Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Paying The Price?

The new Strategic Counsel poll shows a close federal race, but the real story might be that the Conservatives abysmal performance on the environmental file is starting to cost them politically. The poll was taken in the midst of the flurry of bad press for government, coming out of Bali. I read the rise of the Greens as a statement on public disapproval:
When respondents were asked who they would vote for, the results showed little difference from a few weeks ago (percentage-point change from a Nov. 12-13 poll in brackets):

Conservatives: 32 per cent (-2)
Liberals: 29 per cent (-2)
NDP: 16 per cent (same)
Green Party: 13 per cent (+5)
Bloc Quebecois: 10 per cent (-1)

The Green Party is also up 3% in Quebec, 4% in Ontario and 10% in the West. In Quebec, where Kyoto enjoys widespread support, and the provincial government has publicly admonished the government, the Conservatives have fallen to third place, behind the Liberals, who have actually broke out of the persistent teen score (20%).

This polls demonstrates the power of the environment to influence public opinion. The poll also demonstrates that the issue can hurt the government, they have not “neutralized” the issue. While the Liberals aren’t the direct benefactor, due to their own reputation on the file, it is noteworthy that the Greens could be a key ally when an election is called. If there is any erosion in Green support, May’s favorable opinion of Dion gives the Liberals the best chance to capitalize.

I take some comfort, in knowing that Canadians aren’t buying the Baird/Harper propaganda exercise. The Conservatives are being exposed in Bali, and I take this poll as evidence of that fact.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

What Elizabeth May thinks of Stephane Dion is irrelevant. I'll bet that 90% of the people who say they would vote for "A" green party couldn't even tell you who she was. This is basically a "none of the above" vote parking and trying to shift those "green dabblers" anywhere would be akin to trying to herd cats. I suspect that in an election campaign, as the green vote drops to mid single digits it will go to all the other parties - maybe more Liberal and NDP than Tory.

The only way that the Liberals might be the primary beneficiary of a green decline would be if May did some thing I think is highly unlikely and that is to explicitly endorse the Liberal Party and explicitly ask anyone thinking of voting Green in any riding other than Central Nova to vote Liberal. Of course if she did that, her party would dissolve into fratricidal civil war and she would probably be forced to resign as leader and simply become the Liberal candidate in Central Nova.

Unless than happens, as long as there is a Green candidate on the ballot in every riding - some people will vote for that person and those who drift away will divvy up in much the same way as people who openly admit to being undecided.

Steve V said...

"I suspect that in an election campaign, as the green vote drops to mid single digits it will go to all the other parties - maybe more Liberal and NDP than Tory."

Isn't that what I'm saying. BTW, I think people know who May is, particulary those that show support.

"May did some thing I think is highly unlikely and that is to explicitly endorse the Liberal Party"

She's endorse Dion for Prime Minister, Harper calls her a Dion lackey, so she's already there in many respects.

As for the "none of the above" element, in the Ontario election the Greens numbers actually held.

Tara said...

what a lot of crap from anonymous. the support for the greens is not support for none of the above. the green party has earned this support and people are slowly but surely waking up to the dire situation we are in. i have received several polling calls and "none of the above" (in the form of "wouldn't vote") is always a choice so if that were their choice, it would show 13% and the greens nothing. why are people so unwilling to accept that the green party is a viable CHOICE?!

ALW said...

Zing! Wow. I guess Harper may as well give up!

The lengths to which you guys will go to convince yourselves you're just going to waltz back into power is truly astounding.

Steve V said...

alw

What I find astounding, how someone like yourself can comment so much and always manage to say so little. ZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Steve V said...

Another thing that is interesting about these results, a poll last week showed that Canadians are very upbeat about the country's direction and the economy. A full 2/3 think the country is heading in the right direction, and yet the Conservatives don't seem to capitalize, which is a glaring historical anomaly.

Anonymous said...

Steve V at 1.59 ...what U should have said is' A CONSERVATIVE POLL last week said ...etc....it was all con bullshit.

Anonymous said...

"She's endorsed Dion for Prime Minister, Harper calls her a Dion lackey, so she's already there in many respects."

The trouble is that the thought of Dion as PM is what prevents people from voting Liberal. The whole Liberal scheme of setting up Elizabeth May and her merry band of amateurs as some sort of decoy to take votes from the NDP shows every sign of backfiring. All that will happen is that people who normally vote Liberal who think Dion is a flop and an embarrassment will regard the Green Party as an alternative to voting Liberal. In other words, as if the Liberals didn't have enough to worry about with former Liberals voting NDP, now another chunk of disgruntled Liberals might vote Green even further cannibalizing the Liberal vote and allowing even more Conservatives and New Democrats to defeat Liberal incumbents.

Steve V said...

anon

Some interesting partisan spin, although pretty transparent. May endorsing Dion actually hurts the Liberals. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying that it harms the Liberals to have May say that Dion would make a good PM. But i don't think it will help either. Canadians will make up their mind about Dion based on what their own impression of him is during the campaign. I wonder what May would say if she was asked if Jack Layton would make a better PM than Stephen Harper? Does anyone care?

What some space cadet like Elizabeth May thinks about the other party leaders is irrelevant - unless she actually resigns as Green leader and implores Canadians to vote Liberal and campaigns side by side with Dion (unlikely). I would assume that if she campaigns in the next election she will be asking people to vote Green not Liberal or NDP or CPC. That's what party leaders do.

Joseph said...

People who regard Elizabeth May as a "space cadet" probably won't care what her opinion of Dion is . . . but then again they are probably not the 13% who said they might vote for the Green Party, Ya think?

I suspect the people who might vote Green - until they realize doing so might split the vote and bring the local conservative candidate / mouthpiece to power - probably think a bit more of her opinion.

I'm with Steve on this one, good luck selling the idea that May's positive impression of Dion somehow hurts him with undecided voters - which is really the audience that would matter if it came to that.

Mushroom said...

"The Green Party is also up 3% in Quebec, 4% in Ontario and 10% in the West."

I've said it before, the 10 per cent swing for the Greens in the West will hurt Layton as the Dippers need to make major gains in the BC Coast and the Interior in order to demonstrate that bringing down the Martin government was a step in the right dierection.

If Dion and May work together more there are major avenues that can be used to weaken Jack there.

liberazzi said...

I would say that this is somewhat good news for the Libs. It's good that the Cons are losing ground and it is somewhat good that the Libs at least are holding around 30%. Basically a mixed bag. I am glad the Greens are doing well finally and I believe they are becoming a lot of Canadians second choice. I think if these numbers hold that the Libs will take their chances and try and push for an election in Feb. Finally, when is the media going to finally focus on Harper's inablility to grow the Cons numbers? Instead, the headlines for this poll were about the Greens gaining ground (which is great), but the real story is the Con consistently losing or not being able to grow their support.

On a side note, Hebert is on her anti-Dion hobby horse again today, although slightly restrained. She really needs to get some new material, since she really has nothing new to say lately.

Also, I'm glad the Mulroney thing seems to be helping the Libs a bit, but I'm bored with it. Can we move on already?

Gayle said...

ALW - I am wondering where this comment came from:

"The lengths to which you guys will go to convince yourselves you're just going to waltz back into power is truly astounding."

Could you be referring to this comment?:

"The poll also demonstrates that the issue can hurt the government, they have not “neutralized” the issue. While the Liberals aren’t the direct benefactor, due to their own reputation on the file, it is noteworthy that the Greens could be a key ally when an election is called."

I do not see anything that remotely looks like Steve expects the liberals to "waltz" back into power.

Your need to mischaracterize the statements of others in order to get your insult in is what is "astounding" here.

I look forward to the day when you address the actual point.

Steve - I agree with this post. I believe that voters who are truly concerned about the environment are going to take a hard look at the liberals as they are the only party who can possibly form the government other than the conservatives. On the environment file they are the only real choice.

Steve V said...

gayle

I think ALW is just frustrated with the inability of "his guy" to pierce through the obvious ceiling.

joseph

"I suspect the people who might vote Green - until they realize doing so might split the vote and bring the local conservative candidate / mouthpiece to power - probably think a bit more of her opinion."

That's right, all we are talking about her is the potential Green voter, that subset, who obviously don't share the "space cadet" characterization. That opinion is irrelevant, because the voter demographic isn't that dismissive, otherwise why the flirtation?

Anonymous said...

I return to my point. Either Elizabeth May wants people to vote Green OR she wants people to vote Liberal. People only have one vote not two and she can't have it both ways.

If she wants people to vote Liberal then she better resign from the Green Party and become the Liberal candidate in Central Nova, because as long as she campaigns for the Green Party all she is doing is helping to split the anti-Conservative vote 4 ways instead of 3. And, if she starts criss-crossing the country saying "I am the leader of the Green party and i urge people not to vote for my party but to vote for another party instead" she will have a lot of explaining to do to her party.

burlivespipe said...

May's opinion of Dion and Harper certainly could prove valuable in key ridings where the margin of error between the three main parties is critical. Whil the poll demonstrates minor slippage for Harper, I'm certain his abundant polling is revealing even more troubling numbers for our so-called PM.
And in the heat of a campaign, when both rhetoric and policy take on larger roles, you'll see possible swings of larger potential. If the Libs are smart, their campaign will feature 'Dion and the Liberal team', with the likes of Trudeau, Rae, Bennett, Findlay, Ignatieff, Dryden, etc in comparison to Baird, Flaherty, Toews, Lunn, and some obscure women who've been shunted to the back or near back except when the cameras are on in the House... Very telling.

northwestern_lad said...

Mushroom... This polls clearly show that the Greens are not bleeding support from the NDP, but mostly from the Conservatives. The only place where the NDP was down was in "The West", and even there they were down only 3%, which is far within the margin of error and far less than the Conservatives, who were down 7%. Plus, "The West" is a pretty broad description. I would easily bet that the NDP numbers down there might be from Alberta and maybe Saskatchewan, but no BC numbers.

If you're hoping that the Greens are going to take NDP votes from all over, then you're dreaming in technicolour at this point, because the numbers just don't bear it out.

If you want a good example of that, look at the Ontario Provincial election, where the Green's went up to 8%. The NDP also saw their vote totals rise by 2.5%, and the Green's did their best in mostly strong Conservative ridings. I know that from the poll results that i've seen in my riding, the Greens pick up most of their new votes in areas where the Conservatives were strong, not where the Liberals and NDP are strong. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Conservatives start to use the old Liberal strategy of "A vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives" by saying "A vote for the Greens is a vote for the Liberals". Funny thing is with Elizabeth May openly backing Stephane Dion, that claim would be so much more true. Strange days for sure.

Steve V said...

"If you're hoping that the Greens are going to take NDP votes from all over, then you're dreaming in technicolour at this point, because the numbers just don't bear it out."

Cam, fair point for sure. I would counter that the Green presence limits the NDP's growth potential, particularly because the environment is one of the parties signature issues. If we took the Greens out of the equation, what would the NDP numbers look like? I suspect the answer is found through the overt hostility the NDP powerbase has towards the Green Party in general. I find that more telling than anything, and quite indicative of perceived threat.

Mushroom said...

"I would easily bet that the NDP numbers down there might be from Alberta and maybe Saskatchewan, but no BC numbers."

I concur with Steve. The NDP numbers mean that we are in a uphill battle in Victoria and Burnaby where you took ten seats from us. However, the two party race in coastal and interior BC becomes a three party one. Layton is expected to match the 43 seats in 1988 and May becomes a problem there.

I can understand the Greens challenging the Cons in places like Peterborough and Bruce-Grey. It is the intention of May to hurt Harper there. The key is how much this will bleed towards Dion and whether he can take advantage of
it to win 20 seats in Ont.

Anonymous said...

"the Green presence limits the NDP's growth potential, particularly because the environment is one of the parties signature issues."

Supposedly, "the environment" is Stephane Dion's "signature issue" so if I were the Liberals I'd be more worried about Liberal support being cannibalized by the Greens.

Mushroom said...

"Liberal support being cannibalized by the Greens"

If tactical voting means that the Grits get cannibalized in BC due to tactical voting then so be it. Harper loses ten seats there to May and Dion becomes PM.

Steve V said...

"Supposedly, "the environment" is Stephane Dion's "signature issue" so if I were the Liberals I'd be more worried about Liberal support being cannibalized by the Greens."

True enough and I think we do see that. That said, IF there is any erosion of Green support, I think the Liberals are best placed to benefit, all things considered. May has credibility on the environment, if she argues that Dion should be PM, then that endorsement might sway some, especially if vote splitting is a concern. If you want to see who could benefit and who would be hurt, just watch the various positions on whether to include May in the election debates. Those stances will tell us all we need to know.