Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some Evidence Ignatieff Gaining Traction

A small bit of "evidence" that this summer's tour is helping Ignatieff's fortunes. I'm sure the trends below would have given Mario Lague a small measure of satisfaction, with the summer tour he helped orchestrate.

First, the horserace numbers, which show a 9 point Conservative lead, down to 4, poll to poll:
Cons 33%(-3)
Libs 29%(+2)
NDP 19%(-1)
Greens 9%(+2)

Another pollster shows a closing trend. Of note, for Angus Reid, this result is the closest the two parties have been this year.

What is also noteworthy about this poll, the party leader numbers. At first blush, Ignatieff's numbers are objectively dismal, but using relativity and the all the important trendline, room for optimism is warranted:
Ignatieff's momentum—on the heels of his cross-country tour and appearances in the barbecue circuit—has increased markedly.

Ignatieff has ranked last on the AR momentum score for months and months. For this poll, Harper is noticeably weaker than Ignatieff, an entirely new dynamic.

When you drill down into the various questions, you see that more Canadians now see Harper as arrogant, compared to Ignatieff(42-35%) While Harper's number continues to rise, Ignatieff's are heading lower. The trend is important, when one considers a chief attack line revolves around this criticism. Overall:
The silver lining for Liberal supporters is the apparent recovery for Michael Ignatieff, who no longer is the de-facto third place finisher in the momentum category. His approval rating remains low at 14 per cent, but the numbers suggest that some people are starting to change their mind about him. For Stephen Harper, the summer did not provide a boost. A third of Canadians now have a worse opinion of the Prime Minister.

Ignatieff`s disapproval is down 6% in just one month, his approval remains unchanged. While still third on this measure, interesting to note Ignatieff is the only federal leader who showed no erosion. Reviewing some of the more detailed questions, you see a very noticeable move on a crucial point. Ignatieff is up 3% on the "in touch" measure, down 5% on "out of touch". This 8 point swing is important, because it represents Ignatieff's chief appearance hurdle. Harper NOW leads Ignatieff on this score.

A long way to go, but it's a good start.


KC said...

Are you kidding me? Ignatieff is not gaining any traction. The Conservatives have just been sooooo bad lately that their tires are almost bald (to borrow the traction metaphor). If Ignatieff is doing better in the polls its because of Harper's screw ups, not anything Ignatieff has done and certainly not his 'summer bbq tour'. If his disapproval numbers are down its only in juxtaposition to Harper.

In any event we've seen this cycle before--poll numbers, converge, poll numbers diverge, numbers converge, numbers diverge, and on and on.

Steve V said...

"not anything Ignatieff has done and certainly not his 'summer bbq tour'."

Yes, because positive stories have ZERO effect on perceptions, just as negative coverage never hurts.

"Are you kidding me?"

Who knows, but your attempt at intelligent rebuttal denotes a joke-like flavor.

CK said...

"Yes, because positive stories have ZERO effect on perceptions, just as negative coverage never hurts."

Steve, sadly, you're absolutely correct. Jane & joe canuck at Timmy Horton's seem to lead a rather Adams Family-ish life on that level. Who cares about good news? Or worse: bad news is good news and vice versa. Same for the tea-baggers south of the border.

Don't know if you went to an lpcx event, but I did when they were in Montreal. Iggy got a very warm response; a standing ovation when he walked in the room. He's nothing like the 'snooty arrogant professor' corporate media paints him to be.

I've heard from others who attended such events when the lpcx stopped in their cities and towns and heard good reviews.

Seems Natty Po and the Kory Klan over at Sun Media are intent on nitpicking and trashing the event.

While Harpercon polling numbers are more about his screw-ups than Iggy's tour, I don't think the tour hurt neither. I think in the long run, it will have helped him. He spent the summer actually meeting real Canadians and answering their questions; an idea just crazy enough to work. I think many of us wish more of our politicians did this kind of thing more often.

Iggy needs to continue this momentum somehow. Granted, it will be difficult to do, given the death of Mario Lague this morning and the loss of his principle secretary to the Quebec Charest Liberals, Jean-Marc Fournier, but it wouldn't be the first time the Liberals hit hard times and they will get past this too; I'm sure that's what Mr Lague would want.

ottlib said...

I have to agree to a certain extent with KC. The change in the estimates are probably more to do with the troubles the Conservatives have been having lately than the Liberal Express.

However, in the past it often happened that when the Conservatives took a hit the Liberals did not seem to benefit.

This poll would seem to indicate that is not the case this time around. The reason for that can be debated ad nauseum but the Liberal Express cannot be dismissed as a contributing factor.

As well, another contributing factor could be that Canadians are growing increasingly tired of the Conservatives and are beginning to lean towards the only other party they trust to govern. We cannot say that for certain because the pollsters in this country and their media clients have refused to ask the "desire for change" question on a consistant basis.

It is too early to say right now but this summer could be a turning point in the current political climate in this country.

The next few weeks and months could be interesting.

Steve V said...

Two points.

Not sure why people are confusing the Conservatives woes with a measure of what people think of Ignatieff.

Also, in the past when Harper has made errors, no bigger than the latest batch, the Liberals have failed to capitalize. A big reason for that, Canadians don't see Ignatieff as a credible alternative. It's no coincidence here that Ignatieff appearing more "in touch" brings some electoral reward.

Rotterdam said...

Time for Ignatieff to tell Harper "your time is up".

Tof KW said...

Rotterdam said...
Time for Ignatieff to tell Harper "your time is up".

Why bother, Harper's doing an excellent job of running your party into the ground. Why should the Grits want to get in the way of that?

Steve V said...

He thought that was clever to.

Ted Betts said...

The Hebert column from earlier this week made a telling remark. She noted that Chretien did a BBQ circuit after he got elected, much smaller and just Quebec, but it accomplished two things:

1. It showed, contrary to the then prevailing opinion of Chretien, that he wasn't past his prime and he could at least run a bus tour. The bar is lower for opposition leaders when people are not happy with the government: they don't have to show they would be great, just that they seem like they won't screw things up.

2. The close personal contact with Quebec media - which at the time was viciously anti-Chretien - took a huge edge off of their commentary and even turned many in his favour. Away from the opposition benches and QP, Chretien's personal charm went a long way to turn them in his favour or at least start listening to him.

We don't even have to go back that far. Harper did essentially the same thing in the summer of 2005. His poll numbers did not show much of any improvement right away, but it was critical in convincing his own party he knew what he was doing and in showing the media he wasn't going to screw things up completely. It also gave him a dry run/practice at campaigning and glad-handling which turned out to be a real critical weapon when the election came since he was seen as very stiff and distant.

Sound at all familiar?

Shiner said...

As CK alludes to above, the fact of the matter is that Ignatieff in person (or even uncut) is a much different person (or at least politician) than the accepted narrative has suggested. I've heard him three times now and met him a couple more. He's thoughtful, frank, and, at least on the surface, friendly. It's for this reason that I can't accept the common wisdom that he's a dead man walking. I'll keep saying that during an election, when Ignatieff is juxtaposed with Harper every night on the news, things are going to change fast. I might end up looking stupid, but my own experiences just don't jive with those presented by the experts.

Tof KW said...

"I might end up looking stupid, but my own experiences just don't jive with those presented by the experts."

You are not being stupid, and the 'experts' are often wrong during prorogation. Canadians ended up caring about that quite a deal. Likewise Harper was considered a 'dead man walking' back in 2004 (anyone remember when Paul Martin was getting those 60% approval ratings); and Chretien was 'yesterday's man' back in 1992 (regardless of the Mulroney government's baggage the Libs were still trailing in the polls back then). I'd say Michael Ignatieff is in very good company.