ABOVE: Mayor Rob Ford is on track for re-election as popularity soars. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – It appears “subways, subways, subways” has paid off for Mayor Rob Ford in Scarborough.
Ford’s approval rating is improving after a steady decline over the summer months, according to a poll by Forum Research for the Toronto Sun.
The mayor now has an approval rating of 49 per cent which is up from 44 per cent at the end of August and an approval rating he hasn’t had since his first few months in office.
“It looks like the mayor is on a comeback trail,” Lorne Bozinoff, President of Forum Research said in an interview Wednesday. “He’s starting to have good months, that’s the key thing. There’s been no real personal issues, scandals, or controversies.”
But in Scarborough, where the mayor is close to securing subway, his approval rating has spiked 10 points.
“And of course there’s the Scarborough subway, a big, big win for the mayor,” Bozinoff said.
While federal funding wasn’t secured until Monday, subways in Scarborough had been a plank in Ford’s successful 2010 mayoral bid.
Bozinoff said the mayor’s approval rating bodes well in upcoming 2014 election but notes there are still candidates such as John Tory or Olivia Chow who pose a serious threat to Ford’s tenure.
“He’s going to be a very, very hard candidate to beat but it won’t be impossible,” Bozinoff said. “There’s sort of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 candidates. The Tier 1 candidates are the John Torys and Olivia Chows, they are way above anybody else, they’re sort of the giant killers in all this.”
However, Bozinoff noted Tory and Chow have a good chance of beating the mayor – but only if it’s a showdown between one of them and Rob Ford. If other candidates enter the race, it could split the vote.
Tory wouldn’t say whether he is planning to run for mayor in an interview with Global News on Wednesday but attributed Ford’s rising approval rating to a “relative absence” of controversies and sticking to key messages.
“I think when you start to develop a degree of consistency on what you’re talking about and in this case of course it’s ‘subways, subways, subways’ and ‘taxpayers, taxpayers, taxpayers,’ and you produce some results, then people give you some credit for that,” Tory said. “He just has to remember what goes up can come back down.”
The poll also suggests the majority of Torontonians surveyed prefer the mayor’s plan for a subway over both the fully-funded light-rail transit (LRT) plan and transportation minister’s plan for a subway.
The poll was conducted by Forum Research for the Toronto Sun and surveyed 1,082 Toronto residents on Saturday and Sunday. It has a accuracy of +/- 3 per cent 19 times out of 20.
– With files from Jackson Proskow
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