Rob Ford's support base appears to have lined up dutifully behind his brother, according to a new poll that shows John Tory retaining his healthy lead.
The new Toronto mayoral numbers, with polling done by Ipsos Reid for Global News, put Mr. Tory at 43 per cent. Olivia Chow had the support of 29 per cent and Mr. Ford was statistically tied with her at 28 per cent.
The online poll was done between Friday – the day Rob Ford dropped out for medical reasons and Doug Ford entered the mayoral race with minutes to spare – and Tuesday. The brothers' switch had many commentators crying foul, but much of the public appears to have taken it in stride. The poll found that 53 per cent thought the move was appropriate.
Darrell Bricker, a spokesman for Ipsos Reid, said the Fords appear to be "interchangeable" to a substantial swath of the public. "The people who are voting for them get it that they have a political agenda that's consistent and they're prepared to buy into it, regardless who the champion is," he said by phone Tuesday.
The poll is the latest of a long string showing Mr. Tory in the lead. But Mr. Bricker cautioned against thinking that the tumultuous race is over.
"Who knows what we're going to hear tomorrow, I mean, it could be anything," he said.
"As I like to remind people, you know, a federal election campaign takes 32 days. They've got more than that ahead of them here. So you never know what's going to happen. I don't think this one is over but it looks like, you know, post Labour Day and post the events that we've seen recently, that things have kind of settled into a similar pattern. John Tory's got a fairly substantial double-digit lead and Olivia Chow seems to be stalled and Rob Ford or Doug Ford, the Ford concept, or Ford whatever you want to call it, seems to have its core of support that's holding on."
Ipsos polled 586 Torontonians. The results are considered accurate to within 4.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.