As Torontonians vote in advance polls, an opinion survey suggests former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat is failing to gain ground on frontrunner Mayor John Tory.
The Forum Research poll of 987 Torontonians conducted Oct. 3 to 5 gave Tory the support of more than half of respondents, 56 per cent, and Keesmaat less than one-third at 29 per cent.
Fifteen per cent of people expressed support for one of the 33 other mayoral candidates while the rest were undecided.
The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points 19 times out of 20.
A previous Forum interactive voice response telephone survey, conducted Sept. 29, gave Tory the same level of support and 28 per cent support for Keesmaat.
“Tory looks to have a double-digit lead, and, with only 2 weeks to go before election day, it’s a lead that may be very difficult to erase…,” Bozinoff said, adding that “at this point, a Keesmaat victory would almost certainly require a Tory collapse.”
Keesmaat, 48, made a surprise jump into the mayoral race July 27 as nominations were about to close, jolting a Tory re-election campaign that appeared set to cruise toward the election without a prominent challenger.
She has positioned herself as a progressive alternative to the conservative, suburban-minded mayor with platform planks that include replacing the elevated east Gardiner Expressway with a ground-level boulevard, and putting bike lanes on a stretch of north Yonge St. as part of a city staff-proposed street remake.
Keesmaat has also said she would fight Premier Doug Ford’s attempts to shape Toronto decisions while Tory has stressed his ability to get along with other governments.
Last week, when asked about her campaign’s apparent failure to steal support from Tory, Keesmaat said she remained “incredibly optimistic” that she would emerge the surprise victor in what she called a “David and Goliath” battle.
Election day is Oct. 22 but advance polls opened Wednesday, two in each of the 25 wards and another at city hall. The early voting runs until Sunday.
On Wednesday morning Tory escorted his mother Elizabeth Bacon to an advance poll at Timothy Eaton Memorial United Church on St. Clair Ave. W.
David Rider is the Star’s City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering Toronto politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider