Friday, January 13, 2006

Tide May Be Changing

The latest polling shows the Conservative maintaining their substantial lead over the Liberals. However, a close look at the numbers may reveal some hope for Martin. First we need to take this statement as fact:

Darrell Bricker of Ipsos recently noted that leadership indicators are independent variables that can cause a shift in the dependent variable, better known as party support.

He highlighted Martin's slide in these indicators in December: "Vote is a trailing indicator, not a leading indicator. The fundamentals started going downhill some time ago, vote is only now catching up."

If leadership indicators give us a window into the future, then it could be that the Liberal attack ads are having an effect. Harper now trails Martin by 6 points in the overall leadership numbers. Particularly striking is that Martin leads Harper by 7% with regards to the issue of competence. Harper has also dropped a full 9% on his vision for Canada.

It should give the Conservatives pause that despite leading in the polls, Harper still can't best the battered, scandal ridden Martin. These results also lend credence to the notion that people are not voting Conservative, but anti-Liberal.

People remain apprehensive about the Conservatives and I would suggest these feeling will magnify as we draw closer to the reality of Harper as PM. We need to see a seismic shift in the polls, which may not be realistic, but we could easily have enough erosion to blunt any talk of majority.

It is debatable whether or not the attack ads have been effective. I have always believed that, regardless of ads, Canadians would likely rethink their support as we draw close to the vote. No one disputes the fact that support is particularly soft this election and with that volatility is to be expected. If leadership indicators are generally ahead of the voter curve, we may be at a stage where things begin to change. We still have an eternity to go.


Dan McKenzie said...

Harper's ahaed again in that category

Steve V said...


I think the point is still valid because Harper's leadership numbers don't mirror the popular vote at all. A statistical tie with Martin, but a large party lead is an achilles heel. If I was a Liberal strategist, those numbers would be my only reason for optimism- and even that may be grasping at straws.

CathiefromCanada said...

Oh, please be correct, please, please. I am searching the blogs for rays of hope.
Personally, I think Harper will turn out to be George Bush's Smarter Brother -- he can deny reality just as well as Bush does ("of course we don't have to use the notwithstanding clause against gay marriage!")

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Just as in the USA, we have seen in the past three weeks the mainstream media skimming the surface rather than digging into details. They focus on He said-She said reporting, and banal interviews, instead of presenting the nitty gritty of a campaign. A true investigative reporter would be dogging the internal pollsters of each major party, rather than just quaffing wine together on some bus off in the wilds somewhere. Most of the columnists on the buses are now suffering from the same Stockholm-fever that the journalists embedded with the US troops showed in the invasion of Iraq.

What has happened? Few details of the shifts in voter currents have surfaced. Allan Gregg is busy drumming up support for his pet Tories; the others show out of date polls. But – like the rising tide – the truth is seeping in: the closer we get to decision day, the more people are looking at a preening Harper and not liking what they see. His dismissive wave of the hand to the $20 billion gap in his program, and to the tax cuts for the wealthier citizens, along with his hanging a for-sale sign out in the provinces (hurry! Hurry! Federal government powers for sale – cheap!), are starting to seep into voters’ minds.

Is it a surprise that the polls are closing and will continue to close? No. Voters are kicking the tires, and Harper’s tires are flatter than his “evolution” pretended them to be.

Voters can spot a fraud a mile away, and Harper’s so-called “I am a changed man” defence of his 1997 speech to rightwingers in the USA just does not wash.

There is still a chance for a Liberal minority government. You heard it right here, from the Cat.