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Toronto mayoral candidate John Tory takes part in a debate organized by FilmOntario on Sept. 3, 2014.

FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

John Tory appears to be solidifying his front-runner status in the race to be Toronto's mayor, with a new poll showing Doug Ford's recent rise fading and Olivia Chow still mired in third place.

Mr. Tory's support rose five percentage points in the latest Mainstreet Technologies poll, released Monday, getting the nod from 42 per cent of respondents considered likely to vote. Mr. Ford attracted the support of 28 per cent support of respondents, down two percentage points from the previous Mainstreet poll, released Sept. 29; Ms. Chow also dropped two points, to 19 per cent.

Eleven per cent of those polled said they were undecided.

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Eliminating undecided voters pushes Mr. Tory's support to 47 per cent, Mr. Ford's to 31 per cent, and Ms. Chow's to 22 per cent.

There is an even wider spread in Mr. Tory's favour among respondents who described themselves as certain to cast a ballot: he has 45 per cent, Mr. Ford has 26 per cent, and Ms. Chow has 20 per cent.

"It looks like Doug Ford may have hit his ceiling. He will have to find ways to reach outside his base and grow support," said Quito Maggi, the president of the polling firm, in a statement. "Olivia Chow had a good week with her platform release and some hard hitting criticism of her opponents, but for her it may be too little, too late."

The poll also highlights how important voter turnout may be on election day: 25 per cent of those who said they were "unlikely" to actually vote said that Mr. Ford is their candidate of choice, while 22 per cent said they supported Ms. Chow. Only 5 per cent of "unlikely" voters named Mr. Tory as their choice.

A spike in voter turnout in 2010 helped propel Rob Ford into office, as 53.2 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots, up from 39 per cent in 2006 and 38 per cent in 2003.

Mr. Tory's support is uniform across all demographics of likely voters identified by Mainstreet Technologies: He has 32 per cent of 18- to 34-year-old residents (Ms. Chow has 31 per cent; Mr. Ford, 26 per cent); 48 per cent of 35- to 49-year-olds (Mr. Ford has 26 per cent; Ms. Chow has 16 per cent); 41 per cent of 50- to 64-year-olds (Mr. Ford has 30 per cent; Ms. Chow has 17 per cent), and 46 per cent of residents 65 years-old and up (Mr. Ford has 28 per cent; Ms. Chow has only 11 per cent).

Mr. Ford is the only candidate whose support is stronger among women than men: 29 per cent of women and 27 per cent of men said they were likely to vote for the late entrant into the mayor's race.

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Mr. Tory attracted the support of 43 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women. Ms. Chow is supported by 20 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women.

The poll consisted of two questions:

  • 1) How likely are you to vote in Toronto’s municipal election? (Answers: Certain, Likely, Might, Unlikely, Not Eligible.)
  • 2) Thinking about the race for Mayor, if an election were held today, for whom would you cast your vote? (Answers: Olivia Chow, Doug Ford, John Tory, Undecided. The order of named candidates was randomized.)

Respondents were also asked to provide demographic information.

Mainstreet Technologies says the automated telephone poll of 2,379 Toronto-area residents taken on Oct. 5 has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.01 per cent.

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