It’s all but certain that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is going to spend the next three years tripping over landmines laid down by his own hyperbole, clumsiness and lack of forethought. His Worship has done rather a lot to erode the goodwill of his supporters and, according to the Toronto Star, is now alienating the swing voters [1,2] on City Council.
I understand the Star‘s distaste for the current mayor; following his first term as mayor of the amalgamated city, I had an overwhelmingly negative view of Mel Lastman (and what I judged to be his appalling lack of vision and competence). In the 2000 municipal election, I voted for one of Mel’s opponents; the tranny rather than the troubled hippie, mainly because I judged the hippie to be an unserious fringe candidate—and if one is going to vote for an unserious fringe candidate, that person should at least be entertaining.
As I said, I understand there will be opposition; what is less easy to understand is the Star‘s analysis. Writing for Openfile.ca, John Michael McGrath looks at the newspaper’s methodology and finds it wanting:
If we go to the Ford Council Scorecard (an always-useful resource for council-watchers), we see just how broad a group these [eight swing-vote] councillors are. Moeser has voted with Rob Ford more than 80 per cent of the time, while Bailão (Ward 18, Davenport) has voted with the mayor only 30 per cent of the time. That’s a huge range, which makes the idea of a “swing” bloc questionable.
— McGrath, John Michael. “Ford losing the swing votes on council, but what’s a swing vote anyway?” Openfile.ca, 21 December 2011.
McGrath posits that the swing councillors are more properly those whose votes accord with the mayor around 40-60% of the time, rather than the 30-80% range the Star uses. In which case there are just three swing voters—not the Star’s eight—on a council of forty-four.
It’s a short piece, but well worth the read.