TORONTO – The majority of Toronto voters say Rob Ford should take a leave of absence and deal with substance abuse problems — and if he does, he will win the 2014 mayoral race, according to poll results released early Thursday to Global News.
One day after the mayor admitted he smoked crack cocaine a year ago while in a “drunken stupor,” 65 per cent of Toronto voters said Ford should take a leave of absence and deal with substance abuse problems, according to the Forum Research poll.
Taking time off from the mayor’s office and dealing with personal issues improves Ford’s electoral chances if he emerges clean and sober.
In a race between the two declared mayoral candidates, Ford would narrowly defeat Karen Stintz by a vote of 38 per cent to 36 per cent, while former budget chief David Soknacki would take one-tenth of the ballots, according to the poll results.
However, if the mayor doesn’t take time off, Stintz would defeat Ford 40 per cent to 34 per cent, with Soknacki taking nine per cent of the votes.
“It is clear that the mayor has a viable political future, but only if he goes to rehab and gets his (alleged) addictions under control,” said Dr. Lorne Bozinoff , Forum Research president. “Ford Nation continues to support him, but they are not as likely to vote for him as they were, unless he gets help.”
Furthermore, if both John Tory and Olivia Chow throw their hats into the 2014 mayoral race, Ford would be in a statistical tie with Chow at 29 per cent to 28 per cent, while Tory would take 25 per cent of votes. Stintz would capture one-tenth of the ballots and Soknacki two per cent, if the mayor doesn’t seek help.
However, if Ford goes to rehab, the mayor would win with 32 per cent to 28 per cent for Chow, 21 per cent for Tory, 12 per cent for Stintz and three per cent for Soknacki.
On Monday, Ford made a surprise appearance on AM640’s The John Oakley Show to address the allegations and speculation.
“I’m not an alcoholic and I’m not a drug addict. If I have a problem, I’d be more than happy, be the first to say ‘I’m not fit to run this city.’”
Meanwhile, 61 per cent of Toronto voters want Ford to resign, a percentage that remains nearly unchanged from previous polls (November 4 ‐ 59%, October 31 ‐ 60%).
One day after the mayor’s brother Councillor Doug Ford called for Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair to resign, 74 per cent of Toronto voters approve of the job the police chief is doing, while one-in-seven think Blair should resign.
The councillor called for the chief’s resignation for comments Blair made last week on a video investigators recovered that is “consistent” with media reports of the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
“[Blair] believes he’s the judge, the jury, the executioner,” Doug Ford said at an impromptu press conference at city hall on Tuesday. He claimed Blair was out to unseat the mayor.
The mayor’s approval rating remains nearly unchanged at 44 per cent from previous polling on November 4 (43%) and October 31 (44%).
The poll was conducted by Forum Research with the results based on an interactive voice response telephone survey of 1,157 randomly selected Torontonians 18 years of age and older. The poll was conducted on Nov. 6, 2013. Results based on the total sample are considered accurate +/‐ 3%, 19 times out of 20.
-with a file from David Shum