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New poll reveals Torontonians not satisfied with Mayor Ford's return speech

A new poll reveals many Torontonians watched or listened to Mayor Rob Ford’s return-from-rehab statement on Monday — but didn’t quite buy what he said.

According to a Forum Research poll conducted on July 2, two days after Ford’s return to city hall, six in 10 Toronto voters (or 61 per cent) watched or listened to the speech. However, 60 per cent of those said they were not satisfied with his apology and explanation for his behaviour.

Ford returned to city hall on Monday after spending two months at GreeneStone rehab facility in Muskoka, where he sought treatment for his drug and alcohol addictions.

In his nearly 20-minute statement later that day, Ford apologized for his past behaviour, saying he was embarrassed by the things he has done while using drugs and alcohol.

Meanwhile, the poll also suggests Ford’s approval rating and re-election chances have not been “boosted” since his return from rehab.

“Rob Ford has seen his approval rating and electoral chances equal the lowest point noted since we began tracking,” Forum said in its poll results.

In fact, the poll reveals that rival mayoral candidate John Tory has overtaken Ford in the race for mayor, but Olivia Chow still holds the lead with 36 per cent support of voter support.

Tory, now in second place, has 27 per cent, and Ford has dropped to third place with 26 per cent. David Soknacki remains in fourth place with four per cent, followed by Karen Stintz in last place with three per cent.

In terms of his approval rating, Ford also remains in last place with 31 per cent — one point less than a poll conducted on June 23. In that poll, which was conducted before Ford’s return to city hall, his approval rating went up four points since June 6.

The July 2 poll also shows Tory’s approval rating among voters has risen by two points to 63 per cent, followed by Chow at 57 per cent — the same as June 23. Stintz and Soknacki came in at 41 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively.

On Wednesday, Ford faced his first full day at city hall and attended the executive committee meeting. His office also released a statement saying the mayor has reimbursed the City of Toronto for the salary he was paid while on leave for rehab.

He also did one-on-one interviews with two media outlets on Wednesday afternoon — admitting that he’s been an addict for many years, has consumed various drugs and used racist and homophobic slurs because of his “disease.”

Ford also said he’s been inebriated at city hall, but denied consuming drugs there.

When asked if he would step down if he relapses, he would only say that he’s taking it “one day at a time.”

According to the Forum poll, 61 per cent of respondents said Ford is not an effective mayor since he “will always be battling his disease.”

Torontonians head to the polls on Oct. 27.

Forum explained that the randomly-selected poll of 1,182 Torontonians was conducted in an interactive voice response telephone survey. The results are considered accurate plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Read the complete poll results below:

Forum Research poll: July 3

With files from Michael Talbot and The Canadian Press