Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Election Anyone?

The latest Nanos is pretty much more of the same, a "political rut" as characterized by the pollster. I'd like to look at these number, in the context of what is required to change the "political impasse".

The horserace numbers, fall into the same boring pattern we've seen since the Ignatieff honeymoon phase. In fact, there really is nothing more to be gleemed from these numbers, the dynamic never changes, we all just chase statistical noise that rarely sustains itself.

The only area of interest, and we've seen this "new low" dynamic from a couple pollsters, Harper looks increasingly vulnerable. Nanos gives Harper the lowest best PM score since he took office. People will remember, the last EKOS saw the lowest direction of government score "in a decade". While these numbers aren't translating necessarily to the horserace, they denote an underlying erosion in sentiment for this government. This erosion is masked by the failure of the opposition to capture votes, but it remains under the surface and the potential to exploit is certainly there.

My new working thesis, it's status quo until an election. Liberals waiting for the optimal polling conditions will wait forever, notwithstanding some massive government implosion, voters aren't coming in any meaningful way. People simply aren't paying attention to the daily machinations, only an election will force some consideration, everything else is just jockeying. Harper is losing popularity, but voters aren't moving to alternatives, because they lack confidence and/or inspiration. Ignatieff is unlikely to get traction until the big lights of an election allow for re-positioning.

I'm not saying we force an election. However, we now have the defined points of distinction for the next election, the broad themes already there in my view. Of course, we still have to see platforms, the details, but everyone knows where this election debate will be fought. With this knowledge in mind, it's almost a "get on with it" feel developing, and Nanos seems to confirm that fact with his commentary. Again, don't be provocative, but when the next line in the sand comes, Liberals shouldn't cower because they are waiting for the ideal conditions to arrive. Those conditions aren't coming, an election seems the only catalyst that can change this "rut".


Tof KW said...

I hope someone from the OLO is reading your posts Steve, because they are bang on. The Libs shouldn't go out of their way to force an election, but neither should they fear one.

Dame said...

I can't wait to see an election ...
It will be very different then anything we saw before . a few critical words can determine the outcome.... in spite of the slumbering mindset of the electorate of today ..we will see some Fireworks..

Dylan said...


When the mood of the country shifts from "I don't give a shit" to "Meh" the Liberals should pull the government down.

Calgary Junkie said...

I think one of the biggest challenges that your Party leadership faces, is that they are too compromised in what actions you can take (i.e. vote non-confidence or not), by the LPC's financial situation.

I obviously don't have specific dollar figures to back up my claim, but the weak third quarter fund-raising results give some insight, into the LPC's state of financial affairs.

Forcing an election, spending around $16 million, and ending up with a similar distribution of MPs across the four Parties, is obviously much worse for the LPC than the CPC. If you guys then go in to a leadership race, that means more money, and it plays into Tom Flanagan's "war of attrition" strategy.

This is not news to you guys, I understand that. But, the best solution remains: Unite with the Dippers. Listen to Chretien on that.

JimmE said...

Steve, I agree & here's why. In the past municipal election here in Burlie we had 3 major contenders for Lord Mayor; The present Mayor former veteran Tory MPP Cam Jackson, 16 year city councillor Carol D'Amelio, & rookie city councillor Rick Goldring. 4 years ago Cam won a close 3-way race, Carol's campaign never took off, & Rick (a former Fed Green) only got into the race end of June. Polls suggested the 3-way would again elect Cam (who has been in politics here since the 1980's) by a good margin, local media were predicting the same. Funny story, Cam came 3rd & Rick got almost 50% of the vote. There are many reasons, but the campaign made voters focus on Cam's record, & Rick ran a good campaign.
A federal election is different no doubt, but after many years in power the present PM has a record of few accomplishments, & folks have never warmed to the fella, the Pianoman schtick not withstanding. A campaign will force folks to move from "not giving a $hit" as your last post opin'd and examine their choices. It is not clear yet to me that Iggy can lead a good, clear campaign that makes this a real choice; however much I would like to see that happen. The unknown is this: given a real choice what will voters choose? Given what I saw on the doors this past few weeks here in Burlie, folks are willing to opt for a clearly thoughtful set of plans.

Steve V said...


While Libs aren't raising what the Cons are, the finances are fine and we can run a fully funded campaign. I take your point, but I don't think finances are dictating strategy.

Tof KW said...

The party that may need to watchout finance-wise are the NDP. They pool money between the Fed & various provincial wings, and having fought the 2008 federal + BC and NS elections their finances were not in good shape. Not sure how their fund-raising is (I'll assume better now) but a year ago another Federal election could have literally bankrupted them.

CJ - at their worst I'm sure the Libs were nowhere need this poorly financed. It the writ were dropped tomorrow, I'm sure the LPC would run a fully financed election. I know the Blogging Tories like to go on about the fund raising disparity, but in an election call all that extra cash the CPC has doesn't help much, aside for the In&Out scheme (which Elections Canada isn't done with yet).

marie said...

Bring it on sooner than later.
Calgary Junkie, you can think whatever you want but your thoughts do not make it so. All you have is an opinion based on partisan so why should yours be facts?But.... keep on thinking that way. You may be totally surprised once the writ is dropped and the actual campaign begins.

Koby said...

There is no chance whatsoever that the Liberals would win an election.

Over the course of the 40 years the Liberal fortunes have risen and fallen according to the ability to capture at least 70% of the seats in either Quebec or Ontario. For a majority the Liberals have needed to capture at least 80% of the seats in either of those two provinces. The Liberals are not competitive enough in the Western Canada for that calculus to change.

Canada is no longer divided against itself and so long as this holds true this is not a party in need of tinkering. It is a party that needs to be blown up.

Steve V said...

"There is no chance whatsoever that the Liberals would win an election."


Koby said...

The Liberals do not look poised for breakout in Quebec, Ontario or BC.

Just where do you think this seats are going to come from? Go to elections predictions project and go look at the seats one by one and then tell me what seats you think the Liberals are going to pick up.

Steve V said...

Thx. I did a riding by riding post a year and a half ago.

Probable no, entirely possible, absolutely.

Dana said...

Unless and until the LPC has a leader who connects with Canadians better than Harper does there will be no LPC victory parades.

I'm willing to grant that our FPTP system could possibly end up giving the Ignatieff led LPC a minority in some future election but a minority win is not a reason for a parade.

Ignatieff is too old, too traditional and generates no empathetic connections.

This should not be taken to infer that I think Harper has those qualities or does those things.

Ignatieff has no political inspirational qualities.

For good or ill we are now in the age when ordinary Canadian voters think they are voting not for the names on their ballots but for the leaders of the parties those names represent. Too bad, so sad but that's now the reality, rail against at your leisure.

The LPC desperately needs a younger, more telegenic, more media savvy and less multisyllabic leader.

Full stop.

ottlib said...

17% undecided. That is pretty high.

I really have to wonder why only Nanos bothers to publish these estimates.

Steve I happen to agree with you that the Liberals should not wait until the horserace numbers get better because I am pretty certain they will not get better.

This government is vulnerable and it knows it so the next time the Opposition will be able to attempt to defeat the government will be the budget. The Conservatives also know that as well so I would not be surprised if the try to finesse holding a vote on the budget in the Spring somehow. They did it this Fall by not presenting the Fall Economic Update to Parliament as every other government had done for decades before it. Instead delivering an "update" during a media conference.

JimmE said...

May I remind all of my learned counterparts whither an election? are they not decision points? May I also be so bold as to note that a certain PM was well in the lead prior to an XMas election that NOBODY wanted? This PM was beaten by a stout fellow who had no experience leading anything more than a neo....facis, er.. that is.. "libertarian" vested interest group who had more in common with a man who promised to keep the trains in prewar Italy running on time? Said election? Socialist Separatists & So-Called Greens all were in their heaven!
Elections make & break people.
If the party of the present member of the Rupert Murdoc vested interest group keeps his job; too bad for us. If not, well, perhaps there is a chance for democracy after all.
Otherwise, sleep well. Sleep ye Dippers of the dark night. Sleep well ye watchmen of the Tory dawn.

Shiner said...

Canada is no longer divided against itself

If you'll pardon the language Steve, fuck me.

Tof KW said...

"Canada is no longer divided against itself"

Have to say that is one of the dumbest comments I've heard in a while, at least from non-wingnut posters anyhow.

Canada's entire political structure is dominated by regionalism, always has been and probably always will ...with the most obvious example being the Bloc Quebecois.

Successful PMs are the ones who can cobble together something resembling a national government by obtaining at least a few MPs from each region of the country; and to his credit Stephen Harper has managed to do this.

His hold however is very tenuous, and the potash deal in Saskatchewan is an example - Harper made a purely political decision over what should be clear conservative ideology about open markets. The only reason was the very real possibility that he could lose 13 Sask MPs in the next election by allowing the sale to BHP to go through; much like how he lost Newfoundland by pissing off Danny Williams.

What the Grits need to do if they wish to win is find favour in enough regions in the country to be able to cobble together a national government. This is certainly possible, though unlikely at this point in time.

- - -

By the way, another interesting poll from EKOS came out today, CPC and LPC tied and both under 30%, and the NDP not gaining traction. Another 'You All Suck' verdict from the electorate.

rockfish said...

Completely agree, but i just would like to remind people how the negative or non-enthusiastic message on Ignatieff has been 3/5ths the work of the CONs, who made complete use of the media's pliant and eager nature to publish anything partisan, and it became truth. How to change that? I don't know how possible that is, but the CONs with their deep pockets -- who are no doubting buying a lot of polls and encouraging the media to keep publishing polls -- will do the same thing to the next leader.
We've put some very interesting policy forward, gotten a little traction on it but truly need to start thinking how to beat the CONs at their own game. The hope that Canadians will come to the conclusion that we have our Obama (2008 campaign version) is hoping against reality. We need to hammer hard and harder on Harper's achilles and breaking open the RW media's echo chamber.

Steve V said...

I've noted that the punditry seems to dismiss any mention of an election. Frankly, much of this seems a pretty superficial analysis of the polls. Here's a comment from EKOS today:

"The motivations not to go to an election would appear to be much stronger within the governing party."

I find that an informative comment.

Koby said...

"Canada's entire political structure is dominated by regionalism, always has been and probably always will ...with the most obvious example being the Bloc Quebecois."


Regionalism will always be a force, but it is not the deciding factor that it once was.

The 1979 and 2000 period was sui generis.
The Liberals won 4 elections during this time and in each case capitalized on sharp regional divisions.

In 1980 they won by taking 74 out of 75 seats in Quebec

In 1993 they took 98 out of 100 seats in Ontario

In 1997 they won by taking 101 out of 103 seats in Ontario

In 2000 they won by taking 100 out of 103 seats in Ontario

Mulroney won two elections during this time. However, what looked on paper to be emerging national consensus turned out to be anything but. Mulroney's treachery almost blew up the country. His actions dealt a fatal blow his own party and near fatal blow to the NDP. As the fortunes of two of Canada's national parties waned, two regional parties, Reform and the Bloc, rose suddenly and rapidly in the polls.

With the notable exception of Quebec, the Conservatives are at or above 30% in every province.

Steve V said...

Hey, bullocks was my word ;)

Dana said...

"Bullocks" was the word both of you used, all right.

Except that in all likelihood it doesn't have the meaning you intended.

"Bullocks" - a young bull or a castrated bull.

"Bollocks" - Senseless talk. British slang.

I bet you intended the latter.

Steve V said...

LOL :)