Sunday, December 07, 2008

On Electability

Very striking findings from Angus Reid, that show a wide gulf in voter preference, depending on which leader the Liberals ultimately choose. I admit some surprise, given the circumstances, that Ignatieff is not only competitive with Harper, but in position to actually win, if you breakdown the regional numbers. The same can't be said of Rae, who lags far behind, results that would translate to a Conservative majority. These findings mirror early leadership hypotheticals, although the AR result is more pronounced.

What I find exciting, an Ignatieff led Liberal Party looks a potent force in Quebec and British Columbia. Nationally, it's 38% for the Cons, 33% for the Libs, 13% for the NDP with Ignatieff at the helm. That's a great result in and of itself, particularly when you see a full 20% for the Cons at this moment, with this pollster. Even more intriguing, Ignatieff is very competitive in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, but it's the Quebec numbers that suggest optimism:
Bloc 38%
Libs 33%
Cons 17%
NDP 8%

By comparison, Rae would receive 19% in Quebec, while the Cons are at 22%, Bloc 41%. I firmly believe that after the last election, there is a real opportunity for the Liberals to re-establish themselves in Quebec. This belief has only solidified in the last week, because Harper has essentially damaged himself beyond repair in Quebec, the right Liberal candidate COULD make huge gains. Ignatieff easily looks the best option in Quebec, a fact which is of chief importance.

I was also encouraged to see how Ignatieff polled in British Columbia, 32% is a great number for any Liberal, and again much better than Rae, who draws 25%.

When you start playing around with the regionals, you can actually make a credible case that Ignatieff has enough broad support to win an election. Another item that stuck out, despite this perception of Rae as "left", Ignatieff as "centrist", the NDP actually do worse if Ignatieff were leader, down to 13% (5% less than what the pollster gives them today), while they score 15% against Rae.

There is one other finding, in this poll, that needs to be considered. Canadians impressions of Harper have worsened considerably, as a result of recent events. While Dion's numbers are even worse, it's largely irrelevant, because Dion is a temporary circumstance. That means, when the dust settles, the Liberals will present a fresh face, a new identity, while the Conservatives will be led by a man who's stature is lessened, who has more baggage than he had in the last election. If Liberals are to maximize any advantage, this poll, like one's prior, show Ignatieff is our best hope.

27 comments:

Mike said...

Dion was ahead by 5 points after leadership was finished at at 30% in Quebec. Then the attack ads rolled in and we never recovered in the polls and then only got worse in an election campaign.

So I think it's a safe bet to assume that because there's never been any attack ads against Ignatieff (there actually was against Rae in the last election interestingly), that whatever we see at the time our leader is elected will end 5 points lower after the attack ad barrage. Rest assured the ads are already ready for BOTH Rae and Ignatieff.

That still puts Ignatieff ahead of Rae, but let's not get too confident here. The Conservatives have material that could seriously damage them both.

Ignatieff better hope he doesn't start pulling too far ahead of Rae as the sure winner lest the Conservatives already start rolling the ads against him. The only thing that spares Ignatieff the attack ad barrage starting next week and lasting for the next 5 is that the Cons aren't yet sure he'll win, he better hope it stays that way.

whopitulia said...

It will be interesting to see what the poll numbers do after public debates. I only hope it's all over quickly and the membership gets to vote.

Steve V said...

Mike

Don't confuse a leadership convention BOUNCE as indicative of anything, or extrapolate that onto someone else.

Mike said...

Ok Steve. But if you think millions of dollars of weeks straight attack ads won't bring Ignatieff down at least 5 points in the polls from where he sits at that time you must know something I don't. I won't be surprised if the Cons start running ads against both Rae and Ignatieff starting next week now that they are assured LeBlanc is out of the picture.

The party has no money to fight back and nor can they favour one candidate over another in their response. We have to be realistic here and not have blinders on, polls are just a snapshot.

Steve V said...

Mike

Who has blinders on? The Cons will unleash a shitstorm against the new Liberal leader, wow that's a shocker. We start in a stronger position with Ignatieff, that's the point. Saying, oh don't get excited, because the attacks are coming, is irrelevant, because any Liberal leader faces that cirucmstance, it's a given. The question for Liberals, are we better able to respond, have we learned anything from the past.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that both John Turner and Kim Campbell polled quite well till they actually had to campaign in a general election.

If Iggy can keep his mouth shut he may win the leadership but surely his gaffe-prone, lack-of-executive-experience means big risks down the road.

liberazzi said...

Steve:

This idea hit me tonight, based on some of your ideas and others. Let me know what you guys think and if there are any holes in it:

Assuming that Dion resigns this week, this is what I propose, which is an amalgamation of ideas.

Since the constitution would only allow the caucus an emergency vote should Dion resign without a convention, I propose the following:Let the caucus decide, but only upon the "guidance" of the membership. Allow a riding vote or a one member one vote scenario, but the caucus would have to follow the vote of the members. It is a work around that allows the best of both worlds. It gets around the constitution, but allows members a say. Non?

Therefore, if Rae or Iggy gets the most membership votes, then the caucus would have to vote for that candidate. Now if it were a riding vote, then that MP would have to vote for the candidate that won that riding, regardless of their affiliation.I think it works, quite exited actually about this idea. If everyone is in agreement then we should promote the hell out of this idea and make the executive listen!

The vote by the members would be non-binding, but the MPs would have to agree ahead of it to follow the result when they vote for a new leader. Is there any reason why anyone would oppose this idea?

kheimbuch said...

Interesting and hopeful!

any ideas why it seems that Iggy as leader could lead to lessening support for the NDP? (It doesn't seem to make sense to me in terms of correlation etc..)

A BCer in Toronto said...

any ideas why it seems that Iggy as leader could lead to lessening support for the NDP?

I think it's because the traditional knocks in Ignatieff are off base. There's a lot about him that can appeal to groups of NDP supporters. His experience working for human rights, for example, his work with the UN, and as a documentary journalist bring attention to the cause of oppressed peoples.

A number of my academic friends on the left are very intrigued about a Liberal Party led by Michael.

Steve V said...

anon

That "gaffe prone" stuff is ancient history, unless of course it's still 2006. Get over it.

lib

The only problem with that, what about all the ridings without an MP?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't read too much into that poll with regard to Ignatieff. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Canadians don't actually know much about Iggy. Unless you are one of the 2% of the population who are political junkies - he is basically just a name. On top of that by virtue of having had a low profile over the past while and never having run anything before - people can project whatever they want onto him. He may be a good leader or he may not be. There is a lot about Iggy that Canadians may NOT like. He comes across as a very upper class patrician. He doesn't have a populist bone in his body. he is still a relatively inexperienced politician who could easily screw things up. Who knows?

Also, who knows what Iggy actually thinks of the coalition. He may have tried to play at being lukewarm when he was just a candidate for the leadership. But once he is actually Liberal leader - suddenly, sticking with the coalition means he gets sworn in as PM as early as Jan. 28!! That sure beats possibly waiting a year before that happens - if ever.

Steve V said...

anon

And, there's a lot Canadians MAY like too. You're saying a whole lot of nothing here. I'll take this finding, it's not the first one, it's a solid starting position. Period.

liberazzi said...

Steve:

Didnt think about that. Then it would have to be a total membership vote and the MPs would have to vote unanimous for whoever comes out on top and respect the vote of the members.

It is the only way to get around the constitution, but still respecting the members.

If Iggy is voted in on Wed, then you will have people like Curran screaming blue murder. I think in order to passify Rae and his supporters he will have to be offered a plum job. If Iggy is the man, I hope we can finally stop the leadership crap and move on to the real business at hand. ALL LIBERALS MUST REALIZE THIS FOR ONCE THE GOOD OF THE PARTY. If we dont we are doomed to be in opposition for a long time.

Finally, the convention in Van needs to be turned into a policy convention, Iggy promised;)

Anonymous said...

I agree that Canadians MAY like Iggy. But the reality is that right now, very few people know anything about him - so I think that polls showing that he is more popular than Rae etc... are almost meaningless. I wonder how well the Liberals would do in a poll if led by a fictitious person named Craig Wolverhampton??

liberazzi said...

Reading CBC it looks like Iggy will be made interim, not permanent on Wed, with a ratification in Van. What happens to Rae then?

Steve V said...

anon


If you think those Rae numbers are meaningless, then... Voters don't know any of these people well, most still consider Harper an enigma for cripes sake. It all comes down to a few superficial perceptions and three soundbites. That's the average voter, so arguing that pitfalls await, once a deeper understanding arises, fails to acknowledge just how completely apathetic most of us are.

Steve V said...

lib

That's exactly what Herle floated on Friday, although "interim" was left out. I'm okay with that, but I think we should be more proactive now. There is no logistical barrier to having some kind of consultation straight away, flawed but adequate, something to rubberstamp so we can all cry legitimacy.

RuralSandi said...

Well, Brian Wilfert said on Newsnet tonight that he is supporting Ignatieff and he gave many reasons. He said that Ignatieff really listens when you talk to him.

And, don't be naive - the CPC have probably had attack ad packages ready for each and every candidate, including LeBlanc, who apparently is dropping out since they let their intentions be known. None of them will escape that.

What can be learned from Obama's race - when attacked he responded right away and it worked.

Dion and John Kerry did not respond like they should have.

Anonymous said...

Rae is much more of a known quantity than Iggy. many people already know what they think of him - so if polls show he would do badly - i agree he probably would. My point is that i take polls that show Iggy sweeping the country with a big grain of salt because right now he is unknown to the vast majority of people. He's just a name.

Steve V said...

" My point is that i take polls that show Iggy sweeping the country with a big grain of salt"

No shit. That's why I say a good "starting" point.

Steve V said...

Rural

On thing to consider, I don't recall our caucus consulting me on whether or not Liberals support a coalition with the NDP. Nope, they just went ahead on their own, but nobody is crying foul on that crucial decision, that has NEVER been floated to the membership. Selective outrage.

liberazzi said...

In any event, I am looking forward to a new era happening sooner rather than later.

Steve V said...

So am I, finally we can turn the page.

liberazzi said...

However, lets not kid ourselves, Iggy is not the magic bullet. This is only step one. Yet, I am not to worried about the Harper attack machine, I think Iggy will counterattack much better than Dion.

Steve V said...

Nobody is kidding themselves, but don't deny the possibilities of "new". It will be, what we make of it, but a fresh start will do wonders for morale.

joyce said...

Today, Ignatieff framed the question on the coalition with an acknowledgement that it could succeed where Harper's budget fails. This is encouraging.

Mushroom said...

"Another item that stuck out, despite this perception of Rae as "left", Ignatieff as "centrist", the NDP actually do worse if Ignatieff were leader, down to 13% (5% less than what the pollster gives them today), while they score 15% against Rae."

Iggy also appeals to the soft left, votes that Layton and Mulcair tee off on in the last election. A more articulate version of Stephane Dion.

"The Cons will unleash a shitstorm against the new Liberal leader, wow that's a shocker. We start in a stronger position with Ignatieff, that's the point."

Attacking Iggy also means surrendering the centre right. It leaves the Cons hostage to gun nuts and bible freaks. They can win one election, even a majority this way. They can't win another one as McCain and Palin showed.

"On thing to consider, I don't recall our caucus consulting me on whether or not Liberals support a coalition with the NDP."

It was a top-down effort by some of Dion's closest advisors. They railroad the caucus and the keystone cops effort happened to be Dion's last stand. Many Grit voters sat on their hands in the last election, who knows how many will do this with the coalition front and centre.