town hall meeting

City councillors from East York fare well in controversial election poll

A massive poll by a new company, The Firm Digital, has drawn questions about its methodology

In light of the results of a controversial new poll, Toronto city councillor Jon Burnside wishes the municipal election were being held today.

The Firm Digital is a new company that says it specializes in research, collection and publication of public-opinion polls and surveys. It conducted an  automated-voice-response phone survey of 15,576 Torontonians in mid-November, almost a year before the election.

The firm surveyed the popularity of incumbent councillors in their respective wards by asking the question, “If the election were held today, would you re-elect your current city councillor?”

In an article dated Dec. 15, 2017, CBC Toronto said it would not be publishing “the full polling results because of a number of concerns raised by its internal research department, primarily that the poll lacks a randomized sample.”

The results in Burnside’s case: 51 per cent in favour, 10 per cent against, and 39 per cent undecided.

“If the poll were correct, the word I would use is thankful,” said Burnside, councillor in Ward 26, Don Valley West. “I think that’s a pretty good showing. I think I am on the right track.”

The good news, he said, is that he has time to convince undecided voters before the election in October.

“I still have some work to do by getting out there and meeting people and addressing any concerns they might have,” Burnside said.

The poll envisioned a tough race for councillor Janet Davis, Ward 31, Beaches-East York. The results: 43 per cent voters in favour of Davis, 34 per cent opposed, and 23 per cent undecided. After many attempts through emails and voice mails to reach Davis, a spokeswoman from her office said the councillor would not comment on the poll.

The poll found about 50 per cent in favour of councillor Mary Fragedakis, Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth, about 19 per cent who didn’t want to elect her, and 31 per cent undecided. She was not available to comment, despite many attempts through phone and email.

The poll also compared the mayoral candidates John Tory and Doug Ford in a head-to-head race. “They found 38.6 per cent support for Tory, 32.9 per cent for Ford and 28.4 per cent are undecided voters,” The Firm Digital survey states.

A Dec. 6, 2017, Toronto Sun article noted, “Those results appear to strongly contradict at least three recent polls by established polling firms.”