceived the front-running candidates, asking them about qualities such as trustworthiness and competency.

Here's how the mayoral hopefuls fared in each category:

Most trustworthy candidate

  • John Tory, 42 per cent
  • Olivia Chow, 29 per cent
  • Rob Ford, 19 per cent
  • Unsure, 10 per cent

Most competent candidate

  • John Tory, 51 per cent
  • Olivia Chow, 22 per cent
  • Rob Ford, 18 per cent
  • Unsure, 8 per cent

Candidate that can best represent Toronto

  • John Tory, 50 per cent
  • Olivia Chow, 25 per cent
  • Rob Ford, 18 per cent
  • Unsure, 7 per cent

Most likely to keep campaign promises

  • John Tory, 36 per cent
  • Rob Ford, 24 per cent
  • Olivia Chow, 24 per cent
  • Unsure, 15 per cent

Most likely to control spending

  • John Tory, 41 per cent
  • Rob Ford, 34 per cent
  • Olivia Chow, 15 per cent
  • Unsure, 10 per cent

The telephone poll is considered accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. It was conducted between Aug. 27 and Aug. 31 and sampled 1,000 Toronto voters.