Election Day: A Look Back with the TES

Election day is here! Though our final weekly campaign news update was on Friday, today we provide one last burst of news and a look back on the highs and lows of this eventful campaign, with an eye to what we can learn from it and what will need addressing once the campaign ends and political life in the city approaches normalcy once again. For anyone still looking to get informed before voting, nonpartisan crash courses in the candidates' platforms are available from Position Primer and Pollenize.

Polls and Voting

Now with the endorsement of the National Post (making a clean sweep of all four major dailies), as well as that of former Toronto mayor David Crombie, John Tory continues to ride high in the last polls to be released in the campaign.  Meanwhile, today's voter turnout rate is projected to be affected by immigrant and visible minority status; areas with a high proportion of immigrants and visible minorities appear to have appreciably lower turnout, which makes the news of campaign trail racism detailed below all the more disturbing. CBC's Vote Compass suggests, though, that Torontonians do support increasing the level of help new arrivals receive in adjusting to life in Canada's largest city; the Vote Compass responses also suggested Torontonians favour a handgun ban and an end to "carding." Finally, Forum has released some limited polling data for council candidates.

Cult of Personality

Personal politics played a central role in the campaign both for candidates and onlookers. Erstwhile Chow staffer Warren Kinsella, after causing a stir in late summer with comments about John Tory's transit plan, has announced he is taking legal action against Tory campaign aide Nick Kouvalis over comments the latter made on Twitter. Meanwhile, council candidate Russ Ford has faced some negative reactions to his surname, though he explains he is not related to Rob and Doug Ford.

Campaign Trail Bigotry

A campaign marred by sexism, racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia ended on a series of ugly, but familiar, notes; heckling, vandalism and abusive campaign literature directed at TDSB trustee candidate Ausma Malik and council candidate Mohammed Uddin were joined by yet more verbal abuse of Ward 2 candidate Munira Abukar. On the eve of the election, the Toronto Sun provoked surprise and controversy when it published an editorial cartoon that appears to caricature Olivia Chow, in Maoist garb, literally riding the coattails of her deceased husband, Jack Layton; Chow called the cartoon both racist and sexist.

The TES at Work

Throughout the campaign, Toronto Election Study researchers have been busily gathering survey information. Our researchers have been in the news commenting on voting disparities between property owners and tenants, the paradox of low satisfaction with council and a high incumbent re-election probability, and strategic voting. TES data have offered insight into the greater support for Ford-style policies than exists for Doug Ford, the high importance of council in a weak-mayor system coupled with the low level of information available on council races and the great advantage of incumbency, the nature of "Ford Nation" and the interchangeability of the Ford brothers, and the issues most important to Toronto voters.

Election Weekend Grab Bag

  • All three major candidates still in the race have now released campaign donation information.

  • The Toronto Election Study Social Media Coordinator's acknowledgements are due to our investigators, Drs. Michael McGregor, Aaron Moore and Laura Stephenson, and our intrepid research assistant, Félix Tremblay, without whose assistance and dedicated news mining these weekly updates would not have been possible.