Councillor’s endorsement will change little, analyst says

A Toronto political scientist says candidate endorsements of other candidates do little to sway voters.

Yesterday, Toronto Coun. Doug Holyday announced he would back the election of mayoral candidate Rob Ford. Support from the Ward 3 (Etobicoke Centre) councillor comes at a critical time for the would-be mayor.

One recent poll by Ispos Reid showed that George Smitherman and Ford were neck and neck, each with roughly 30 per cent support (Joe Pantalone had 11 per cent.)

Nelson Wiseman, associate professor of political science at U of T, doesn’t think Holyday’s announcement will change Toronto voters’ minds.

“(It) will have little impact on the intentions of voters in the city,” he said.

Holyday said he considered the endorsement of his colleague to be “keeping with the timing of others” as city councillors have made considerable movement to endorse candidates over the last week.

He said the endorsement of a mayoral candidate by a city councillor shows the voters the candidate has the support of the city and is therefore a stable and worthy individual. Wiseman offered a view of Holyday’s strategy.

“I can only speculate that (councillors) do not want to alienate who is potentially to be the next mayor, so (they) wait for the dust to settle before declaring sides,” Wiseman said. “As well, it is all strategy. If (Holyday) had made the endorsement six months ago, it wouldn’t be a story.”

As far as strategy is concerned, Holyday said his actions were in no way outside of the mainstream.

“(My endorsement) is no more strategic then the other councillors who have been coming out over the last six or seven days supporting people,” Holyday said.

Holyday believes endorsements are unnecessary if there is a clear runaway in an election. But this is not the case in Toronto.