Wow, so you want to vote for Chow.

MP Olivia Chow’s campaign for the Toronto mayoralty might be peaking too soon. Any political apparatchik can tell you that the time for a campaign to peak is when people are heading for the polls—not more than a year ahead. The municipal election rules say nobody can campaign for election to city council before registering as a candidate. And you cannot register until January, 2014. These rules do not seem to apply to the Toronto news media.

The Toronto Star editors think the newspaper has already elected Olivia Chow to replace Rob Ford as Toronto mayor. Luckily, Toronto citizens will still get their say in this matter. They can do much better than Olivia Chow. She would be likely to get a nice sympathy vote as the widow of Jack Layton but that can never replace leadership or a realistic program. Anyone who has followed Olivia’s less than sterling political career would wonder why she would run for anything.

Before you point to the meaningless polls that show she would be preferred over Mayor Ford, surely you realize that your cat would get more votes than Ford at this point in his career. Rob Ford is at a low point at this time. Whether he will still be suffused in claims and counter claims at this time next year, only the Toronto Star can hope.

The trap of opinion polls is that the people conducting them have a special problem getting the opinions of younger voters. Those that are reported tend to be given more weight than their actual voting intentions. What this means to the politico is that unless you have a well funded, well managed social media and activity plan to enthral and motivate younger voters, you can forget them.

And in Toronto, you have to take into account the basic communities that make up a city of more than two million. Olivia Chow would get a fairly strong vote in the downtown areas where the New Democrats hold sway but she would hardly do as well in the suburbs where Conservative and Liberal voters hold the cards. There is also something of a pendulum effect in Toronto voting and next year is the left of centre turn but just not as far left as Olivia.

It seems obvious that we have no idea who will be the best bet to beat Rob Ford next year. Maybe the man will have an epiphany and will recant his former ways—lose weight and turn left. Maybe Ford will hire Hazel McCallion from Mississauga as his campaign manager. She has forgotten more about politics than Rob’s brother Doug knows.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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