Torontonians agree with the majority of municipal councillors that Rob Ford needs to go.
A new survey by Ipsos-Reid for CTV, CP24, and Newstalk 1010 shows that more than two-thirds of city residents view his plan to stay in office and run for re-election in October 2014 as unacceptable.
Three-quarter feel the mayor should step down either temporarily or permanently.
The poll, conducted between Nov. 8-12, suggests Ford's approval rating has dipped slightly since last year, when Ipsos-Reid was last polling at the municipal level. A poll in June 2012 pegged his approval rating at 49 per cent, compared to 40 per cent in the latest survey.
Considering the turmoil of the last few months, and particularly the last few weeks, it might be surprising Ford’s approval rating has decreased by only nine points. But that masks the intensity of his disapproval ratings. Last year, 29 per cent said they strongly disapproved of his performance as mayor. Now, that proportion has increased to 43 per cent.
"Ford Nation" also appears to be turning against the mayor, with a majority of residents in each of the boroughs saying they disapprove of his performance. Ford did best in Scarborough with 49 per cent, but had an approval rating of just 29 per cent within the boundaries of the old city of Toronto.
Nevertheless, despite two-in-five Torontonians still saying they approve of the mayor's performance, the majority believe he should not stay in the job.
Fully 70 per cent said it was not really or not at all acceptable for Ford to stay in office and run for re-election next year, including 49 per cent who said it was not at all acceptable. Nowhere in the city, even in the suburbs that have supported Ford in the past, did more than 38 per cent of people think it was very or somewhat acceptable for him to stay in office.
When given the option, 41 per cent said that Ford should resign, get help, and never return to politics. Another 35 per cent said he should step down, get help, and return only when he is better. Just 24 per cent of Torontonians told Ipsos-Reid they thought he should stay in office, as long as his ugly behaviour doesn't continue. Nowhere did this proportion number more than 29 per cent - even in Scarborough and North York more than two-thirds said he should step down.
But a good number of Torontonians (46 per cent) want the media to give Ford some space and time in order to prove whether he has changed, and 65 per cent — including a majority of residents of old Toronto — do not want the province to intervene by giving council the means to remove Ford itself.
The poll also shows that Ford is in no position to win re-election. Whether it be against Karen Stintz, John Tory, Olivia Chow, or any combination of these potential and declared candidates, Ford comes up short.
The survey shows that even against the relatively low-profile Stintz, who has declared her intentions to run next year, Ford does no better than 33 per cent support.
Against Stintz, Tory, and Chow, Ford would take just 20 per cent of the vote and place third.
But the scene in city council Wednesday makes it clear that Ford will not be leaving office of his own accord
A strong majority of Torontonians appear to want the mayor to step down and at the very least seek help before returning to office. The longer he stubbornly refuses to heed calls for his departure, even just temporarily, the worse his numbers are likely to get.
And that makes it all the more likely that it will be voters who will finally force him out of City Hall.
Éric Grenier taps The Pulse of federal and regional politics for Huffington Post Canada readers every week. Grenier is the author of ThreeHundredEight.com, covering Canadian politics, polls and electoral projections.
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