Rob Ford has never been more unpopular, a poll suggests, and his brother is liked even less.
The mayor’s approval rating sank to a new low, 32 per cent, in a Forum Research poll conducted on Wednesday. That is down from 38 per cent in a Forum poll done on May 1, immediately after he announced he was taking a leave of absence to seek help for his problem with alcohol.
Prior to that poll, his approval rating had appeared impervious to scandal. He had confounded critics by managing to stay at 40 per cent or higher in all but one of the 39 surveys released by Forum since February 2012.
The Wednesday results were not all bad for Ford. They suggest he remains in third place in the mayoral election, weaker than when he launched his campaign but still within striking distance.
Olivia Chow had the support of 36 per cent of respondents, John Tory 27 per cent, Ford 24 per cent, and David Soknacki and Karen Stintz 3 per cent apiece.
Curiously, Ford’s 24 per cent support figure represents an increase of 2 percentage points over the May 1 poll. That is not statistically significant, since it is within the poll’s margin of error. It may suggest, though, that he has lost the approval of people who were not going to vote for him anyway.
The new poll comes amid uncertainty about Ford’s plans. He has not announced a date for his return to office or to the race, and Councillor Doug Ford, his campaign manager, has refused to rule out the possibility that he will take his brother’s place on the ballot.
Doug Ford did poorly in a five-candidate race tested by Forum for the first time: Chow had 37 per cent support, Tory 26 per cent, Doug Ford 20 per cent, Soknacki and Stintz 4 per cent apiece.
Doug Ford’s approval rating was a mere 30 per cent; 66 per cent disapproved of him. By contrast, 68 per cent approved of Tory, while 32 per cent disapproved; 59 per cent approved of Chow, 41 per cent disapproved; 50 per cent approved of Soknacki, 50 per cent disapproved; and 49 per cent approved of Stintz, 51 per cent disapproved.
Operatives for rival campaigns have long believed that even a scandal-weakened Rob Ford is a more formidable candidate than Doug Ford, who does not share the mayor’s history of constituency work or his everyman persona.
Rob Ford's approval rating sinks to new low