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Three reasons John Tory is running away with the Toronto mayoral race

Less than eight weeks remain before Toronto decides: four more years of Ford or something different? At this stage the numbers and the momentum favour John Tory, the blueblood fixture of business and politics whose last run for the mayoral chair went to defeat against David Miller.

The newest opinion poll in the contest, conducted by Nanos Research for The Globe and Mail and CTV News, puts Mr. Tory well out in front when gauged by support among all decided voters.

Here are three reasons why Mr. Tory has emerged as the front-runner for the Oct. 27 vote – and one reason you can’t write off Rob Ford.

Candidate with the best vision for urban transit in Toronto

It’s about transportation, dummy

Mr. Tory is focused heavily on transportation, transit and gridlock issues. And it so happens that the public is, too. The Nanos poll finds that Torontonians are obsessively interested in transportation, transit and gridlock, with fully half of those surveyed rating it the top issue – squeezing the usual interest in taxation and economic development. The message for candidates: whoever owns the transportation issue will be very difficult to beat.

Thinking of the major candidates for mayor, who would you describe as most trustworthy? Most competent?

Ford dogged by questions on trust, competence

The self-proclaimed Subway Mayor has had much to say about transportation too, including an ambitious plan revealed on Wednesday. But his escapades appear to have cost him a big slice of the coalition that brought him to power. Comparing the poll data on Mr. Ford’s broad support versus specific questions on trustworthiness and competence, the only conclusion is that even among his supporters, there are those who don’t think him the most honest or competent candidate.

Who would you describe as the candidate most likely to control spending at City Hall?

Olivia Chow’s tax-and-spend image

With a professional campaign, deep roots in City Hall and two strong centre-right candidates, the left-leaning Ms. Chow should be enjoying the benefits of a split. So why is she in a fight with Mr. Ford for second place? Look at how her support drops when the question turns on controlling spending at city hall.

Choice for mayor by region

Why you can’t write off Rob Ford

One question to be answered on Oct. 27 is whether voters will turn out in the east and west of the city, where Rob Ford still polls well. He’s still No. 1 in his home region of Etobicoke. And in Scarborough, to the east, Ford moves into first place on the question of “transit vision” (presumably because he championed a subway connection over the light rail connection favoured by planners and city councillors) and “most likely to keep campaign promises.”

Who would make the best Mayor?

John Tory
Most Trust Worthy
  • Olivia Chow29%
  • Rob Ford19%
  • John Tory42%
  • Unsure10%

The Nanos Research poll of 1,000 Torontonians was conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV News between Aug. 27 and 31. It sampled residents who said they were “very likely” to cast a ballot in the October election. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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