TORONTO May 27 Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's
popularity has not been hit by allegations that he was caught
smoking crack-cocaine on video, claims he firmly denied, but he
is at risk of being ousted in a 2014 election, according to a
poll released over the weekend.
The poll, taken on Friday after Ford denied the drug-use
claims, found the mayor would still lose a one-on-one battle for
his job if pitted against Olivia Chow, a former city councillor
and current parliamentarian widely touted as a candidate.
Ford would get 36 percent of the vote, in line with a poll
conducted on May 10, before the drug use allegations surfaced,
according to the Forum Research Inc poll.
Chow, widow of late New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton,
would get 56 percent of the vote, down slightly from 57 percent
on May 10.
Reporters from the Toronto Star and Gawker Media said in
separate reports on May 16 that they had seen a video that
purports to show Ford smoking crack. The mayor firmly denied the
allegations on Friday, after initially dismissing them as
The controversy has made headlines across Canada and around
the world, and drawn ridicule from late-night TV humorists Jimmy
Kimmel, Jay Leno and Jon Stewart.
Speaking on his weekly radio show on Sunday, Ford brushed
off the scandal, calling the media a "bunch of maggots," and
promised to run in the next election.
"I'll be the first putting my name on that ballot," he said.
Chow, a member of parliament with the left-leaning New
Democrats, is rumored to be planning to leave federal politics
to run for mayor of Toronto in the 2014 election. Many pundits
consider her the candidate with the strongest chance to beat the
The mayor's popularity has been attributed to the support of
the so-called "Ford Nation," the suburban voters who pushed Ford
into the city's top office in 2010 and back his agenda of
cutting taxes and reducing city spending.
"Rob Ford is really both the Teflon and Kevlar Mayor -
nothing sticks to him and nothing penetrates his armor," Forum
Research founder Lorne Bozinoff said in a statement.
"His recent troubles have had absolutely no effect on his
The poll, which sampled about 1,400 Toronto residents, is
based on the results of an interactive voice response telephone
survey, and is considered accurate within three percentage
points, 19 times out of 20.
Forum Research warned the poll does not predict future
outcomes, but rather captures opinion at one point in time.
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; Mary Milliken and Sandra Maler)