Among decided voters, Tory leads with 39.1 per cent, followed by Olivia Chow with 32.7 per cent and Rob Ford 21.7 per cent. None of the other major candidates received more than 5 per cent support.
The random telephone survey of 600 Torontonians was conducted between July 2 and July 5 by Nanos Research. The margin of error for a random survey of this size is plus or minus 4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
“It’s a two-horse race,” said Nik Nanos, chairman of Nanos Research Group.
“Tory does well among men. Chow among women. We are still far from an election but the other clear finding is that there seems to be little growth potential for Ford at this juncture of the campaign.”
The pollster asked residents: “If the election for mayor of Toronto were held today, please tell me your first choice and your second choice from the following list of candidates. The list included the three frontrunners in addition to Karen Stintz (4 per cent), Sarah Thomson (2 per cent) and David Soknacki (1 per cent).
Nick Kouvalis, lead strategist on Tory’s campaign after helping Ford win in 2010, said the new numbers show Ford is not a factor in the race since his return last week from rehab where he was treated for drug and alcohol abuse.
“Ford’s done. It’s Chow versus Tory,” Kouvalis said.
The Chow campaign does not comment on polls, a spokesman said Monday.
However, political strategist, Warren Kinsella, who is a volunteer with the Chow campaign, tweeted that a lobbyist for the group that paid for the poll is a former adviser to Tory. The survey was paid for by the Ontario Convenience Store Association.
Nanos said the lobbyist has nothing to do with the reliability of the survey.
“I personally wrote the questions and oversaw the project,” Nanos wrote in email when asked about Kinsella’s tweet.
Councillor Doug Ford, who is the mayor’s campaign manager, said the election is going to be “about the John Tory establishment versus the common folk that Rob represents for the last four years.” Ford was talking to reporters at city hall before the poll results were released.
Nanos said to his knowledge, this is the first publicly released survey conducted using proper random sampling of land and cell lines with live human beings validating identity. “These types of survey have the best and most consistent track record in terms of capturing voter opinion,’ he wrote.
The pollster included the caveat that the results cannot be projected to a future vote.
The election related questions were asked at the outset of the survey followed by proprietary questions related to convenience stores.
John Tory has the lead in new Toronto mayoral poll | Toronto Star