Thursday, August 05, 2010

All Depends

For the second time this year, a pollster has pegged support for both main parties below 30% concurrently- a dynamic never seen before. This poll is sort of a mixed bag from the Liberal perspective. On the one hand, hard to argue with a statistical tie, given polling of recent months. As well, Liberal support shows an uptick, coming off the almost dangerous levels we've seen recently. For these reasons, a bit of optimism is warranted.

This poll is a very bad result for the Conservatives, showing serious erosion from both their 2008 and 2006 election totals. That these numbers come during the supposedly favorable summer break is all the more concerning. Also an issue, despite the perceived strength of the Canadian economy, international praise, this government is seeing no benefit to their fortunes. The problems for the Conservatives would be more discussed I suspect, if not for one simple fact- the Liberals aren't capitalizing. Go back a few years, to the last time the Conservatives were scoring at the 30% level and you had a Liberal party well in the lead, forming a steady minority government. Today, the Conservatives at the same level, and yet their anemic competition would still allow a slender Conservative minority. In other words, the Conservatives don't receive full negative analysis, because the Liberals are perpetually stalled, unable to capitalize. Voters are looking beyond BOTH parties, the 13% plus Green number in Ontario a prime example. As I said when the Conservatives had a sizeable lead, if you look carefully, there is really no love in the land for either option.

An improved poll from the Liberal perspective, but really a fascinating testament to a very fractured and unimpressed electorate.


Anonymous said...

I wish we had a better number showing voter intentions. How many of those polled would actually follow-up and vote?

I suspect that the undecided/disaffected vote is substantially higher than any time in history. If we factor that into the low polling numbers across the board and our FPTP system, we may wind up with a very surprising result come next election.

rob said...

Good analysis. The Green Party vote usually doesn't hold for elections. I guess people feel comfortable parking their vote there, but when it is time to actually vote, they want to vote for a party that might win. I'd be interested in your (or anyone else's) view on this.

If this happens again, I wonder if we can predict where those Green party votes go? I would assume either to the Liberals or NDP.

Steve V said...

What's interesting, in the last Ontario election, the Green vote did in fact hold. I don't think it will hold at these levels, but these polls show voters are dissatisfied with the status quo (that goes for you the NDP as well).

"I suspect that the undecided/disaffected vote is substantially higher than any time in history."

I agree with that, and I think this is the narrative that really needs attention.

rob said...

What's interesting, in the last Ontario election, the Green vote did in fact hold.

I didn't know that. That is interesting. I did find it striking that that pollster said that if the Greens were going to win a seat or two, it would be in Ontario. Usually their best chance is off the coast of BC.

DL said...

Its not quite true that the Green held their vote in the Ontario election. While they did get about 8% which is what the final polls of the campaign pegged them at - before the writ was dropped they were getting as high as 12 or 13%. Similarly in the last BC election after consistently polling in the mid to high teens between elections, the Green ended up with 8%.

I really don't understand why Ekos prompts for "Other" in addition to Green - it just further inflates the "none of the above" vote (Other got only 1% in the last election)

Steve V said...

Oh really DL?? Before writ was dropped you say?,_2007#Opinion_polls

What is it with you NDP stooges and the Green Party? It's so funny to be honest, the way the fangs always come out. The Greens held their vote in the last Ontario election, by any FAIR measure.

Steve V said...

Looks like the NDP vote didn't hold ;)

crf said...

Ontario is still leaning too conservative for the Liberals to think that they could get the most seats. But I think the Conservatives are most vulnerable there.

Ontario is the engine of Canada's economy: that's a phrase that Iggy could expound upon in ways Harper could not.

ottlib said...

I cannot say why the topic of conversation is not more about how badly the government is doing. When Paul Martin was in power that was all the media could talk about even though he usually averaged robust leads over the Conservatives in the horse race and interal estimates.

We should ask the media why they are not saying the same things about a government that is doing much worse.

However, I do not believe we can blame it on the Liberals not capitalizing. The two cases where the Liberals lead the Conservatives by wide margins since 2006 were the results of a confluence of factors.

The first was Stephen Harper completely missing the boat on GW and GHGs, when Canadians were very worried about both, during Stephane Dion's honeymoon as Liberal Leader.

The second was the fall-out from the first Harper proroguation during Michael Ignatieff's honeymoon period.

In both cases the Liberals did not maintain their leads for the long-term.

The best we have seen outside of Liberal Leader honeymoons has been ties, like the one we see today and they tend to be short-lived as well.

Even so, these tied situations are extraordinary because it is very rare for a sitting government not to be leading its chief opponent outside of an election.

As well, no government looking at their sixth year in power can be very happy about horse race estimates that put it in the high 20 range. Old governments (and the Harper government is getting long in the tooth) find it very difficult to build support once they have lost it because the people who desert it tend to do so permanently.

I am certain that the Conservatives will rebound. After all, they are the incumbent but I would be suprised if they are ever able to maintain estimates above the 35% mark for any length of time and I doubt we will ever see them get close to "majority" territory ever again.

Jerry Prager said...

Rob: Last election in Guelph the Green candidate was third to the NDP's fourth place. A different candidate, more green capitalist than environmentalist this time, so maybe he'll pull old PC votes but he's already alienated the local environmentalist via his actions as a Guelph City Councillor, so this time the Greens will finish behind the NDP, the Cons will again poll second and the Liberal incumbent will retain his seat. Next time, the PC Greens and the Environmental Greens might come to a better understanding and so that Party might yet grow.
In the larger picture, I think Ignatieff is going to benefit from the votes of former PC's, especially in Ontario.

DL said...

"What is it with you NDP stooges and the Green Party? It's so funny to be honest, the way the fangs always come out."

What is it with you Liberal stooges and the NDP? It's so funny to be honest, the way the fangs always come out.

Its no way to treat a party you will almost certainly have to work as a team with in a coalition government after the next election. Let's bury the hatchet and start learning to work together.

Steve V said...

Given that 90% of your commentary has been juvenile Lib bashing, the hypocrisy is staggering. Such a joKe DL, you really, really are.

Tof KW said...

While all you say about past posts is soooo true Steve, I’ll give DL the benefit of a doubt about the sincerity of co-operation here. I think all of us from ex-PCers & steadfast Grits, to the left-most NDP supporters, and the various shades of Greens; are all frustrated at the steaming heap of dung that’s been the government now for nearly 6 years. My disagreements with the Reformatories are well documented, but his census move is a new low for me as this can affect business decisions in the future …and that affects my wallet. I don’t care what it takes but Harper & his minions must be gone before any more of his purely ideological motives destroy this country.

BTW – my own local Chamber of Commerce is against this census move (aside from the Ontario and national Chambers) - which should say something.

Steve V said...

I don't think it's sincere in the least. We see this passive aggressive nonsense everytime the NDP get a scent of power and the Liberals are the conduit. As soon as it falls apart, we go back to this nonsensical venom. You want to be treated like adults, maybe start acting like one.

DL said...

I've seen plenty of "nonsensical venom" from Liberals directed at the NDP. Liberals seem to have this delusional notion of fair-play whereby they are allowed to throw all the mud they want at their opponents - while their opponents are supposed to roll over on their backs and play dead. Welcome to the real world where corrosive ad hominem Liberal attacks on other parties will meet with retaliation.

Steve V said...

Please. I'm SO tired of the victim mentality. Do yourself a favor, compare which blogroll, which party press releases, which speeches, which commentary, spends more time trashing which party. Then get back to me. Retaliation is right, and you'll note my general criticism is merely a "you're just like everyone else" view of the NDP.

I've VOTED for the NDP before....