"More immigrants back Ford, poll finds." Almost tossed my cup of coffee when I read that headline in the Globe this morning.
Yet another reason why polls are useless, and in some cases, just plain dangerous.
What message is this article sending undecided voters out there? The wrong one, obviously.
The article goes on to quote a Ford supporter, Jagdish Grewal, (gee, there's a surprise) to back Ekos's questionable findings.
Without getting into the methodology of this gem from Ekos just yet - robo-calls to 500 Torontonians - let's think about this for a second.
Does any right thinking person who has been paying any attention to this campaign or Ford's borderline racist comments in the past (‘Gino Boy,' ‘Orientals work like dogs," etc...), really believe he enjoys the bulk of support among immigrants in the city?
Ford's the guy who said earlier in the campaign said that there's not enough room in Toronto for more immigrants, throwing out the spectre of a veritable brown wave invading the city.
He opposes the city's fair wage policy and the vote for permanent residents. He doesn't believe in funding for priority neighbourhoods where immigrants live. He's largely ignorant to the challenges facing immigrant communities. (Sorry, helping a few black kids get football scholarships doesn't cut it).
He trades in the language of stereotypes (see remarks at Jane-Finch all-candidates meeting about Latino kids making good soccer players).
Is it reasonable to conclude, then, as the Ekos poll does, that Ford enjoys the support of more than half the city's immigrants - more even than the only immigrant among the mayoral contenders, Joe Pantalone - based on one very questionable poll?
Who exactly was polled in the Ekos survey?
According to the Globe article, the poll was conducted over an unusually long nine-day period, which suggests a heck of a lot of people simply hung up when they got the call.
How did that fact skew the representative sample?
Were those who ultimately responded mostly from Ford's backyard in Etobicoke? How many, for example, of the "immigrants" surveyed were older, white folks who skew Ford's way? No way of knowing, of course.
But from this immigrant's point of view, it's laughable (if not irresponsible) to suggest Ford speaks for the majority of those not born in Canada.
I say that understanding that Ford does have his supporters in the visible minority tenant communities in his ward whose apartments he's helped get repaired, for example.
Ford's also learned a thing or two from his former Tory MPP dad, Doug Sr., about recruiting immigrant support from certain voting blocs, like the Sikh community, whose politics tend to gravitate to the right. (I'll be writing more about this after the election Monday)
But take a look, if you will, at the buffoonish behaviour of the coterie of malcontents who follow their hero to stack all-candidates meetings across the city. (You'd be hard-pressed to find a brown face among them.) These Fordists represent a very old view of the city - one that wants to turn the clock back to more quaint times when more than half the population of the city wasn't immigrant.
The Globe describes the Ekos findings as a "get" for Ford. More like an insult to hardworking immigrants who know better than to believe Ford's on their side.