Sunday, October 24, 2010

Toronto's Mayoralty Race

It is a close race.  The momentum and zeitgeist would appear to favour Rob Ford.  However, the race has effectively polarized into pro-Ford and anti-Ford camps to the extent that the many will abandon the left leaning candidate Joe Pantalone, and vote for big "L" Liberal George Smitherman.

The 2009 garbage strike is key to Ford's success in this campaign. It lasted a long time and caused considerable unhappiness at a time when the economic downturn was causing general stress. Add to that the resentments Ford has exploited with his complaints that there is some sort of  "gravy train" at city hall. These sentiments, however much they are divorced from reality, are more easily exploited in difficult economic times.

If one looks at demographics in the polls, one key factor helps Ford - he is most strongly supported by those over 60. One the other hand the better educated and more affluent favour Smitherman.  Polls do a terrible job of measuring and anticipating turnout. However, we know that the better educated and more affluent are more likely to vote, but so also do senior citizens.

If Ford does win, TC's view is that he would be a disastrously bad and unpopular mayor. Unfortunately, the city would be in for four years of real suffering as a consequence.  More so than is generally anticipated even by anti-Ford voters.  Ford looks much worse to TC, for example, than Mike Harris.