|Oct. 13, 2003|
Poll shows her lead shrinking in mayoral battle
Miller, Tory say they're happy to be in the thick of it
CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
Front-runner Barbara Hall is not worried about the latest Toronto Star poll that shows her lead is shrinking in the race to be Toronto's next mayor. "We always believed that this was going to be a tough, tight race," said Hall, who spent Saturday morning greeting shoppers at the St. Lawrence Market. "We always knew that it was going to be hard, hard work, right to 8 p.m. on Nov. 10." An EKOS Research Associates poll of 600 eligible voters in Toronto was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday. It found that among decided voters Hall has 34 per cent support, followed by David Miller at 27 per cent and John Tory at 21 per cent. John Nunziata had 12 per cent followed by Tom Jakobek at 5 per cent. However, one in two people surveyed are undecided about the Nov. 10 municipal election. Earlier polls had given Hall, who has the highest name recognition because of her 1994-97 term as mayor of pre-amalgamation Toronto, a huge advantage. One conducted in August by another firm gave Hall support of 44 per cent of decided voters, followed by Nunziata, Tory and Miller in a statistical dead heat in the mid-teens. The data was weighted to ensure the sample's regional, gender and age composition reflects the city's population, based on 2001 census data. It is considered accurate to within four percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Because the number of decided voters is smaller, the margin of error then rises to plus or minus 6.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Miller, the city councillor who placed second in the weekend poll, said he believes the results reflect a momentum that is building in his campaign. "Obviously, I'm happy. It confirms the feeling I've been getting at receptions, when I canvass and the phone calls we've been getting at the campaign office," he said after visiting the Etobicoke farmers' market. Tory, a former Rogers Cable executive, said he was happy with the results. "I'm just delighted that after eight months, there's a race on, and I'm pleased to be in the thick of it," said Tory, who delivered breakfasts Saturday with Salvation Army volunteers. "In the next few weeks, I intend to push to the top." Nunziata, a former Liberal MP, discounted his fourth-place finish in the poll, noting the high number of undecided voters. He said it's a real horse race, not a three-way race. "The poll that's going to matter is the one on election day," he said, after mainstreeting on the Danforth in Greektown. "I've always believed that once people start focusing, it would be a real horse race. "People should hang on to their hats, and remember Seabiscuit," Nunziata said, a reference to the much-discounted horse that became a champion many times over. While Hall has enjoyed a comfortable lead throughout much of the campaign, which began in January, Miller said, "I was frankly surprised that it (yesterday's poll) would show her that far ahead." Tom Jakobek dismissed the poll results that put him in last place. "I wouldn't pay any attention to a Toronto Star poll," he said.