Today's Hill Times piece on the looming Conservative attack ads also includes some discussion about election timing. The attack ads are slated to begin this summer, as the Conservatives pour over Ignatieff's past (as an aside, do the Cons really want to rehash old opinions, given the buffet of quotes from Harper, wherein he's pretty much bashed everything about this country, not to mention adding weight to the "hidden agenda" meme?). A surprise to know one, and the timing is really the perfect opportunity for the Conservatives to try and "define" Harper.
I suspect the Liberals will fight back, but given the mood of the country, I'm not sure a pissing match serves anybody's interests, so we must be careful in our response. I would argue, any retort merely highlights the Conservatives pre-occupation with partisan nonsense during a economic meltdown, rather than the typical negative ad counter. In that way, we present a negative frame, focus attention to the misguided priorities, without rolling in the muck. Any response must undercut the Conservatives attacks, while simultaneously maintaining the high ground, a sense that the Liberals have their priorities in order.
The article also debates the merits of a June election call versus the fall. I was a supporter of a an early election, but more and more I appreciate the merits of waiting. When one adds up the pros and cons, each period entertained brings a conflicted ledger. More time allows the Liberals to achieve optimal readiness on a host of fronts, but we don't operate in isolation and these looming attack ads are one example of the counter. Plug in the uncertainty, relating to where the economy is headed, whether Harper can argue the "worst is behind us" come fall, and it's an even more complex decision.
I'm curious where people fall on election timing, whether we should wait or ramp up now for a quick call after the convention. I thought I'd put up a poll and welcome feedback, because I don't think it's an simple calculation: