Thursday, May 20, 2010

In Search Of Bobby Fischer

First off, obviously a very poor result for the Liberals, so let's just absorb that now consistent reality. Rather than the usual hand wringing- because frankly nobody listens anyways and everybody sees the phantom traction just around the next issue corner- I'd like to focus on a curious new paradigm, which ultimately leaves little in the way of bragging rights for any of the main parties.

Yes, the Conservatives have opened up a big lead against the Liberals. But, isn't it interesting, that despite the Liberals now polling below the abysmal 2008 election total, we still see the Conservatives and NDP each off around 3% from their election results? Poll vs election comparison, which addresses a wider point that has now become common:
Cons 34.4% (37.7%)
Libs 25.1% (26.3%)
NDP 15.3% (18.2%)
Greens 12% (6.9%)
Bloc 10.6% (10%)

People can quibble with the Green vote, but let's not forget that last election, as well as in the Ontario provincial election, the polling did manifest to the voter booth. I'm not saying the Greens will do this well in an election, merely this total speaks to the growing disgust amongst voters with the other parties. The fact that the Cons, Libs and NDP are all DOWN, at the same time, is a new development in Canadian politics. It used to be, that we would see the seesaw effect, or the NDP bleeding away supporters, but now you have a pathetic Liberal tally, accompanied by less than 2006 totals for the Cons, and the NDP not only failing to capitalize but bleeding as well.

This poll, and other recent ones, highlight a simple fact- no main party is capturing the imagination of voters, they are bored to tears and generally turned off by all of you. Not the partisans, the base, but the "up for grabs" voter is lost in the inspirational desert. The big Conservative lead doesn't bring the usual fear, because there is no real momentum here, voters just skimming the surface, drifting around, impressed by no one. As a matter of fact, it has become quite clear that these results are largely meaningless, only an election can possible engage people, or cement their malaise with growing no shows.

I guess the question, is it even possible for cemented institutions to pivot wildly, and realize that the only answer is a provocative, challenging, assault on the status quo? Bold or bust- or maybe more rightly bold or hope the other guy is even LESS palatable and you "win" by default. I'd take the former, because clearly the cookie cutter approach isn't paying off thank you very much.


Jerry Prager said...

Amen, the hard right core is holding, the Liberals have no courage, because they have no convictions, and the NDP has nothing new to say. The hard right has no ethics, no morality, and only one agenda item, destroy liberal democracy, everything else is just facade and easily jettisoned. There are too many right wing liberals to defend democracy, and the party's underlying corporatism is by definition anti-democratic, so no hope or boldness there. And so the liberals and the democrats can't find common ground. Iggy has the pedigree, but no instincts, leaving the Greens the only bold party in the bunch. Even the Bloc is hemmed in by the contradictions of Quebec, a large rural extreme right, rooted in Duplessis era fascism, a moderate middle that is essential rouge, but inward looking, and a radical left, all bound together by self-preservation.

ottlib said...

Yep, a meaningless poll.

The Conservatives are enjoying an incumbent advantage but not much of one.

The Liberals are suffering the fate of all Official Opposition Parties in between elections.

The NDP is the NDP, 'nuff said.

You cannot really trust the Green's estimates because they are the only party that has major differences in their estimates across polling firms. Some like EKOS have them relatively high while others have them rather low. Which is the real situation for them? Who knows, but the safer bet would be they are lower than this poll indicates.

The question I would like to see pollsters asking is the "desire for change" question. Pollsters asked that as a matter of course for months leading up to the 2006 election and the media focused on that more than the actual horse race estimates because then as now they did not really mean much.

At any rate it is going to take an election to see any real change in these estimates. Until then these polls are only useful for our lazy MSM to fill column inches and to fill time slots.

Gallahad said...

This poll was commissioned by the evil CBC, and is not to be trusted.

Frank Graves, is a biased Liberal hack, and is not to be trusted.

The CPC, and Kory Teneyke, have informed us of these facts.

This poll is a LIE.

DL said...

Steve you could add to your chart that "Other" got less than 1% in the last election and this poll has it at 2.5% - so the big winners are Greens and "Others"...then again maybe "other" is all because they happened to poll a bunch of people in Simcoe-Grey who will vote for Helena Guergis come hell or high water if she runs as an independent!

Shiner said...

This poll, and other recent ones, highlight a simple fact- no main party is capturing the imagination of voters, they are bored to tears and generally turned off by all of you. Not the partisans, the base, but the "up for grabs" voter is lost in the inspirational desert. The big Conservative lead doesn't bring the usual fear, because there is no real momentum here, voters just skimming the surface, drifting around, impressed by no one. As a matter of fact, it has become quite clear that these results are largely meaningless, only an election can possible engage people, or cement their malaise with growing no shows.

That's the impression I've been getting. Not just from the polls, but from talk amongst friends and strangers. Even here in Ottawa, nobody cares. People are completely plugged out, and it's not even the dog days of summer yet.

Tof KW said...

Jerry Prager said...
"There are too many right wing liberals to defend democracy...'

OK Jerry I'll bite. Since I consider myself a fiscal conservative with a social liberalism bend, and probably to the right of the LPC - how exactly am I and my kind destroying democracy?

Is Harper and his firebrand populist version of conservatism destroying democracy? - You betcha! But Red Tories / Blue Grits are not part of that gang.

WesternGrit said...

It's like the UK. People are not happy with the majors. While there are enough distinctions of "policy" between the parties, when you have the conservatives constantly lying about their actual agenda (PMO says no debate on abortion, while their MPs clamor to put forth Private Member's Bills), and people perceiving party policy as simply platform planks, they just don't see the difference.

Fact is, with a populace so illiterate in politics in general, it is hard to describe/explain what a socialist is, vs. a moderate centrist, vs. a right-winger/reactionary. We need better civics lessons in school (perhaps mandatory ones). I've knocked far too many doors to see people who I quite rightly think should be voting NDP who say, "I'm voting Reform"... There are also many cases of the opposite. They seem not to understand the basic policy goals of any party (based on party ideology, and what the party stands for, and who the party is made up of), but rather only decide/vote when they see a platform ("Let me see what they promise").

I've been saying this for years, but what Liberals DO need to do is SELL IDEOLOGY. A series of ads defining "what is a Liberal?" What do we stand for. Not platform promises, but TRUE IDEOLOGY. We are the party of "middle/moderate Canada". Instead we are trading votes with parties who are extremes on either side of the spectrum (when compared to us in the middle).

As far as that old chestnut about liberals having "no convictions" - that's just a NeoCon machination. The very struction of modern Liberal Democracy is based on egalitarian liberal principles. Principles rooted in the ideals of Plutarch, Voltaire, and great free-thinkers throughout the ages.

RuralSandi said...

I wonder if the Green support is up due to the oil spill in the Gulf and environmental awareness is front and centre.

Scotian said...

The one number I would like to see that I don't get to is how many are undecided and how has THAT number changed over the weeks. If the pool of decided voters is shrinking consistently then that can explain what we are seeing as much as anything else, as well as pointing out an ever increasing number of volatile voters who may break for a party only during an election campaign when they actually have to decide where to vote. This is one of the reasons I don't pay much attention to these polls, telling me how decided voters are going to go without telling me what percentage of the overall voters they are versus the undecided/undeclared vote and which of these two groups is increasing I find misdirects more than enhances understanding of the reality of the electorate's mood.

I also remember how well Martin was doing right up until the last confidence vote he ever faced and lost, and look what happened there once the actual election happened, so if I was a CPC strategist I would not be as smug about these numbers as I suspect many in the online CPC circle are going to be.

Interesting post Steve V, and I suspect you catch the reality of the wider public with it reasonably well. I have never seen quite this strong of a pox on all your houses mood as we have been seeing if one believes these polls over the last several months. We shall see whenever the election finally happens what really happens.

JimBobby said...

I reckon Sandi has a good point. The oilspill has focused a lot of attention on the environment and environmentally concerned voters are looking at our own parties and policies wrt Arctic drilling and concessions to big oil, in general.

It looks like, incredibly enough, Ignatieff has managed to become even less popular than Dion. Dion wooed big-G and small-g greens while Ignatieff has apparently fallen into the false dichotomy of environment versus economy. That's Harper's position, too; witness the "sideshow" comment at the recent staged youth forum.

Ignatieff has blown off green support with his endorsement of the tar sands (reconfirmed in the past few days) and his absurd notion that nuclear energy is safe, clean and affordable. Does he really think that coming out in favour of the tar sands will deliver a single additional Alberta riding? Or is it that he really buys into the hype from big oil and the nuke industry? Either way, he's thrown away the green votes that Dion brought in.

The simple fact is that Ignatieff has failed to win over new LPC support and at the same time, he's come out looking like Harper-lite with regard to the oil industry and the environment, in general.

This poll was done prior to the real outcry on MP expenses. Ignatieff had a chance to make Layton and Harper look like they have something to hide if he would have made a definitive statement supporting Fraser's audits. Instead, he came out with a wishy-washy statement that he wants Fraser to meet with BOIE and tell them what she has in mind. She already did that and the committee rebuffed her. Does he think the public will accept a watered down audit?

Meanwhile, those Green who a few of you dismiss so cavalierly made a strong statement calling for full MP expense audits going back 10 years. Wait until the next poll.


Koby said...

Ottlib "The Liberals are suffering the fate of all Official Opposition Parties in between elections."

Sure in terms of poll numbers, yes that is the case. However, there are two important differences. One, Conservative fundraising machine dates back to the Reform party days. Core group actually believed in the party and their policies. No one believes in the Liberals. There is nothing to believe in. Two whereas the Reform party dicated much of the political discourse, the Liberal party is complete after thought these days.

WesternGrit said...

It's so funny how people think that just because the Liberal Party is a centrist party, they have no "core" or "base" of support. A vast majority of moderate Canadians are liberals - lifelong Liberals. My whole family (including parents and inlaws) is. There are literally millions of party stalwarts across Canada. The issue is that we are indeed RIGHT ACROSS CANADA. We are strong in urban areas, and even manage a roughly ongoing 25% "core" support on the Prairies...

We have a "base" - we just haven't been able to get them angry and/or excited lately... But it's slowly changing with a new party mechanism, and new leadership.


Jim said...

Soon a vast majority of Canadians will be conservatives.

Harper and the CPC have earned their majority. Like it or not he has been our PM for going on 5 years...and most Canadians are OK with it.

War criminals, abortion, Christian persecution, and to top it off, the sudden concern for Helena Guergis after demanding her head...the Libs really have a deathwish.

Anyway, feel free to have your guy threaten an election!


Marpman said...

I believe that faced with a real choice, a choice which will form the next government that people will make informed choices.
While the grassroots which are making up these polling numbers will remain, people will recognize the decision they are making.
Harper's government has been awful, both domestically and on the world stage. Harper must win a majority to survive and I doubt Canadians will give it to him, but they make their chances on his successor than with Ignatieff. It is unfortunate that someone with such incredible potential is unable to resonate with the Canadian people. A true waste of what could be. We are left with people like Baird, McKay, and (help me please) Day...among others.
I wish that Ignatieff could find a way to turn this just seems to not be his time.

Gene Rayburn said...

Jim that is an incredible load of horseshit even for you.

Steve V said...

Looks like cheap rye night at Jim's cave.

Tof KW said...

Jim said...
Soon a vast majority of Canadians will be conservatives.

Depends on the context, fiscally speaking most Canadians are already - who wants government spending wasted? Even that old charge that the NDP are socialists is totally inaccurate, they simply feel directing more resources for social projects would benefit the economy more than allowing corporations to profit. Well, that's a very simplistic take on this, but regardless of the logic errors (Greece being the ultimate example right now) they do not wish an end to private enterprise and the nationalization of all industries – which would be the proper definition of a socialist.

If you mean socially conservative …well I’ve got resort land on Hudson Bay to sell you. Recent polls continually show the larger majority of Canadians are fine with same-sex marriage, increasingly want simple marijuana possession de-criminalized (this is a debate within the Conservative party as well – surprised?) and just days ago 58% disapproved of Harper’s G8 initiative restricting abortions for developing nations (only 30% approved). Doesn’t sound like a very conservative society to me.

As for politically conservative, well if this was the case then Harper would have won a majority by now. He’s had the wind at his back since 2004 and still has not sealed the deal. At ~35% on this latest EKOS poll, that it is 3% below his 2008 level, and yes the Grits and NDP are all down below 2008 levels too …that’s the point of Steve’s post. Voters think all three choices suck.

But hey Jim, even internet trolls are entitled to their opinions …unlike Harper’s backbenchers.

Gene Rayburn said...

Oh I feel a Jim spazzout brewing!!!