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Rob Ford takes lead in Scarborough, but trails rivals in rest of Toronto: poll

Toronto mayor Rob Ford is greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic fans at "FordFest" held in Thomson Memorial park in Scarborough, July 25, 2014.


A new poll shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford trailing behind rivals Olivia Chow and John Tory in all areas of the city except for Scarborough, where the mayor comes out on top in the race for the position of chief magistrate.

The Maple Leaf Strategies poll shows the mayor taking the lead in Scarborough, with 35 per cent of the vote in that neighbourhood, while John Tory would get 22 per cent and Olivia Chow 20 per cent.

But overall, the poll suggests the mayor is losing his suburban support system, with Mr. Tory coming out on top in North York and the mayor's home turf in Etobicoke. Meanwhile, the mayor is trailing downtown with just 12 per cent of the vote, the poll shows, with Mr. Tory sits neck-and-neck with Ms. Chow with 36 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively.

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"[The mayor] doesn't look much better outside of downtown, with the exception of Scarborough, than he looks downtown ," said Dimitri Pantazopoulos, principal researcher with Maple Leaf, who conducted the poll.

"The challenge that he faces is that a lot of the sentiment towards him and opinions of him are already formed. It's hard to change that opinion once it's already formed."

Mayor Ford was elected as mayor in 2010 in large part thanks to a surge of support from suburban voters. He focuses much of his campaigning on the city's outer neighbourhoods and has paid particular attention to Scarborough in recent months. He held the first of two planned public barbecues — dubbed Ford Fest — in a Scarborough park, drawing a crowd of hundreds of residents who lined up to get free food and shake hands with the mayor.

During a July mayoral debate hosted in Scarborough, the mayor drew the loudest response from the crowd, although it was a mix of cheers and jeers.

Across the city, the polling data suggest Mayor Ford is sitting in third place — as did a poll commissioned by Mr. Tory's campaign in June — with 23 per cent of the vote. The poll positioned Mr. Tory on top with 30 per cent of the vote and Ms. Chow close behind with 26 per cent. Mayoral candidates Karen Stintz and David Soknacki each garnered 3 per cent of the votes across the city, according to the poll.

Mr. Pantazopoulos conducted a live telephone poll to collect the data, surveying 800 Toronto residents from July 28 to 30. The overall margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20, although the margin of error increases when broken down by neighbourhood. By neighbourhood, the margin of error is 7.4 per cent for Scarborough, 7.1 per cent for North York, 6.2 per cent for Toronto-East York and 7 per cent for Etobicoke.

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