A new poll suggests Toronto mayoral candidate Rob Ford is leading the pack with the support of 45.8 per cent of decided voters, giving him a 24-point lead over his closest rival.
The Nanos Research telephone poll, commissioned by CTV and the Globe and Mail, surveyed 1,021 Torontonians between Sept. 14 and 16. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
It places George Smitherman in second place with 21.3 per cent of the vote. In third place is Joe Pantalone with 16.8, while Rocco Rossi is in fourth with 9.7 per cent and Sarah Thomson fifth with 6.4.
In June, a Nanos poll showed Ford doing well only in Etobicoke while the latest poll shows Ford doing well everywhere, including in the old city of Toronto.
"I think we're entering a new part of the campaign," said Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research.
"I think the next part of the campaign is going to be focused on two questions: Is Rob Ford up for the job to be the next mayor of Toronto? If not, who is the main challenger that could be an alternative to him in case Rob Ford falters in the next weeks?"
Taxpayers tired of 'wasteful spending'
On Monday, Ford announced announced seven further proposals in his taxpayer-protection plan that he said would make Toronto City Hall "transparent, accountable and responsive to the taxpayers."
"By far, the No. 1 issue when I talk to people is wasteful spending ... the gravy train," he said.
"When I start talking about a budget of $11.6 billion, they can't comprehend, they can't understand that — but they can relate to the free lunches, the free dinners, and they're sick and tired of it."
He promised, if elected mayor, every vote would be a recorded ballot at city hall and the voting results would be made available online.
He also said he would let members of the public speak to council on issues that matter to them.
While Ford bragged his support cuts across all party lines, rival George Smitherman accused him of running a campaign based on voter anger and exclusion.
"Throughout his life in politics he has consistently separated the people that don't fit in to his vision of Toronto, like me and my spouse and my child," said Smitherman, the province's former deputy premier and health minister, who is also gay.
"You might be one of them: ride a bike, live downtown, Asian, gay, women in need of shelter, immigrant — chances are, you don't fit into Rob Ford's Toronto."
Smitherman admitted if an election were held now, Ford would become mayor.
Toronto voters go the polls Oct. 25.