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When we presented the council- lor with the results of our research, he didn’t need much convincing. We were able to confirm to him what he already believed, and from there we were able to craft simple and clear messages like “Respect for Taxpayers” and “Stop the Gravy Train” that tested well with our focus groups, were media-friendly, and were easy and credible for the candidate to deliver. Our research told us that other issues like transit were important, but were not the ballot question in this election. Throughout the summer and into


the fall, we tested and retested our messages and the results were re- markably consistent. Whenever the events in the news threatened to distract or derail the campaign, we knew that the issues that mattered to Toronto voters had not changed – everything else was simply background noise. That certainty about our message was the foundation of the campaign.


In addition to our company’s market research practice,


we were also able to bring considerable political organiza- tion and management experience to the campaign. Many Campaign Research employees are not only technical ex- perts in their field, but are also political volunteers and enthusiasts in their own right. We were able to bring all


Clear messages like “Respect for Taxpayers” and “Stop the Gravy Train” that tested well with our focus groups, were media-friendly, and were easy and credible for the candidate to deliver.


of that expertise to the Rob Ford campaign, and the re- sult was a tightly-run organization that used not only used traditional techniques, but cutting-edge technologies like social media and tele-townhalls. We continued to poll until the last days of the cam-


paign. While there are no guarantees in politics, we were confident that our data was sound, and that it pointed to victory. On election night, Rob Ford was declared the mayor- elect of the City of Toronto only eight minutes after the polls closed. By the time the final ballots were counted, his


margin of victory was eleven points. As the crowd began to fill the Toronto Congress Centre for the victory party, we looked around the room and saw what our data had been telling us all along. Rob Ford and his message of respect for the taxpayer had an almost universal appeal. The cross-section of people who turned out to celebrate was one of the most diverse we had ever seen – new Canadians, people from the wealthiest areas of the city, families from some of the most troubled neigh- bourhoods. There were a handful of experienced political veterans, but far more were ordinary Torontonians who had never before volunteered for a candidate. But they came out to help Rob Ford. As Rob Ford assumes the mayor’s seat at City Hall, he can be confident that he has a clear mandate, and the peo- ple of Toronto can be confident that their Mayor has their concerns at heart.


Richard Ciano was pollster of record for Toronto Mayor-elect Rob Ford’s campaign. He along with his partner, Nick Kouva- lis who was Mr. Ford’s deputy campaign manager, are conserva- tive political activists and principals in Campaign Research, a Canadian market research firm. Richard can be reached at rcianco@campaignresearch.ca


December 2010 | Campaigns & Elections 23


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