Weekly Campaign Update, 24 October 2014: Concluding the Campaign

With only a few days remaining before Monday's vote, John Tory is maintaining his long-standing lead in the polls (though not in Twitter mentions), while Doug Ford claims his internal polling shows Ford and Tory in a dead heat and believes that he will win, "embarrass[ing] the pollsters." Talk of strategic voting, including impassioned pleas to avoid it, has become more prominent, while the ugly side of the campaign has never really gone away. At City Hall, meanwhile, security has been intensified following the shootings in Ottawa on Wednesday.


John Lorinc has argued in Spacing that in the end, the campaign was defined by a John Tory transit plan that in effect promised little more than the province had already planned to deliver, so that the transit debate was dominated by funding and construction details and not a discussion of whether a regional transit plan addresses Toronto's priorities. Meanwhile, even approved light rail transit plans may be torpedoed if the new council is sufficiently hostile to them.

Sexism and Racism

Doug Ford shocked journalists when he was overheard referring to Toronto Star reporter Jennifer Pagliaro as a "little bitch," and would later claim that he was not referring to her. He did not, however, deny that he had made the comment, or specify whom he was talking about. Ward 18 candidate Mohammed Uddin reported on Twitter that some of his signs had been vandalised with xenophobic and offensive graffiti; Ward 10 TDSB trustee candidate Ausma Malik has been the target of multiple xenophobic flyers.

Strategic Voting

While the Star's Haroon Siddiqui suggests some of the possible flow of support from Olivia Chow to John Tory has happened because she did not live up to expectations, the subject of preferential voting has gained more attention as many observers suggest that John Tory is leading because he is the strategic choice to defeat the Fords, a situation that disturbs some candidates and onlookers. While questioning the practice of strategic voting, or outright denouncing it, is fairly common, John Lorinc offers a defence of the practice. Others suggest that progressives who intend to vote for Tory are doing so sincerely. The Star's Royson James argues that the election is, in the end, a referendum on the Fords, and that there is only one viable choice for Ford opponents.

TES in the News

The Toronto Election Study's finding that incumbent councillors are overwhelmingly likely to be re-elected is in stark contrast to the additional findings of low overall confidence in council's performance; TES investigator Aaron Moore discusses this with Jessica Smith Cross in Metro. TES principal investigator Michael McGregor, along with Zachary Spicer of Wilfrid Laurier University and LISPOP, discusses the dramatic turnout disparity between homeowners and tenants in the National Post, and its effects on the political agenda at the municipal level. Don't miss TES investigator Laura Stephenson discussing strategic voting in the Globe and Mail last week.

Campaign Grab Bag