Rob Ford and George Smitherman continue to hold each other in a political headlock, tied in Toronto’s mayoral race with Joe Pantalone a very distant third, says a poll conducted last weekend.

The Leger Marketing Poll of 600 Torontonians conducted Friday to Monday for the Toronto Sun also found a majority think Ford would bring the most change to City Hall, but Smitherman would be the best mayor.

The telephone poll found that Smitherman, the former deputy premier, had the support of 31 per cent, the thrifty Etobicoke councillor Ford had 30 per cent and Pantalone, the deputy mayor promising a continuation of Mayor David Miller’s legacy with some “shaping and pruning,” at 10 per cent –— his lowest showing in recent polls.

Asked who would make the best mayor, respondents gave Smitherman the edge, with 42 per cent compared to Ford’s 36 per cent.

When asked who would bring the most change to City Hall if elected, 47 per cent picked Ford, who has promised to run the city like a business, with deep cuts in spending but no service cuts.

Twenty-three per cent said Smitherman, who is promising a curb on city spending by returning to core services but also a host of city-building initiatives.

Only eight per cent expect big change from Pantalone.

The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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