In this campaign, Mr. Ford has been more tempered. Instead of attacking the media, he has largely sidestepped it, canceling the traditional media bus and granting few private interviews. In its place, his team has produced its own regular “Ford Nation Live” newscasts.
His two main opponents have honed in on his sloganeering and thin financial plan. His brother’s tempestuous tenure as mayor has gone unspoken by many in a decidedly Canadian manifestation of civility.
“This is Canada,” explained John Duffy, a Liberal Party strategist who is informally advising Ms. Wynne’s campaign. “Canadians are fairly pleasant. Everyone knows not to speak ill of the dead.”
But early in the campaign, Ms. Wynne zeroed in on the Trump analogy, perhaps sensing that the American president is unpopular among many Ontarians.
“Doug Ford sounds like Donald Trump and that’s because he is like Donald Trump,” she said the day after Mr. Ford had accused her of “shady tricks.” “He believes in an ugly, vicious brand of politics that traffics in smears and lies.”
The prospect of electing a Canadian Trump has taken root in many voters’ minds, driving some toward the New Democratic Party, said David Coletto, chief executive of the polling firm Abacus Data.
“The more people get to know Ford,” Mr. Coletto said, “the more they dislike him.” His firm’s latest poll, issued last week, put Mr. Ford’s Progressive Conservatives four percentage points below the NDP.