Monday, October 06, 2008

Convergence

New numbers from NANOS and Decima, which are now in relative agreement. I think this similarity important, because the narrative of a Conservative downturn, a tightening race, has more weight, when we now have multiple sources, less opportunity for the media to hide behind whichever poll suits their bias.

NANOS shows little change from yesterday, the 4% gap now 5%. NANOS shows a further Conservative slide in all important Ontario, and like Decima, a strong NDP showing. On leadership, Dion bests Layton, but on best PM, Layton is now in new high terrority.

The Decima poll brings some striking trends. What was a 15% gap a mere THREE days ago, has narrowed to just 7%, as both the Liberals and NDP capitalize on failing Conservative fortunes. These Conservative numbers are pretty much bottom, so the Liberals need to consolidate some center-left support if they have a chance. In Ontario, the Conservatives are down to an extremely low 27%, but the NDP are up to a new high of 24% (Liberals 33%). In Quebec, Decima finally shows the Liberal bounce, up a full 10% in just two days, to a very encouraging 27%, within striking distance of the Bloc at 33%, the Conservatives support falling off a cliff, now at 18%, NDP stuck.

Liberals up noticeably with male voters, a full 7%. Dion now pulls even with Harper on favorable/unfavorable numbers, which may be the most important sub sample of all. It's all about Harper for the Conservatives, if Dion is relatively competitive, advantage Liberals.

What is becoming clear now, if the Liberals are too close the gap further, it must come at the expense of the NDP and Greens. There is no question the NDP are showing real strength, particularly in Ontario. One has to wonder how the economic argument plays in the final days, but while the Liberal numbers are solid, they need to draw the center-left support.

That aside, this week's narrative of a Conservative slump is cemented and it will be interesting to see the war room react to real negativity, the free ride over, some tightening around the collar, or sweater, as the case may be.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the Liberals will have much better luck squashing the Green Party than the NDP since the Greens have no money, no organization and no credibility whatsoever on economic issues.

In some ways the NDp and the Liberals complement each other in this campaign. The NDP through its economically populist campaign is able to attract a segment of the disaffected Tory vote that the Liberals would have a hard time attracting. Instead of seeing the NDP and Liberals as "spoilers" for each other - maybe we are a pincer movement!

WesternGrit said...

Question is, do we want to "wear" the economy, with a minority government of our own? Sure, our policies will position the country best to handle the coming storm, but if it is really bad, nothing will save us (keeping in mind, our plan has been proven to work in European countries - with some lead time - they have virtually "US-economy-proofed" their economies).

Still, it may be better to see a Conservative minority (yuck, hate saying that), to let Harper wear this egg a little longer. No-one will pull the plug on an election quickly - with Dion's strong performances. Dion can be up front every single time in Parliament first - saying we will NOT support the Conservative motion, and let the Dippers or Bloc prop up the Cons... Then, we strike... after a couple of years of fund-raising.

Funds are critical here. I think Harper will not DARE force an election now...

Steve V said...

I'm not sure I agree. The Liberals will be inheriting this mess, which means plenty of latitude to get it right. Harper would be gone, the Conservatives invested in a long fight to replace him, with a bunch of mediocre candidates. So, in two years, things will be much different, if you believe the analysts we should be coming out...

Steve V said...

anon

I'm still not sold that the NDP look credible on the economy, especially in Ontario. I still expect a late decider break for us, if we look credible. We'll see...

Anonymous said...

The NDP ballot question is about who will protect the interests of ordinary people during economic tough times. I still haven't figured out what the Liberal ballot question is. I guess it must be "Elect us because Bob Rae can be trusted to be in charge during a recession".

Bob Rae is a Liberal (some say he always was) - he is your problem now.

Joseph said...

Again, I have to say the myth that somehow it is "better" to have a Harper minority government come Oct 15 is a HUGE mistake.

You don't reward bad governments with more time so they can screw things up more than they already have. Bush 2004 should never have happened for that reason. Same goes with Harper in 2008.

The last thing Canada needs is a muddling Harper who ignored a brewing economic crisis, manages to hold a minority, manages to muddle his way through rough times into a fragile recovery.

Mark my words. If that happens, he will turn around, cut the strings of whatever minority agreement that managed to be forged, claim the minority "held him back" from acting more decisively, and then launch a new election wearing the mantle of "having led the nation through dark days."

It won't matter at that point how he destroyed the financial buffer the Liberals took years to build, allowed the economy to sink into recession, and was forced to take measures to lessen the pain. He'll just rosy himself up for the recovery and take credit. You do not want to risk being on the receiving end of that campaign. Voters have notoriously short memories, especially when they are feeling better.

Besides, at the end of the day, progressive governments WILL lead the world out of the current economic crisis. And Canada needs a place at the table, not be the one with the last remaining Bush clone.

Please STOP the foolish idle speculation about being "better off" with a Harper minority government during this time of financial crisis.

You're playing with fire.

There is a week to win this election. That ought to be the focus.

Steve V said...

anon

Yes, telling the world you are going to reverse corporate taxes right now is a sure fired way to instill confidence in the markets. Is Jack itching for a depression, rather than a painful recession? Outdated socialism, a real winner for sure.

Anonymous said...

BTW - speaking of economic credibility. There is a report from the Fed Finance Dept. that offers some interesting data. (Before the Libloggers freak - yes i am chatting up provincial territorial numbers since the NDP has not formed federal govt.....yet)

FACT ABOUT NDP FISCAL RECORD

(Report)...It shows that when you look at the performance of provincial and territorial governments for the past 21 years (looking at the surplus/deficit numbers) NDP governments do better than any other party as fiscal managers.

NDP govts kept the books in the black 48% of the years they governed while Cons kept them in the black for 41% and Liberals kept the in the black ONLY 23% of the time

http://www.fin.gc.ca/toce/2007/frt07_e.html

This is the last week. It will be all about the economy. The Liberal Party will try and convince everyone they are the best fiscal managers even though they are proposing to spend twice as much as NDP and are slashing corporate tax and proposing to rewrite the entire income tax code in the middle of the worst global economic crisis since the great depression.

h/t davenewdem at rabble.ca

Steve V said...

joseph

Agreed!

Steve V said...

anon

Does this mean Jack will flip flop and support the corporate tax cuts from the last two NDP provincial governments? Why isn't Jack attacking Doer?

Steve V said...

And, maybe when the Jackster clues into the irreversable reality of a global economy, I might take him seriously. HONESTLY, he just sounds completely out to lunch on the economy, beyond the catchy phrasing.

Anonymous said...

The NDP wants to re-set corporate taxes to the level they were at when Paul Martin was in power. interesting that the Liberals reject that and suddenly have a love affair with Tory tax policies that were introduced after the Liberals left power.

Steve V said...

Um, I think the Liberals always favored further taxcuts, like the NDP's Doer and Calvert.

Look, you've bought in, I think he's completely clueless, using outdated rhetoric. That's just me.

Anonymous said...

What could be more outdated that Dion doing his red-baiting "The NDP are scary socialists" what does he think this is - the McCarthy era?

Steve V said...

It would only be outdated if it weren't true. Did you see the CBC piece, where they showed the NDP leader in the 70's using the verbatum language of Layton today. Now, that was scary!

BTW, when's the last time Layton sat at the kitchen table??

Scotian said...

This idea I see from some that it is better to let Harper stay in minority to deal with a worsening economy not only is dangerous as Joseph noted but is also looking at this purely from a partisan political perspective and not the greater perspective of what is best for Canadians and Canada as a whole. Harper has shown he is unfit to govern the Canadian economy and fiscal framework, to leave him in power during this time of crisis is to invite further damage and devastation to the citizenry as a whole.

I would suggest to all those favouring letting Harper win because it would be allowing him to wear the economic mess instead of the Libs risking it by trying to actually cope/deal with it need to remember that this election is not about what is best for the Libs, but the nation as a whole. That being Harper removed from power, period. Besides, it won't be the first time the Libs came in after a Con economic mess and had to clean up the mess, indeed by doing so they help underscore they are the true managers of the Canadian economy. This election is important to remove Harper, period. Let anything get in the way of that and you invite further long term devastation to Canada's institutions and democratic institutions and progressive nature. Harper has to go, period.

ottlib said...

joseph and Scotian:

Although I agree that the Liberals should not be trying to lose the election I also agree that a loss where the Conservatives have another weak minority government would not be the end of the world.

First of all, most of what Mr. Harper has done is temporary and he would be unable to do much of anything else with another minority government. This is particularly true as any agenda he would have would be hijacked by the economy. As well, there is really not much the government can do to prevent or even reasonably mitigate the fallout from the coming economic storm so the next government will not be able to do much regardless of their political affiliation.

Second, I am thinking about the future of Canada. Historically, political parties that have the misfortune of governing during an economic downturn rarely win elections during or just after those downturns. Voters blame the governing party for their problems and tend to punish them.

So, what will probably happen is we will have a minority government on October 15, which means we will have another election within 12-18 months. In all likelihood the party in power will lose and the winning party will probably win with a majority government. The anger and angst created by an economic downturn will galvanize voters to toss the bums out, whoever that may be, in a decisive fashion.

Now I ask you. Who would you prefer to win that majority government in 12 to 18 months? If is all the same to you I would prefer the Liberals. Not because I am partisan but because in the long run I believe the Liberals would be the best party to bring us out of a recession.

As well, I am not convinced that if the Conservatives lose that Mr. Harper will be put out to pasture. If they lose it will not be by much and he will probably be able to hang on to his position.

So again I ask you. Who would you prefer to be leading the majority government in 12-18 months, Stephen Harper or Stephane Dion?

If the Liberals win this election that is great. I will cheer along with everybody else who wants this Conservative government gone. However, I will also have a nagging fear of what will happen in the not too distant future. If they lose it by a small margin I do not see it as being a great disappointment. I could live with that and I would look forward to doing this all over again in about a year to a year-and-a-half.

Joseph said...

Ottlib,

I respect your assessment of the situation, and thoughout this election what I have hoped is that Harper will be prevented from getting a majority.

Where we disagree is the assessment of how that plays out if he gets another minority government. I just don't believe the rosy scenario that Harper will be put out to pasture by the voters in the next election if he forms another government now.

I just don't see it playing out that way, no matter what history may show.

I still feel the risk is too great for Harper to manipulate the power and degrade Canada's institutions even further, as scotian described better than I.

And as I see it, Harper starts with a power base of about 30% at this point in time. So I think if he is claims the cloak of "weathering an economic crisis" - as he will even if not deserved - then after the recover begins, he will be in a much better position to manipulate the electorate just enough to obtain a majority.

For that reason, I would still rather see the plug pulled now so that real long-term solutions on the environment and economy and social and physical infrastructure can begin in place of more patches by a conservative government governing just for the next election.

At the end of the day, we will live with either scenario, of course. But I instinctively recoil from the suggestion that it is "ok" if Harper continues to act as PM. I would much prefer to see his term end now, not some supposed time in the future.

Miles Lunn said...

I concur, the Liberals need to get the Green and NDP support to solidify things. The Tory support is probably at its floor now. Also, I would argue the Liberals need to get the younger votes out, because if you look at both the Ipsos and Ekos which give the age breakdown, the Tories are polling around 45% amongst the over 50 crowd and this group tends to have the highest voter turnout, so as I have said before, the higher the voter turnout, the worse the Conservatives will do, the lower the turnout, the better they will do.

It is true whoever takes over will have a difficult time, that being said a lot will depend on how long the next minority lasts. If lasts under a year, then yes that party will likely get turfed, but if it last a full 2 years or longer, it should be re-elected as we will likely have entered recovery mode by then.

Anonymous said...

"BTW, when's the last time Layton sat at the kitchen table??"

I've been to his house. he likes to cook and likes to chat at his kitchen table all the time.

burlivespipe said...

I don't necessarily think the CONs have bottomed out. Remember, this is a hybrid of what Canadians are familiar with - the ol' PC comfort zone doesn't necessarily exist. Many of those PCers who have wandered into the CON tent are also aware of the scent of so-con thoughts a-brewin. Some of them had strayed to the Liberal zone during the past 10 years, due to the PC disintergration and Martin/Chretien's fiscal management. I'm thinking the CONs bottom is a few points lower, around 29%... Confidence in Harper has been tested this past month with all the double-talk, his high-spending act but fiscal-cautious talk, the plagarism for the Iraq invasion, and the blunders of Ritz et all. Should the listeria issue rise to its rightful level of media scrutiny, and Harper's ignorance of the general public's concern over the economy (remember, the first questioner of the english-language debate asked about the economy? Harper's answer was to ignore the question and go after Dion for bringing forward a policy idea) continue, then I expect the CONs to start to panic. Right now, they've still got some wiggle room to get out of this problem. Dion and team need to turn up the heat.

Steve V said...

If anyone doubts for one second that Layton isn't clueless on the economy read this piece. What a perfect day to go after the banks and their record profits Jack, do you have one iota of political instinct when it comes to the economy. My goodness, I actually laughed. Nice strategy guys.