Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was caught smoking crack in August–and police forensics say they have video evidence of this–but somehow his approval rating has only gone up.
Today’s poll shows that 44 percent of voters approve of Rob Ford’s performance as mayor, while an October 28 poll showed a 39 percent approval rating.
“It could be a sampling, margin-of-error thing, or it could be just some sympathy,” says President of Forum Research, Lorne Bozinoff. “If you saw him during that media scrum yesterday, it might have generated some sympathy.” The poll results are considered accurate plus or minus three points.
60 percent of voters say that Ford should resign due to the scandal, while 36 percent say he should not.
Ford is not popular in the Toronto city proper, and never has been, but he has a stronghold in the surrounding cities. His core group of supporters are sometimes known as the Ford Nation and are characterized as suburbanite car-driving folks.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair confirmed the existence of the long-fabled video in which Ford appears smoking from a crack pipe and making racist and homophobic comments.
Rob Ford’s lawyer maintains that his client was smoking marijuana or tobacco in the small glass pipe, not crack cocaine.
Ford’s friend and former driver, Alexander Lisi, is alleged to be his former drug dealer and has been taken into custody. Lisi is facing extortion charges related to the video, as well as for possessing and trafficking marijuana. An extensive surveillance operation revealed that Ford and Lisi had over 100 meetings where they would often exchange a small parcel.
Ford has denied ever smoking crack in his life, but has said of smoking marijuana: “I won’t deny that, I smoked a lot of it.”
Mayor Ford is also coming under attack for going on a drunken rampage on St. Patrick’s Day in March 2012. City Hall security corroborated reports that Ford had difficulty walking, was slurring his words, and looked disheveled.
As part of his night of partying, he poured vodka shots for City hall employees; he climbed onto the Cut the Waist scale outside his office (the keystone of his highly publicized public weight-loss challenge) and began to undress himself; he threw his cell phone at the wall, breaking it, and began to cry; and he “flailed around” on the dance floor of a Toronto bar, the Bier Markt, before his staff pulled him off. To top off this evening, sources say he made racial insults to his taxi driver and threw business cards at him.
Despite his erratic behavior, a source indicates that Ford remained “quite pleasant” to corporate security that night.
Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan said of Ford: “He’s never had a grip on reality. The people that were seduced into believing that this populist had some sort of intelligence behind the drama failed to understand what the drama was. The drama was a profoundly dysfunctional person who kept failing upward. It’s sad that it’s come to this. It has hurt the city.”
Rob Ford remains steadfast in his refusal to resign and has not faced any charges related to smoking crack so far.
By K. Elsner