Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Is the John Tory bump for real?

The polling world was mostly co-operative in my absence, opting to release only three polls. One of them, a federal poll by Forum, I covered briefly in today's federal polling averages update. The other two covered the Toronto mayoralty race. They both seem to confirm that the race is transforming from an Olivia Chow lead to a two-headed race with John Tory.

Tory = green, Chow = purple, Ford = blue
The Nanos poll that broke the monopoly of Forum polling in Toronto looked like an oddity. It had placed Tory in front with 39% support, well above any poll that had been conducted since Chow joined the race.

But the last two polls seem to suggest that the bump recorded by Nanos may not have been entirely anomalous.

The Forum poll conducted on July 21 did not show the same sort of Tory lead, but did show that - relative to Chow - Tory was doing much better. The poll gave Chow 30% support among decided voters, a drop of eight points since the previous survey by Forum on July 2. Tory and Rob Ford were each up one point to 29% and 28%, respectively. While the Tory number was still well below what Nanos has considered to be the case, his standing relative to Chow was vastly improved.

More revealingly, perhaps, are the approval ratings of the three major candidates. Among those who said they had heard of Tory (96% of the sample), his approval rating was 67%. That was well above Chow's 54% and more than double Ford's 33%. That high approval rating (back to where he was around May, but higher than the last two months) suggests Tory has room to grow. In contrast, Chow seems to be more divisive. Even if we include the undecideds, her disapproval rating is 45%.

The other poll that was out recently is an interesting one. It comes from Dimitri Pantazopoulos of Maple Leaf Strategies. You may remember Pantazopoulos from the last provincial campaign in British Columbia, as he was the B.C. Liberal Party's pollster who (it is claimed) had called the outcome. Pantazopoulos has a history of working for conservative candidates, and even did a poll for Ford back in 2010, but the release by Maple Leaf Strategies makes a point to mention that he is not affiliated with any municipal candidates this time.

Does this mean we have to exercise caution with this poll? We should certainly keep the source in mind. It is not a question of the reliability of the numbers, but rather the potential for reporting bias. We only ever hear of internal party polls, for instance, when they are good for the party in question. But caution does not mean we should disregard the poll.

This is particularly the case as the poll does not clash with the latest numbers from Nanos or even Forum. Pantazopoulos gave Tory 35% support among decided voters, against 31% for Chow and 27% for Ford. The poll thus falls almost right in the middle of the Nanos and Forum polls.

If we take into account the margin of error, the Pantazopoulos and Forum polls line up. For the former, Tory would have about 31% to 39% support with the MOE, with Chow at 27% to 35% and Ford at 23% to 31%. Forum would have Tory between 26% and 32%, Chow between 27% and 33%, and Ford between 25% and 31%. There is just enough overlap there to say these polls are not necessarily contradictory.

Taken together, it is hard not to see that Tory's position is improving, whether because of raw support or simply relative to Chow. I think it can fairly be said that the race is now close between the two.

What about Ford? He is only a little below the others in both polls, with 27% to 28% support. While that makes him a threat, that support is looking like a ceiling. With his approval rating at 33%, there is not much room for growth.

The Maple Leaf Strategies poll also shows how difficult it would be to attract support from other candidates. Only a very small proportion of Chow and Tory supporters said that Ford was their second choice. Even if all of those voters changed their minds and went over to Ford, the incumbent's support would only be boosted to 33%, with Tory and Chow at 30% apiece. That is hardly the kind of scenario that is likely to play out without any other consequences.

Chow and Tory, on the other hand, can benefit hugely from any sort of rally towards the best anti-Ford candidate (the likely consequence of a Ford surge). Chow, for instance, would be boosted to around 44% support if all the Tory supporters who chose her as their second choice changed sides to block Ford. Tory could be boosted to 49% if Chow's fence-sitters went over to him. There is far greater potential, then, for either Chow or Tory to come on top as the anyone-but-Ford candidate, than there is potential for Ford to come through the middle and win by default.

36 comments:

  1. Re: Pantazopoulos' polls for the BC Liberals, he's telling the truth. The internal polls did show a BC Liberal lead on E-day. I frankly didn't believe them at the time though lol.

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  2. Ford is definitely slipping back. Good !!

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  3. Ford is gaining ground up 6% since the Nanos poll in early July! Chow numbers have dropped clearly indicating the ABC movement is increasing momentum.

    Suburbanites already are leery of paying for the big spending ways of Wynne they'll come out in droves to make sure Ford gets re-elected. With all the free advertising Ford has given Toronto voters would be crazy to not re-elect him.

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    1. "Suburbanites already are leery of paying for the big spending ways of Wynne they'll come out in droves to make sure Ford gets re-elected."

      The same suburbanites who just gave her party every seat in their region? Have their been any polls since election day showing plummeting support for the Liberals? How would voting for Ford stop Wynne? Are you suggesting that the election will be a referendum on a 4 month old Liberal government that gained 50% of Toronto's vote? Didn't you just recently predict Wynne wouldn't even win her own seat? Wouldn't an ABC mood benefit Tory, who is the second choice of many Chow voters, and not Ford, who is basically nobody''s second choice? Bebe dunelm I'm curious where you get your facts and convictions from.

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    2. LOL. I'm not sure that there are enough drug dealers and crack addicts in Toronto for Ford to even come in second.

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    3. Phillipe David,

      An ABC movement would benefit Anybody But Chow hence, ABC.

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    4. I think I know where the facts and convictions come from. Would prefer he answered your questions too...quite curious the answers.

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    5. Guy,

      Tragically, as we found out recently lots of Torontonians do drugs-more than enough to re-elect Rob Ford.

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    6. Carl,I'd like some answers too, but I'm not really expecting any. Two recent polls show skyrocketing approval ratings for Wynne, yet Bebe somehow thinks that an anti-Wynne revolt is brewing in ridings her party won 2 months ago. Interesting that on a site like this one all of Bebe's predictions are based on nothing but conjecture (which is probably why every single one of his/her proclamations has been completely and utterly wrong). I'm now fully expecting a prissy reply full of indignation but no actual facts, and probably claims of me being a fascist trying to supress free speech :)

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  4. I wonder what caused surge of support for John Tory at the expense of Olivia Chow. Neither candidate seems like they did something to garner or lose support.

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    1. Chow only has the Jack Layton sympathy vote, much like Justin Trudeau she is all hype and no substance and following on famous family members' coat tails.

      Her transit plan is laughable. Her goals for the short term; increase bus capacity by 10% during rush hour, is impossible to implement during a single term. It could be achieved but, only after five years and 100 million dollars.

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    2. I was looking for responses from posters who were less overtly partisan and looking more at evidence to back up their claims.

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    3. Big Jay,

      Since when do you determine who may write and when? That is a very totalitarian attitude-do you think you are better than everyone else as well? Your post is filled with bias assuming Tory has done nothing to gain support and presuming Chow has done nothing to lose support.

      This snobbish, holier-than thou attitude is exactly why many voters dislike Chow, the NDP and Liberal parties. It is why Ford was elected and why Chow will lose; voters don't like being told from on high who should be mayor-voters are perfectly capable of making up their own minds.

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    4. For most of the campaign so far, Chow's main message seems to have been that Rob Ford is bad and she is not Rob Ford. Problem is, John Tory is also not Rob Ford and she seems to have flailed somewhat when addressing any issues brought up by him. The worst it seems she can say is that Tory's transit plan will raise property taxes, but that's debatable and even if true, so would hers.

      She seems like a decent enough person, and I'd certainly consider voting for her if I lived in Toronto, but she needs to come across as a stronger candidate.

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    5. Albert Goodwin,

      I did not say Bebe Dunelm cannot comment on my post. I merely stated I was looking for comments that back up their claims with evidence.

      You just spun my comment and claimed I have a totalitarian attitude. I could do the same. I have the freedom of speech to say that I prefer comments that back up their claims with evidence.

      I agree my post was with the assumption that Tory and Chow did not do anything to gain or lose support. I don't support either candidate. There is evidence in the polls that Tory is leading at the expense of Chow. I was simply pondering why.

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    6. Big Jay,

      What a strange response you have written to me. You were looking for less overtly partisan writers but, alas it is the strong partisan bias in your own comment that made me feel compelled to write!

      Chow has fallen 11% in one month! What more evidence do you need? Her policies do not hold up to scrutiny. She may be the best mayor for downtown but, she neither represents nor understands fully the attitudes, needs and wants of those who reside outside downtown. In short she is a divisive candidate.

      Your comment displays a certain tone of arrogance that many hoped had dissipated from the Liberal party with their third place finish in the 2011 election. Your comment above can only be explained as an attempt to limit debate and intimidate others.

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    7. I guess you have seen right through my pro-Soknacki bias!

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    8. Big Jay,

      You certainly do have a totalitarian attitude if you think you have the right to limit who comments or even the answers you expect to receive. You don't want debate you want floosies agreeing with your every word! That is the Liberal way I suppose, so devoid of ideas they want the very thought of new ideas or debtate banned.

      Evidence is great but, is not a substitute for ideas. Something the Liberal party should understand but, judging by your writing doesn't.

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    9. Personally I don't blame him for asking for better posts. After reading this chain, all I see from yourself and Albert are comments that have nothing to do with the topic at hand....which was what did Tory or Chow do to cause a swing of voters to shift. Instead its rants about Liberals, and the NDP. I am shocked you didnt throw in something about Justin Trudeau just because that's how silly your post above is. Can I ask for better comments as well that are actually on the topic at hand or is that too much?....no where at all did Big Jay say anything about the Liberal party...the NDP anything else you are going on about.

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    10. But that's their thing Carl. Nothing is as good as Harper Cons and we have to be taught this.


      That it is wrong is irrelevant !!

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    11. CS and BJ,

      I am not intimidated by your intimidation tactics meant to "bully" people into silence. The notion you two demand answers when your posts are not respectful really begs the question why you are commenting in the first place?

      My post was on topic until "Big Jay" put forth the notion he had the right to decide who could and could not comment and the type of comments he expected.

      The bigger question is why you and BJ, believe you have the ability to tailor comments to your liking and limit debate? Is that what Liberals stand for censored freedom of expression?

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  5. Today, councillor Mammoliti blames two tragic deaths at an EDM event this weekend on councillors Layton and Perks! This guy makes Rob Ford look like a saint.

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    1. Actually, Mammoliti blames the deaths on the INK entertainment; "due to their negligence and poor security measures”.

      He does not blame Perks and Layton for the deaths. He suggests their lobbying efforts, which resulted in INK receiving City approval for the events contributed to the tragic outcome.

      “Councillors Perks and Layton should resign their seats on Council. If it wasn’t for them pushing for these events and insisting they be held on government lands I don’t believe these kids would be dead today”.

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    2. Mammoliti called on for the resignation of Perks and Layton after the deaths of two people at VELD. As a result, Mammoliti is indirectly blaming the two councillors for this tragedy.

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    3. @Albert Do you agree with that reasoning? Or were you just clarifying his statement?

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    4. What Big Jay wrote;

      " blames two tragic deaths at an EDM event this weekend on councillors Layton and Perks".

      Big Jay's comment is either a misunderstanding or mis-characterization of Mammoliti's statement. Although "Big Jay" has now tempered his comment by recognizing only an indirect linkage, although still unfounded. Mammoliti is not blaming the deaths on the two councillors but, on the process that agreed to hold the event without adequate safety and security measures.

      It seems to me that the VELD, the City of Toronto and ultimately the politicians share the blame collectively for the failures in security and safety that occurred. If the two victims ingested unsafe substances that would also be a factor. We all know what takes place at electronic music events and I think it is appropriate to ask ourselves whether such activities should hold any degree of government sponsorship.

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    5. Big Jay's statement was an incorrect hyperbolic distortion.

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  6. More analysis from Mr. Pantazopoulos

    http://mapleleafstrategies.com/below-the-topline-additional-observations-and-finding-from-our-july-toronto-mayoral-survey/

    "John Tory leads among voter demographic groups that are most likely to turn out"

    "John Tory has the greatest room for growth"

    "Rob Ford has no room for growth"

    Ford is toast.

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  7. I still cannot give any credence to the 28% support that Ford is reportedly getting. Not even the comment pages of the Toronto Sun show that level of support, and that is as Ford-nation as one can get.

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    1. He's the only right-wing candidate in the race. Even some right-wingers who agree he's a freak will still vote for him.

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    2. Interestingly 24% of NDPers would vote for Rob Ford.

      Ford this unusual populist appeal. He can appeal to the hearts of at least 25% of Torontonians no matter what he does.

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  8. Chow only started slumping after Wynne's victory on jun.12. Likewise, Tory has seen his best numbers since then. Is this a reaction to Ontario having elected a left-leaning premier? A similar effect happens provincially-fenderally in Ontario...

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    1. I doubt it. In fact, I won't be surprised if it is the other way around. John Tory shares the Wynne government's vision on transit more than Olivia Chow (i.e. go on forward with the Scarborough subway expansion but focus on LRTs elsewhere).

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    2. Unknown,

      It is quite possible what you describe is how Upper Canadians achieve political balance. With Liberals at Queen's Park promising to spend oddles of money and Justin making a bid for 24 Sussex it would be quite predictable for the highly taxed Torontonian to find a modicum of relief through his or her choice of mayor and city council.

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    3. Addendum:

      Canadians in the past have often balanced provincial and federal governments. Atlantic Canada's voting record is similar to Ontario. When the Tories hold power in Ottawa provincial Liberals are in power. When Liberals hold power in Ottawa Atlantic Canada turns Tory blue provincially.

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  9. I think It is time for an ABF movement !!

    Anybody BUT Ford !!

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