How Is Rob Ford Still So (Relatively) Popular?
It looks like reality has finally caught up with Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Ford’s popularity initially saw a bump two weeks ago, after police confirmed an investigation into the mayor’s alleged crack cocaine use. But since then, Ford confirmed both that he had smoked crack “in a druken stupor, that he had lied about it, and that video existed of it; and the hits and scandals have continued. Now, the latest polls show that 62% of Torontonians would not vote for Ford in next year’s election “under any circumstance”- and yet, 47% say Ford “is doing things at City Hall that [they] want him to keep doing.”
Which means roughly 15% of voters who want Ford gone still don’t mind what he’s doing. And in four potential mayoral races proposed by the same survey, Ford commanded 20-33% of the vote in each.
How could that be? Perhaps these residents still believe in Ford’s politics and even his behavior, but just think it has become too distracting and impeding to actual governing.
It’s not absurd to think that cocaine usage, along with allegations of prostitutes and blunt statements about oral sex, could actual bolster Ford’s image. As DrJay’s noted when the crack allegations first surfaced back in May, Ford’s popularity was actually largely a result of his blue-collar image (despite the fact that he comes from a wealthy Toronto family) and wild ways. Especially in comparison to his political rivals, Ford was seen as a voice for suburban Torontonians who felt ignored and overtaxed by inner city liberals, and many (including recent immigrant populations) who sympathized with Ford’s social conservatism.
He furthered his everyman appeal by answering complaints to City Hall personally, and refusing a chauffeur (even when he got caught reading and driving). The so-called Ford Nation of supporters has stuck by him even through the recent turmoil, including turning out in droves to buy bobbleheads of the embattled mayork.
Simply put, some Torontonians still think Rob Ford is more like them than other politicians; that he’s more honest; and that those politicians will spend more tax dollars.
[image via National Post/Michelle Siu]