Election-day results in the 2010 Toronto election – Part 2

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  • February 05, 2011

Examining the election-day vote in each of the 1,110 voting subdivisions (VSDs) provides a more fine-grained perspective. While each ward contains an average of 59,000 people, about 2,300 people live in each VSD. Each VSD contains at least one polling station where area residents cast their votes. While one might expect data at this level of detail to reveal pockets of Smitherman support in “Ford Country” and vice versa, there are few deviations from the ward-level picture.

As Figure 3 shows, Smitherman carried almost all of the former City of Toronto and parts of East York plus some contiguous areas, while Ford dominated the Metro suburbs — the former Etobicoke, York, North York, and Scarborough. The only significant exceptions to Ford’s success in suburban areas were pockets of Smitherman support around York University, the old North York downtown on Yonge between Sheppard and Finch, and the Sheppard subway corridor. Pantalone carried only one voting subdivision in the entire city, located his former base of Ward 19, and only barely — Pantalone received 40% of the vote to Smitherman’s 39%. It was mostly, but not always, a two-way race. Pantalone came second to Ford in 17 mostly suburban VSDs and second to Smitherman in 50 VSDs mostly centred on his home ward. (See Figure 4.)

Figure 3: Winner of the mayoral vote, by VSD and former Metro municipality

2010_vsds-won_print

Figure 4: Pantalone in second place, by VSD

2010_Pant_2nd_place_print

Another way to think about the spatial division of the vote is to look at Ford support in VSDs carried by Smitherman and vice versa. Table 2 suggests that where Ford won, he won big — 79% of votes he received were in VSDs that he carried. Smitherman’s vote was more diffuse. Half of his votes were in VSDs he did not win. This amplifies the earlier finding that 54% of Smitherman’s support came from outside of the City of Toronto.

Table 2: Support for major candidates in VSDs carried by other major candidates

Votes for Ford in VSDs won by…

Votes

%

Smitherman and Pantalone

73,273

21%

Ford

272,941

79%

Total

346,214

100%

Votes for Smitherman in VSDs won by…

Votes

%

Ford

130,810

50%

Smitherman and Pantalone

133,172

50%

Total

263,982

100%

Conclusions

  • Given the apparent base of his appeal, Ford beat Smitherman because there are more votes to be had in the suburbs than there are in the former City of Toronto. About 71% of citizens over the age of 18 reside outside the City of Toronto, and they cast over two-thirds of all votes. The implication: no citywide election can be won with only core-area support.
  • Ford was not shut out of downtown and Smitherman was not shut out of the suburbs — both had significant support in both the core and suburbs. While George Smitherman’s support was strongest in the former City of Toronto and Rob Ford’s was strongest in the suburbs, they both had substantial support in each other’s ostensible bases. Ford received 29% of the vote in the former City of Toronto, while Smitherman performed similarly well in the suburbs. Indeed, more than half of Smitherman’s support — over 140,000 votes — came from outside the former City of Toronto. Ford received about the same number of votes in the former City of Toronto as he did in Etobicoke: 68,000.

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