One thing to keep in mind, as people weigh in on Dion's yet to be released tax shift plan, is the idea of a building a winning coalition. People point to a poll that shows 61% support a carbon tax, the numbers are higher for a carrot and stick approach, all kinds of empirical data to suggest a good portion of Canadians are ready to address the issue, in a serious manner. Others will say, it's easy to answer YES on a poll question, quite a different matter, when the theoretical actually impacts the wallet. That sentiment may well be correct, but the core calculation for Dion, can his plan appeal to a small percentage of people outside of the Liberal base. When you breakdown the numbers, Dion's task is far less daunting, he really only needs to sway a small group of the electorate to win an election.
You start by immediately knocking off the base Conservative support. For argument's sake, that number is probably around 30% nationally, plus another 5% that could lean Conservative, probably will in a "tax grab" scenario. That leaves a solid 65% of the electorate available to Dion, which represents the low end of the potential pool. We can also remove the Bloc voter, although completely dismissing that entire subset isn't necessarily the case, those voters are much "greener" in general, Dion may actually have some appeal. To be realistic though, we will take another 9% of the national vote off the table, Bloc voters are unmoved. Dion starts with 56% of the population that will consider his proposals.
What is the core NDP number? I would argue 10% seems a fair number, the rest could be described as soft support, possible to shake lose. Dion is down to a pool of 46%. The wild card is the Green support, and I would argue, this group represents the best opportunity to expand the Dion coalition. Currently, the Greens sit at 9% nationally. Dion endorsing, what amounts to the key plank for the Green Party, the environment clearly the main draw at this point, outside of the activist base, is a powerful lure. Let's just say Dion could appeal to half of those voters, which is entirely possible, given the lack of history, given the source of the current rise in support. Dion sits at 41%, and I believe these calculations have been conservative throughout.
Dion only needs to appeal to 35% of the electorate to win a minority, high 30`s, touching 40% to win a majority. The Liberals start with 30% as their core support, all Dion needs to do is convince another 5-10% of the electorate to get behind his proposals and he could form the next government. When you frame the argument within this lens, bold becomes possible, risky becomes reasonable.
If you do a regional breakdown of support, the opportunities are that much more pronounced. If you go further and accept the rural vs urban argument, you see again how that works to the Liberals traditional strengths, how the supposed erosion occurs where there was never any opportunity in the first place.
I think it`s important to keep focused moving forward, don`t get distracted by all the noise, all the doom and gloom commentary, because it really is all about building the Dion coalition, a coalition of voters that only needs to peck away at the soft perimeter of other support to get over the hump. In the end, it all boils down to a pretty simple argument, Dion is really only interested in a fraction of the electorate, he doesn`t have to convince the entire nation, he doesn`t even need anywhere near majority support, he only needs to convince a small percentage outside of his base to win the day.