Connor Simpson is a former staff writer for The Wire. His work has appeared in Business Insider and City Lab.
You'd think a video showing Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine would put his approval rating in the basement. Not in Canada!
Now that Toronto police confirmed the existence of the video allegedly showing Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, leading to calls for his resignation from city councillors, every major newspaper, and the trade board, Ford's poll numbers
fell with the might of one thousand suns went up. Wait, what?
It's true. A poll conducted Thursday evening after police chief Bill Blair announced they have the video saw Ford's approval rating go up by five percent, from 39 percent pre-crack video to 44 percent post-crack video. You'd think proving the video showing the mayor smoking crack cocaine does exist would put Ford's approval rating somewhere in the basement. But nope, not in Toronto!
"That may sound counterintuitive. It could be a sampling, margin-of-error thing, or it could be just some sympathy," Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research, the firm that conducted the poll, explained to the Toronto Star. "If you saw him during that media scrum yesterday, it might have generated some sympathy."
Details of Ford's history of substance abuse have started to leak out since Thursday's big announcement. The mayor's inner circle are pressuring him to step down, or at least take a leave of absence, according to the Star, but Ford and his family refuse to take their advice. The Star reports aides close to Ford planned an intervention for the mayor last year, but the idea was nixed by Ford's brother, fellow city councillor Doug Ford.
And then there are the boozy accounts of what happened at the mayor's office on St. Patrick's Day in 2012, a long whispered-about story in Toronto circles. Details came out thanks to a City Hall security e-mail released Friday, allowing reporters to finally put their version of events on paper. The reports from the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun are stunning. Ford allegedly drank heavily in his office all night with a small group of friends before proceeding to Bier Markt, a popular Toronto pub and dance bar, where he got pulled off the dance floor by security. Before the group left, one member sparked a joint in Ford's office. That's when city staff rushed them out. The group eventually returned to the mayor's office after Bier Markt, and Ford allegedly pushed a junior staffer halfway across the office after the kid tried to stop the mayor from drunk dialling people. Ford had to be restrained by three people. The mayor also stumbled around City Hall, "with a half-empty bottle of St-Remy French Brandy," according to the security email. He also swore at Earl Provost, who is not his chief of staff, shouting "f--- this guy," "f--- you," among other things, for no apparent reason. At one point he asked security to report his car stolen. Security had to remind Ford he didn't drive that night.
That's your mayor, Toronto. No one else wants him, so enjoy him while you can.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.