Endorsements for George Smitherman and fears over Rob Ford becoming Toronto’s mayor have the pair in a dead heat as they fight through the final days of the election, a new poll suggests.
The Ipsos Reid survey conducted Thanksgiving weekend gives Smitherman, the former Ontario deputy premier, 31 per cent support of decided voters, with Ford, the cost-cutting Etobicoke councillor, at 30 per cent. Polls in mid-September had Ford leading by between 13 and 24 points.
The new poll of 400 people conducted for Newstalk 1010 has Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, the standard-bearer for council’s left-leaning faction, a distant third at 11 per cent.
It suggests an almost complete collapse for former executive Rocco Rossi, now at four per cent.
One-quarter of respondents remain undecided. The poll’s margin of error is 4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
After the poll’s release yesterday, John Wright of Ipsos Reid noted that, when the respondent pool is narrowed to just those who intend to vote Oct. 25, Smitherman has 38 per cent support compared with Ford’s 32.
“With a six-point gap, it’s about who will get out the vote on election night,” he said, adding the data suggests many Torontonians are prepared to vote strategically to keep Ford out of the mayor’s chair and are “somewhat reluctantly” backing his main rival.