Polls show tight races in Toronto municipal election

Many Toronto City Council incumbents appear to be on track for re-election on Oct. 24, suggesting open races — not upheavals — will be the source of new blood at City Hall, according to a poll. opinion made for the Star.

Forum Research conducted interactive voice-response telephone surveys of more than 200 residents in each of the 14 wards selected by the Star – the seven without incumbents and seven of the 18 races where councilors are seeking re-election in some of the most controversial races. .

Sample sizes of more than 200 people per neighborhood are smaller than citywide surveys. This increases the margin of error, meaning these numbers provide a rare, if incomplete, picture of the state of Toronto’s neighborhood races.

The results suggest that most incumbents had comfortable runs, although Coun. Mark Grimes faces a significant challenge from community organizer Amber Morley in Etobicoke-Lakeshore, just as he did in the 2018 election.

The poll also suggests nearby open races, particularly one in Willowdale.

The Star chose, based on research, which candidates to include in the poll, always including multiple prospects in each race.

The margins of error for the polls were either six points or seven points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. That means candidates with support levels in that range could be tied.

The research, says Forum President Lorne Bozinoff, « is not necessarily predictive of future outcomes, but rather captures opinion at a given time. »

Here are the results:

Ward 1 Etobicoke North

Former city councilor Vince Crisanti was chosen by 47% of the decided and « leaning » respondents to fill the seat vacated by Michael Ford, who is now a Progressive Conservative MP.

Avtar Minhas came second in the survey conducted on September 13, with 26% support, while other respondents split their support between other rivals or were undecided.

« Things are going well for Crisanti right now, » Bozinoff said. « With a near majority lead, the future of his campaign looks bright. A victory for Minhas would force him to almost double his support in the next five weeks.

Ward 3 Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Some 53% of respondents were decided or leaning towards Grimes, while Morley, who finished second to the veteran adviser in 2018, had 34%. The September 13 survey found that the support of the remaining respondents was split among other candidates.

Facing « less than 20% upside, Morley could still catch up, » Bozinoff said. « Based on how each candidate’s campaign unfolds in the remaining weeks, a victory for Grimes or Morley seems likely. »

Ward 4 Parkdale—High Park

Com. Gord Perks, a leader of the council’s progressive faction, had a good lead over his nearest rival with 52% decided or leaning. Former political staffer and journalist Siri Agrell trailed with 21%.

Fellow challengers Andrew Gorham and Chemi Lhamo had 10% and 6% support, respectively, according to the Sept. 13 survey, with the rest split among other or undecided candidates.

“Perks maintains a comfortable lead heading into Election Day,” Bozinoff said. « Depending on how the next few weeks unfold, he could possibly see a majority (margin) win. »

Ward 5 York—South Weston

Veteran adviser Frances Nunziata led with support from 52% of decided and leaning respondents, followed by human rights and housing advocate Chiara Padovani with 28% support. The rest was split between Gabriel Takang and undecided in the September 13 inquest.

“Polls show Nunziata holding a slight majority,” Bozinoff said. Unless something changes before Election Day, he said, she appears to have a strong chance of being re-elected.

Ward 7 Humber River—Black Creek

According to the survey, veteran councilor Anthony Perruzza had a wide lead over his closest rival Christopher Mammoliti, a school councilor and son of former councilman Giorgio Mammoliti.

Some 73% of decided or leaning voters chose Perruzza, with Mammoliti trailing at 16%. Support from other respondents to the September 13 survey was split between Amanda Coombs and undecided.

« Based on these results, it’s extremely likely that Perruzza will win again, » Bozinoff said. Perruzza’s momentum since the 2018 election, when he beat Giorgio Mammoliti, « seems to be strong ».

Ward 9 Davenport

Alejandra Bravo had a sizable lead, at 62% of decided and leading respondents, in this council-vacated ward. Ana Bailão, suggests the investigation.

Grant Gonzales, a co-chair of Pride Toronto backed by Mayor John Tory after the poll was conducted, trailed with 11% support. Support from other respondents was split between other candidates or undecided in the September 14 poll.

“At this rate, we will most likely see Bravo take the win,” Bozinoff said. « There would have to be a radical change in the next few weeks to see the opposite. »

Ward 10 Spadina—Fort York

Ausma Malik, a former school counselor and community organizer, had the support of 52% of decided or leaning respondents, followed by former broadcaster Karlene Nation with 13% support, according to the survey.

The remaining support in the Sept. 14 survey was split among other or undecided candidates.

“With a slight majority of support, it is very likely that Ausma Malik will take the win in October,” Bozinoff said.

Ward 11 University-Rosedale

Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s former environment commissioner, is leading a tight field of candidates keen to succeed the incumbent MP. Mike Layton, suggests the investigation.

Saxe got 38% support from decided and leaning respondents, followed by Robin Buxton Potts, a former aide to ex-adviser Kristyn Wong-Tam, with 26% support.

Other hopefuls following close behind include Axel Arvizu and school counselor Norm Di Pasquale, with remaining support in the Sept. 14 survey split between other candidates or undecided.

« Things could swing either way here over the next few weeks, » Bozinoff said.

Ward 13 Toronto Center

Chris Moise, a school counselor endorsed by former ward councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam, leads with 41% decided and leaning voters, compared to 26% for community activist Nicki Ward, according to the survey.

The « fair » advance gives Moise a good but far from certain chance of succeeding Wong-Tam, who is now an NDP MP, Bozinoff said. Moise is black and gay. If elected, Ward would become Toronto’s first trans councilor.

The rest of the support in the Sept. 14 survey is split between other candidates and undecided.

Ward 16 Don Valley East

Former councilor Jon Burnside led the race to replace the incumbent councillor. Denzil Minnan-Wong, with 38% decided or leaning support of respondents to the September 14 poll.

Behind Burnside, who was endorsed by Tory, was Stephen Ksiazek at 17%. The remaining support in the Sept. 14 survey was split among other or undecided candidates.

Bozinoff said Burnside, who lost in the 2018 election after one term, has a « good chance » of making a return to the board.

Ward 18 Willowdale

There is a very tight race to replace the outgoing councillor. John Filion, according to the poll, with three candidates garnering support within the margin of error.

In the poll, 32% of respondents supported Lily Cheng, founder of the Facebook group North York Moms, 31% supported Markus O’Brien Fehr, longtime Filion assistant, and 25% supported pharmacist and former Federal Conservative candidate Daniel Lee.

All you can say at this point, Bozinoff said, is that it’s a « close race. »

Ward 20 Scarborough South West

Com. Gary Crawford, Toronto’s budget chief, appears to have a solid lead over a group of challengers, according to the survey conducted on September 15.

The survey found that 39% of decided or leaning respondents were in favor of Crawford, followed by former councilor Lorenzo Berardinetti at 21%, school councilor Parthi Kandavel at 9% and the remaining support split between other candidates or undecided.

« While it’s not a huge lead, » Bozinoff says, Crawford has a good chance of being re-elected.

Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt

Nick Mantas, who won the ward in a January 2021 by-election, appears to be in good shape to beat challengers, including one with the same last name, according to the survey.

Mantas led decided and leaning respondents with 43% decided and leaning support, followed by Serge Khatchadourian at 23%. Other respondents to the September 15 survey chose rivals, including Antonios Mantas, or were undecided.

« Khatchadourian isn’t too far behind, » Nick Mantas said, Bozinoff said, but the incumbent looks set to be re-elected.

Ward 23 Scarborough North

Com. Cynthia Lai has a wide lead over her challengers with the support of 52% of decisive and leaning respondents in the September 15 poll.

Lai’s closest rival, Virginia Jones, had 25% support, followed by Jamaal Myers at 17%, with the remaining respondents backing another candidate or undecided.

« At this rate, we can expect Cynthia Lai to take the win, » Bozinoff said.

David Rider is Star’s City Hall Bureau Chief and a reporter covering City Hall and municipal politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider


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