While the courts may have decided he can stay for now, a new poll finds that Mayor Rob Ford could face an uphill battle in an election race to keep his job.

The poll, which was conducted by Forum Research, asked respondents who they would vote for in a theoretical one-on-one election race between Ford and various opponents.

The survey found that in a two-way race with radio host and one-time mayoral candidate John Tory, Ford would lose by more than 10 per cent of the vote. It also found he would lose by a similar margin in a race with TTC Chair Karen Stintz or MP Olivia Chow, both rumoured to be quietly contemplating a possible run for the job.

A head-to-head contest with Councillor Adam Vaughan, an outspoken critic of the mayor, would result in a close call, the poll found, with Ford just two percentage points ahead in that scenario. Councillor Shelley Carroll, who has expressed interest in a mayoral run, would still face a defeat of 35 per cent to Ford’s 45 per cent. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong would also lose outright, trailing the mayor by 14 per cent.

“Right now (Ford) will beat just about any councillor except Karin Stintz,” Forum research President Lorne Bozinoff said in an interview with CP24 Monday afternoon. “The only candidates who could touch him now are the candidates who have a profile above city council.”

Bozinoff pointed out that while Toronto history suggests there will be more than two serious contenders, the race often narrows down to two main candidates.

Responding to the poll Monday, Stintz didn’t rule out a possible run for mayor, but said she’s focused on city business for the time being.

“At this point I think we should just take advantage of the opportunity the city had on Friday, which is Mayor Ford is our mayor,” Stintz told CP24. “That political instability has now ended, we need to move forward as a city. We have a mayor, there is no election, and I think we just need to stay focused on what needs to get done.”

Despite the tough competition from possible contenders, the poll also found that a majority of Torontonians – some 53 per cent – support the appeal court’s decision to keep Ford in office. Support for the decision was highest among respondents who were older than 55, those who live in North York or Etobicoke/York and those with low annual household incomes.

“The punishment didn’t really fit the crime at the end of the day and a lot of people felt that way. That really drives these numbers,” Bozinoff said.

The mayor’s overall approval rating among Torontonians sits at 45 per cent, the highest it has been since November.

"It appears winning his appeal has burnished the mayor's image, and supporters are ecstatic," Bozinoff said earlier in the day in a news release attached to the poll findings.

The poll sampled 1,099 Torontonians aged 18 or older by phone on Jan. 25. It is considered accurate by plus or minus 3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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