UPDATED: Who is polling about a bridge or tunnel to the island airport?
The pollster, apparently, also asked residents if they voted for Mayor Rob Ford.
The obvious suspect would be the Toronto Port Authority, which is looking for $45 million to build an underground passage, with moving sidewalks, to get pedestrians from Bathurst Quay to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The 90-second ferry rides would continue.
The TPA has heard about the recent polling but is not behind it, and doesn't know who is, says the federal agency's spokeswoman Suzanna Birchwood.
There have been no serious efforts to get a bridge built since 2003, when David Miller was elected mayor on a pledge to kill the span plan, and he made it his first act in office.
The Ford question immediately turns heads toward Ford's office and outgoing chief of staff Nick Kouvalis, a political strategist whose company Campaign Research does, among other things, telephone polling. Building a bridge sounds like something the car-first Ford would float. But our inquiries were met with flat denials of any involvement.
If you got one of the calls, and/or have any idea who is behind them, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: We were pointed to the Jan. 12 entry on the CommunityAIR (anti-island-airport) blog, which talks about the poll and gives more details on questions, including "What kind of a job is Mayor Ford doing?" and others that seem to be slanted to get respondents to favour a bridge over a tunnel -- for example, noting that emergency vehicles could get over a bridge but not through the tunnel. The phone number given takes respondents to Toronto pollsters Foundation Research/Forum Research. We have a call in to Forum president Lorne Bozinoff. During the civic election campaign, Forum did some polls independently to get publicity for the company.
The blog entry jibes with an email account of the poll we got from a reader, who asked that we not publish her name. Thickening the plot, she says she was also asked about underground versus light rail:
I found the Star item on recent polling calls regarding the island airport very interesting. I was surprised to receive such a call one evening about a week ago and while it wasn't clear who was behind the poll, I certainly hung up feeling like it was a Rob Ford call.
They asked to speak with the youngest person in the home who was also over 18 years old. I let my husband off the hook and took the call. I don't usually agree to these polls, but was curious to hear more about what they wanted to know
Along with the questions about who I voted for in the last mayoral race and transportation to the island airport (where I was asked if I'd prefer to spend approx. $35 million on a bridge that would also help emergency crews get over very quickly or $65 million on a pedestrian walkway - the former was presented as more appealing), I was also asked if I would prefer more underground or light rail trains.
UPDATE 2: Another reader writes. They were asked only question? I'm starting to wonder if this is a real poll, or somebody just calling a whole pile of people.