Sunday, March 11, 2007

Good News, Bad News

First, the bad news:
Stephen Harper maintains a large advantage as the preferred head of government in Canada, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 35 per cent of respondents think Harper would make the best prime minister, while 19 per cent choose Liberal leader St├ęphane Dion.

The numbers show that, after four months on the job, the Liberal leader is losing the battle to earn the confidence of Canadians. Only 9% say their opinion of Dion has improved over the course of the past month, and 29% say their views have actually worsened.

The good news:
Mr. Harper, on the other hand, appears to be treading water with 21% expressing a more positive opinion of the Prime Minister, and 22% echoing negative views.

Do you approve or disapprove of Stephen Harper’s performance as prime minister?

Approve
37%
Disapprove
41%
Not sure
22%

The fact that Dion's numbers are still dropping, even when compared with the abysmal numbers in the previous poll is quite concerning. There is little doubt that Dion has a great deal of work to do in convincing Canadians that he is ready to the lead the country. However, Dion is the new actor, which allows for the argument that his condition can improve. Canadians don't really know Dion and that means there is still opportunity to reverse these trends.

Where Liberals can take great solace, Harper hasn't really benefited from the new leaders early troubles. Harper has a higher disapproval rating than approval, despite the fact most Canadians believe the country is headed in the right direction. Canadians opinion of Harper hasn't improved, which is curious, given Dion's apparent "weakness"- this suggests real hesitation.

It may be a stretch to spin these findings as opportunity for the Liberals, but I think that fair. There are many tools available to Liberal strategists to improve Dion's image, these people aren't inept, now they know the challenges. If you use historical context, Dion's predicament is nothing extraordinary. For arguments sake you can see scenarios where Dion turns it around.

With Harper, I'm not sure there is much more opportunity, unless of course he has another 15-20 billion to throw around. Stuck is the best word to describe Harper's situation, and his high negatives suggest potential erosion if Dion is effective. Harper should be benefiting from Dion's troubles, that is the expected result. The fact that Harper is largely stalled, seems to have a natural ceiling, is something we can exploit.

9 comments:

knb said...

Harper hasn't really benefited from the new leaders early troubles

I'd add...most of which, Harper and gang have tried and continue, to hang on Dion, meaning his troubles are Harper made in large part.

There is no question that Harper is in trouble here. Dion is out showing who he is, but obviously the audience is not what a PM receives. That doesn't matter. He needs to articulate his message to Lib's across Canada, get their support, then keep showing up as Dion.

Harper fails to impress and Steve, the spending, it's out of control. Isn't it laughable thinking back to how the con's, Harper specifically, pointed to that all the time? I'm worried about the spending vis a vis the surplus and the tax cuts. We've lived the Flaherty "balanced budget" and balanced it is not. Given that Harper should know this stuff, it makes me cringe to think he believes that this is good economic policy.

Steve V said...

Remember Monte Solberg's quote:

"(This recent spending) is like a Roman orgy. With the tightened election timetable, it's a Roman orgy with a premature ejaculation."

The funniest part, besides Harper's hypocrisy on spending, is the promise to not hide the surplus, like those bastard Liberals. They have spent 11 billion in the last weeks, methinks the surplus was under-reported. The longer the reign, the more the rhetoric was nothing more than political convenience.

Fiscal conservatives should be PULLING THEIR HAIR OUT.

Anonymous said...

There's an article out about Harper and Dion being roommates during their MP training session years ago - boy Harper is one sick and lazy puppy.

And, talk about immaturity - certainly reveals the disturbing side of his personality.

Harper is one mean son of a gun - do you suppose he teaches his son Ben to be the same?

Anonymous said...

Anonymouse sez: There's an article out about Harper and Dion being roommates during their MP training session years ago - boy Harper is one sick and lazy puppy.

I hope anon is joking about this comedy bit in the Star being real. If not, it is a sad comment on the Left's perception of reality. (Harper actually giving Dion a nipple twister would be hilarious, however.)

ottlib said...

A PM with an approval rating under 40% and a disapproval rating over 40% after just one year. Ouch. It should be the other way around at this stage of the game. You usually see results like this after a PM has been in power for 3 or 4 years.

This despite a good economy, a Conservative spending spree in the last month and rather good leadership ratings for Mr. Harper.

First the poll on the weekend saying Canadians still do not know Mr. Harper and this poll today.

The Conservatives are said to be planning an election campaign focused on Mr. Harper. I think they may want to rethink that approach.

Steve V said...

ottlib

Those disapproval numbers do stick out, don't they? The title of the link is "Dion's Image Takes A Beating", but the devil is in the details for Harper.

ottlib said...

Ipsos-Reid doing a poll for Canwest/Global, of course they are going to focus on Mr. Dion.

There is no such thing as journalistic integrity in this country any more, which is why I tend to ignore the MSM.

It is a real chore reading it because I spend most of my time sifting the actual news through the spin.

To think, years ago I used to enjoy reading the newspaper.

Steve V said...

"There is no such thing as journalistic integrity in this country any more, which is why I tend to ignore the MSM."

Conservative-bias aside, I wonder how much our news coverage has been affected by the American drive towards tabloid journalism. What does it say when the CBC and The Globe and Mail are running Britney and Anna Nicole stories on a regular basis?

Sheeple said...

Fiscal Conservatives should absolutely be pulling their hair out. This spending spree is irresponsible. Environmentalists should also be concerned because the recent spending spree doesn't amount to any kind of comprehensive plan to deal with climate change. Instead, it's blad faced vote-buying.

Harper has hit a ceiling here with voters, and that should be concerning to the Reform/Alliance party. Canada has still yet to hear the other side of the story with respect to Dion.