The latest poll on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's job performance makes one wonder what the crack-smoking, foul-mouthed, short-fused leader of Canada's biggest city would have to do to turn off voters.
Ford's popularity has hardly been dented by his confession this month that he smoked crack cocaine with known gang leaders, or by the Toronto City Council's actions Monday stripping him of most staff, budget and governing powers.
The mayor has also recently been shown on clandestinely recorded cellphone video swearing profusely and threatening to kill someone by ripping out his throat. And in an angry exchange with reporters outside City Hall last week, Ford made a crude sexual innuendo in shockingly graphic language that was carried live on national television.
Nevertheless, Forum Research found that 42% of respondents approved of Ford's job performance in its survey conducted Wednesday, two days after the City Council voted overwhelmingly to gut his authority.
The last Forum poll, conducted a day after Ford's Nov. 5 admission that he had lied for the previous six months about having smoked crack, showed the mayor had the approval of 44% of respondents. Both showings were typical of the mid- to low-40s percentage points in support expressed in dozens of surveys Forum has conducted since Ford took office in 2010, the Toronto Star reported.
Wednesday's automated telephone survey of 1,049 Toronto residents also found that 60% approved of the moves to transfer powers of appointment, dismissal, emergency management and finance supervision to Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. And 65% told the pollster that they thought Kelly was doing a good job filling Ford's shoes.
But less than half of those asked wanted Toronto to hold a referendum on whether Ford should be allowed to remain in office. Thirty-three percent of those polled said they will vote for Ford again if he runs for re-election next year, and 18% said they would support his bid to become prime minister of Canada, an aspiration he alluded to in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
Toronto's city charter doesn't provide a procedure for recall elections, and Ford has steadfastly refused to resign or take a leave of absense to seek substance abuse counseling.
The Forum results prompted news organizations around the world to point out that Ford, despite admitting criminal drug use and drunk-driving, has a higher approval rating than President Obama.
The latest Gallup poll on Obama's popularity showed it at a low point for his administration at 39%, hit by widespread defects in the rollout of online guidance for healthcare consumers to sign up for coverage under his signature Affordable Care Act.