Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Credits: QMI Agency Files
Mayor Rob Ford's approval rating has climbed in the wake of the legal troubles that almost cost him his job.
However, a Forum Research poll provided to the Toronto Sun shows city residents are almost split on Ford's performance.
The poll, conducted last Friday, found 48% of those surveyed approve of the job Ford is doing as mayor while 52% disapprove. That's up from a 45% approval rating last month when Forum conducted its last poll and an even bigger increase compared to December's findings when 42% of those surveyed gave him a thumbs up.
"It appears the mayor's close brush with unemployment has given him a significant bump," said Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff.
Residents over age 65 and those who live in Scarborough and Etobicoke were more likely to approve of the job Ford is doing while 63% of respondents between the ages of 35 and 44 disapproved of the mayor's performance. Those living downtown and in North York were more likely to think the civic leader was doing a bad job.
Ford has had a bumpy ride in the last few months and faced a conflict-of-interest court battle that almost resulted in his ejection from office.
But despite Ford's fumbles, a majority of residents polled think he's doing as well or better in the last few months than during his first two years in office. Around 35% think Ford is doing as good a job now as when he first took office while 20% think he's doing better than the first two years of his term. The poll found 37% think Ford is not doing as good a job as he did during the first half of his term.
The poll also found Ford could still beat his 2010 mayoralty rival former deputy premier George Smitherman in either a two-way and or a three-way race.
In a Ford versus Smitherman race, 45% of those polled said they'd vote for the current mayor while 40% indicated support for the former Liberal MPP.
When Forum added Councillor Adam Vaughan into the mix, Ford still finished first with 44%, Vaughan second with 29% and Smitherman dead last at 15%.
But Ford couldn't beat NDP MP Olivia Chow if the two clashed in a mayoral battle, according to the poll. Speculation that Chow, a former city councillor, will run for the mayoralty in 2014 is rife.
In a three-way fight, Chow would win with 43% of the vote compared to Ford's 38% and Smitherman's 11%, according to the findings.
The poll of 806 Toronto residents-- an interactive voice response telephone survey-- is accurate within 5%, 19 times out of 20.
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HOW FORD WOULD FARE IF AN ELECTION WERE HELD TODAY
* Rob Ford vs. George Smitherman
* A three-way race involving Ford, Smitherman and Councillor Adam Vaughan
* A three-way race involving Ford, NDP MP Olivia Chow and Smitherman
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Forum Research conducted a poll on Mayor Rob Ford's performance
* 48%of Toronto residents who approve of the job Ford is doing
* 52% of Toronto residents who disapprove of the job Ford is doing
* 806 people were surveyed on Friday
* 35%of respondents think Ford is doing as good a job now as he did in 2011 and 2012
* 20% think Ford is doing a better job than in the first two years of his term
* 37% believe Ford is not doing as good a job now as he did during his first two years