A new poll released this morning by Mainstreet Research finds Toronto Mayor John Tory is enjoying his highest approval numbers since Mainstreet began polling in December 2014. According to the poll,
The question remains: when and on what will Tory spend his political capital?
The Mainstreet poll asks simply, “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job John Tory is doing as mayor.” This provides a polarized response with no middle ground. It would be more interesting to have a more graduated scale with: strongly disapprove, Somewhat disapprove, unknown/no opinion, somewhat approve, strongly approve. As is, I suspect respondents with no strong opinions are likely to answer the question based on whether they can think of anything they disapprove of. If they can’t think of anything, they are likely to choose “approve” on a binary scale.
It’s always better to be higher than lower, but a more graduated poll would be more helpful in understanding how and why Tory’s popularity is rising. If it’s because people are genuinely thrilled with what he’s doing, that is great news for the mayor. If it’s because he hasn’t done anything they hate, Tory’s approval could prove a very fickle indicator. Many Toronto residents simply can’t identify anything he’s accomplished so far, so there’s less to hate. Their “approval by default” may not translate into allegiance at the polls.
Still, high approval numbers give the mayor significant political capital. The question remains: when and on what will he finally spend it?