David Miller Mayor Toronto

What the 2006 Toronto mayoral election reveals about this year's race

In order to shed some light on our upcoming mayoral election, I took a close look at the outcomes of the previous two mayoral races. In this post I breakdown the results of the 2006 election, and later this week I'll do the same for the 2003 race.

Though the outcome of the 2006 election was predictable, looking closely at the results reveals some interesting facts. David Miller, often regarded as a mayor who mostly represents downtown interests, managed to win a considerable chuck of votes in the suburbs--suggesting progressive candidates stand a chance in the outer city (something Rob Ford supporters might not want to admit).

The overall results gave Miller 56.97 per cent of the vote, Jane Pitfield, his main challenger--who is currently running for councillor in Ward 29--received 32.32, and Stephen LeDrew, an anchor with CP24, finished with only 1.38.

Miller's best showing was in Ward 19, which Joe Pantalone represents, where he won 74 per cent of the vote.

2006 Election Toronto20101012---Pitfield.jpg

Miller, in fact, managed to capture six wards--all within the old city of Toronto--with 70 or more per cent of the vote: Ward 19 (74%), Ward 20 (72.8%), Ward 14 (72.8%), Ward 13 (70.6%), Ward 18 (70.5%), and Ward 30 (70.1%).

In the remaining two downtown wards, Wards 28 and 27, Miller won 69.5 per cent and 64.5 percent of the vote respectively.

Miller's support was clearly based downtown, but he produced impressive results in other areas as well. In several wards, held by conservative councillors, Miller won with more than 50 per cent of the vote.

For example, in Ward 5, held by right-wing councillor Peter Milczyn, Miller received 52.6 per cent support. In Ward 24, held by centre-right David Shiner, Miller won with 52.4 percent. And even in Ward 2, held by Rob Ford, Miller picked up 51.9 per cent of the vote (15 per cent more than Pitfield received). Miller also earned over 50 per cent support in all wards across Scarborough, and finished in the high 40s in most other wards.

2006 mayoral election toronto

Miller's worst performance was in Ward 26, where he only managed to win 45 per cent of the vote, giving the victory to Pitfield who garnered 46.3 per cent. Ward 25 produced a similar story. Pitfield won by a small margin, giving her a victory in both Don Valley West wards, the only two wards in which Miller did not win first place--likely explained by the fact that Pitfield represented Don Valley West as a councillor for several years.

Overall voter turnout was 39.3 per cent, with no major distinctions in turnout rates between the suburbs and the downtown. At 52 per cent, Ward 26 Don Valley West had the highest turnout of any ward in Toronto, and Ward 1 Etobicoke North, at 33 percent, had the worst.

This year's mayoral race is a lot different than 2006's. With no incumbent and a sharp left-right divide among Toronto's electorate, today's race can be better compared to 2003, when Miller faced off against right leaning John Tory. But 2006 does suggest that a conservative victory in the suburbs in 2010 isn't a foregone conclusion.

Photo by Rokashi.

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