Image via WikipediaIn a recent blog entry, I extolled the virtues of Alternative Vote as it applied to the Toronto mayoral election. Canada is already a country where multipartisanism is the norm, despite the obvious difficulties of maintaining an entire party organisation. Municipally, where there are no parties, the chance of vote splintering is markedly high (the full list of candidates for mayor alone is an amazing 40). Ultimately, however, in a true winner-take-all battle, a multitude of voices ought ultimately to come down to a two-person race only for the fact that the winner needs some kind of legitimacy: winning with some 30-odd percent of the vote is not, whatever we have become accustomed to here in Canada, a viable mandate.
What's interesting is how something like that is already happening, what I call 'AV by Attrition', but what more accurately appears to be a run-off election with the initial phases of the run-off paid for not by the municipality but by Ipsos Reid.
At the end of September, Ipsos Reid put out a poll that had Rob ford well ahead but had Sarah Thomson tied at the bottom of the pack at 8%. What happened? She dropped out, leaving four candidates. Half a month later and another Ipsos Reid poll, showing Smitherman having miraculously pulled ahead of Ford and showing Rocco Rossi alone at the bottom of the pack with less than six percent of decided voters. So what happens next? Rossi drops out.
I like Rossi. I wasn't planning to vote for him, but he seems affable. Seems like a decent enough guy and, silly 'Goodfellas' misstep aside, seems quite dignified by the standards of this race. But he was never going to win, and Toronto has a culture of candidates dropping out once they've realised they have no shot, like curling teams. Or, I should say, like Canada at the UN.
Anyway, and then there were three. It's interesting just how much power Ipsos Reid is wielding at the moment. One wonders if they'll be able to squeeze another poll in before the big day, and if so, what Pantalone will do about it.