The 2010 Toronto election – the ‘anyone-but-Ford’ factor

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  • February 20, 2011

An “anybody-but-Ford” narrative emerged in the final month of the campaign, brought into focus by Sarah Thompson’s withdrawal and endorsement of Smitherman on September 28, and the folding of Rocco Rossi’s campaign on October 13. Joe Pantalone, of course, chose to stay in the race despite low polling numbers. To what extent did Pantalone split the anti-Ford vote?

Table 3 shows that if support for Smitherman and Pantalone were combined — that is, in the unlikely event that Pantalone had dropped out and all of his support had moved over to Smitherman (or vice versa) — he would have won the election by about 1,813 votes, or about 0.2% of votes cast.

Table 3: Combined support for Smitherman and Pantalone

 

Advance Votes*

Election Day

All Votes

Candidate

Votes

%

Votes

%

Votes

%

Ford

37,285

48.9%

346,216

46.9%

383,501

47.1%

Smitherman

25,850

33.9%

263,982

35.8%

289,832

35.6%

Pantalone

8,046

10.5%

87,436

11.9%

95,482

11.7%

Other

5,065

6.6%

40,104

5.4%

45,169

5.5%

Total

76,246

100.0%

737,738

100.0%

813,984

100.0%

Smitherman + Pantalone

33,896

44.5%

351,418

47.6%

385,314

47.3%

* Advance voting took place on October 5–17. Election day was October 25.

Ford’s support was higher in the advance vote than on election day, perhaps reflecting Rossi’s continuing presence in the race. It may also indicate a shift in momentum in the final days of the campaign, as the “anyone-but-Ford” narrative took shape. Figure 11 shows the spatial distribution of combined Smitherman and Pantalone support on election day. Almost all of the 47 VSDs that would have flipped away from Ford on election day are contiguous to VSDs Smitherman won, suggesting that Smitherman and Pantalone appealed to similar groups of voters.

Figure 11: Voting subdivisions where Smitherman + Pantalone > Ford

2010_vsds-left-won_print

VSDs

Actual

If votes for Smitherman and
Pantalone were combined

 
Ford won

742

697

Smitherman won

362

366

Pantalone won

1

Ford + Smitherman tie

2

0

Smitherman + Pantalone would have won

413

(a gain of 47)

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