Well, things are getting interesting. Just two days after I decided to ignore most public opinion polls except for Nanos Research polls, that very company has come out with a new poll in the Toronto mayoral race.
The results put John Tory ahead with 39.1% support, Olivia Chow in second with 32.7% and incumbent buffoon Rob Ford trailing badly with just 21.7% support. None of the other candidates garner even five per cent support. The random telephone survey of 600 Torontonians was conducted between July 2 and July 5, after Rob Ford's big return to the scene after finishing two months of cottage country rehab.
I must say I trust Nanos polls quite a bit, due to both their methodology of contacting actual people, as well as their solid track record.
So it seems that John Tory is catching on with the public, and Olivia Chow has not yet done so. I refuse to say that Chow has somehow lost her lead in the race as the only polling company that put her in the lead was Forum Research, a polling company I do not trust.
So I guess my recent instinct judging Chow currently has the most support is wrong; instead, it seems Tory is currently in the lead.
I have to say I quite like John Tory and have been seriously considering supporting him in this race. I've also felt the same way about Olivia Chow. Both have their strengths, but also weaknesses.
I agree with Chow's positions on most issues, including banning jets from the island airport, promoting cycling, and building Light Rail Transit in Scarborough instead of the ill-conceived Scarborough subway extension. On the other hand, I question her ability to lead a large corporation the size of Toronto when she's never managed anything that size in her life, as well as unite the city between downtown and suburbs. While electing Chow might feel good in the short term, I worry about a longer-term conservative backlash which leftie politicians like Chow and David Miller always seem to inspire. Such backlashes historically have given birth to truly regressive, neo-conservative regimes. Rob Ford was the beneficiary of such a conservative backlash in 2010. I shudder to imagine what the next conservative backlash might look like after Chow.
Tory, on the other hand, has few weaknesses, except perhaps not being the strongest campaigner. I must say I quite like his 'Smart Track' proposal which makes sense and looks like it could achieve the much needed results of a "downtown relief line." Tory is a moderate, compassionate red Tory and a cosmopolitan who understands the downtown as well as the suburbs. He can be a ditherer who takes a long time to make decisions, but I prefer that to the numb skull ideology of the incumbent. I'd be quite comfortable with Tory as mayor.
Could this be the year John Tory finally graduates from perpetual loser to electoral winner? We shall see. I'll be waiting for the next Nanos poll to see if this lead is part of a trend, or a blip.