I just don't get Olivia Chow’s appeal to Toronto’s voters. An opinion poll done by Forum Research in late February showed Ms. Chow—who had not yet officially entered the race—tied at 31 per cent with Mayor Rob Ford and 4 points ahead of John Tory.
The Toronto Star reports even more encouraging news for the former New Democrat MP. It reports that, in a poll conducted the day of her official campaign launch event, Ms. Chow had the support of 36 per cent of respondents, while incumbent Rob Ford had 28 per cent and John Tory was third with 22 per cent.
Those three frontrunners hold wide enough leads over Karen Stintz at 5 per cent and David Soknacki at 2 per cent that we may as well count them out right from the start.
Both Ms. Chow and Mayor Ford seem to have core support in the 30-35 per cent range, but Ford’s support seems to have little up-side—he has exceeded 31 per cent support only once since admitting to smoking crack cocaine. Olivia Chow, on the other hand, has led in most polls over the past several months with support hovering in the mid-30s.
Ms. Chow’s support seems centred in the downtown neighbourhoods of Toronto that traditionally vote for the NDP. I doubt she’ll show nearly as well, though, in the suburbs where many middle-class voters will be much harder to convince to vote for her as mayor, seeing her, as they do, as a potential return to the city’s free-spending days under fellow Dipper and former mayor David Miller.
Personally, I believe Olivia Chow is out of touch with voters in the suburbs. I see her as cast in the same mould as Barbara Hall, except Chow’s, proven to be more hyper-partisan, who will see her election as a victory for public service labour unions and an opportunity for more social engineering and giveaways.