Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Angus Reid Poll

The latest Angus Reid poll is similar to two others released, a significant Conservative lead.

In my mind, the latest batch of polls, the recent trend lines, confirm my working thesis- when we have a huge controversy, we move to a statistical tie, but in the absence of a real mover, we return to the normal state of a Conservative lead. I would argue the last few weeks, pretty much since the return of Parliament, no real issue has emerged that has resonated with voters. The opposition has moved from this and that, but no real singular focus on any matter that dominates the landscape. In this circumstance- and the last two years have supported this dynamic- the Conservatives tend to benefit, they hover near majority territory, the Liberals languish. When we have an issue that causes the government some backlash, a flurry of negative coverage, then we see the Conservatives fade, Liberals rebound somewhat and we move back to a statistical tie scenario. We never really reach full on majority status for the government, nor do the Liberals ever realize a lead, the polls operate within this range.

The polls all boil down to 5-10% of the electorate moving around, mostly in Ontario, we see this over and over. We are locked into a narrow political reality, nobody will "breakout", Ignatieff won't get "traction, the Bloc will remain strong, the NDP will live or die based on 1-2%- a very static and established pattern. The Liberals can wait for the next "census" debacle, some issue that is so offside, the scary Harper meme scares a few old Liberals back into the fold, but apart for that, this is it folks. With that clearly reality in mind, I would submit that everyone forget about the polls as a crystal ball into election speculation. I believe all the parties realize the narrow band they operate within, as well as a realization that not much will change until the next election- it's just laying the groundwork, developing messages, preparing for the moment when people actually will care, at least a little.

Conservatives up big, which will be followed by Liberals narrow lead, which will be followed by Conservatives open up gap, which will be followed by both parties below 30%, which will be followed by statistical tie, etc, etc.. We all chase every statistical hiccup like it is some seismic, meaningful change, when really if you step back it's just more of the same, the exact same really. Until we have an election, this is it....

24 comments:

Warren said...

I'd say whenever there is news of Toronto getting the shaft the Conservatives go up in the polls (G20 abuses and Rob Ford). Canadians like to see that kind of stuff.

Steve V said...

Actually, the G20 fiasco hurt the government in the polls as memory serves.

Jesse said...

Cries out for a chart.

Steve V said...

If you look at the G20, then the census debacle, you see the numbers narrowed in the aftermath.

kirbycairo said...

I have my own working thesis; as long as we don't have an official opposition which is significantly different from the government in substance as well as style, the Liberals will lag in the polls.

Steve V said...

Two words, Stephane Dion.

kirbycairo said...

If those two words are the best argument you can muster for the reluctance of the LPC leadership to actually stand for something then the Conservatives have little to worry about in the foreseeable future. The argument (if drawn out from your "two words") is something like this - since one Liberal leader who was slightly left of centre failed to have enough political savvy to be victorious, then the Liberals might as well not stand for anything significantly different from the Tories.

Not much of an argument. The failure of the LPC is two fold - one they are not in their present manifestation significantly different form the Tories, and two, the LPC are operating on the political strategies of a paradigm that has been changed by the Conservatives adoption of Karl Rove style politics. It is like they are fighting a pitbull with a feather-duster. The LPC has to treat this government as what it is - a duplicitous, anti-democratic dictatorship which will be glad to declare martial law before they will give up power in an election. But here is the philosophical double-bind - the LPC cannot treat the CP this way because the LPC leadership (by all the evidence) seems to essentially have a similar anti-democratic ideology.

I have nine words for you - tyranny is all you have to look forward to.

Steve V said...

"Not much of an argument."

That's because I always take note of my audience :)

kirbycairo said...

Wow, that was an uncalled for insult considering I wasn't at all disrespectful. I read your blog because I thought you had a little more class than that. My mistake.

Steve V said...

Over react much? Wow is right.

What do you want me to say? Every time you come on here it's the EXACT same point, so do we rehash and go nowhere or do I just let you vent? Liberals bad, got it. What's the point of a protracted debate, won't move regardless. Sorry.

Fred from BC said...

Your observations are correct, but incomplete. Whenever the threat of an election is raised, Conservative numbers go up and Liberal numbers fall; when that threat subsides, things revert back to the normal state. It's been happening consistently for a few years now.

I'll say it again: you need a leadership convention, and you know it.

Steve V said...

I do apologize if you took my glib response as disrespectful though...

Steve V said...

Fred

Then why are they going up now, when no threat exists? I don't buy that one, Cons like to believe it. Numbers went up over prorogation and that's where this "theory" started. They also went up when Ignatieff misread public last year. That's your two points, but I wouldn't extrapolate beyond that.

DL said...

I'm surprised no one has remarked on the fact that this same Angus Reid poll says that Harper's approval rating is at what may be an all-time low of 27%.

Steve V said...

Good point. Ignatieff is nowhere, but it's not like he's up against a popular leader. This is why an election could really move the numbers, if someone can catch fire.

kirbycairo said...

No, not "Liberals Bad." Current leadership not substantially different from Conservative. Different point entirely.

But what is interesting is that the disrespect on your part just proves the point that you claim I am continually making. In an effort to maintain partisanship, real discourse goes quickly out the window replaced by petty insults such as the insinuation that I am "simple."

This is why it matters little whether we have Harper or Ignatieff, Bob Rae or John Baird. All cut from the same cloth. The debate has simply become meaningless. I will not burden you with my "simple" observations again.

Steve V said...

"But what is interesting is that the disrespect on your part just proves the point that you claim I am continually making."

It isn't disrespect, that I don't find it necessary to argue in circles with you, stop projecting and applying more meaning where NONE exists. For the record as well, the TORTURED logic you use to extapolate to the wider arena is just pure bullshit IMHO.

Dame said...

In December people unable to make any decision Time out...
plust Christmas Fog is settled in..
Meaningless Polls.

Titanium said...

The polls haven't shifted much over a 5 year period which reflectes the entrenched political landscape we have in this country. In the next election well the Tories might not get their coveted majority I can't really see the Libs getting anywhere close to the number of seats to form a shaky minority. The Tories ($$$) ground game gives a clear advantage even if the polls tighten in my view.

lma1 said...

Dame, is it a Christmas fog or a Con fog that has settled in? I feel so frustrated at the lack of leadership in our country these days that for the first time ever I used the F word in a blog comment the other day. Still haven't recovered.

Fred from BC said...

Steve V said...

Fred

Then why are they going up now, when no threat exists?



That's a new one, I admit. Hopefully you're not in more trouble than you think you are.


I don't buy that one, Cons like to believe it. Numbers went up over prorogation and that's where this "theory" started.


No, I actually noticed this back in the Paul Martin days. I'm not one to read too much into polls, but started to wonder about the various sudden swings. Public opinion creeps up and down on various issues all the time, but sudden swings must have some reason behind them. It took a few weeks, but I finally recognized the trend.
Hasn't let me down yet (at least until now)...


They also went up when Ignatieff misread public last year. That's your two points, but I wouldn't extrapolate beyond that.


That, the prorogation thing, the G20 thing and the Helena/Rahim thing all moved the numbers, sure. But briefly, and not by much. We'll see...

Just out of curiosity, would you rather have an election now or wait for conditions to be more favorable?

rockfish said...

Anyone who thinks Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff, Stephen Harper and John Beard are cut from the same cloth really knows nothing about fashion, or fabric. One of the above, I'd argue vehemently, is not the same; i'd even go and say all four are very different.
Your partisan blinders Kirby must be on stunned if you think Bob Rae is anything similar to Harper and Baird. I guess the 'jilted' act has no expiry date...

Steve V said...

Given all this superficial talk of no difference between the two main parties, I find this Jaffe headline today instructive:

"Ideological alignment with Liberals hurts NDP in byelections"

Blasphemy!!!

Steve V said...

"Just out of curiosity, would you rather have an election now or wait for conditions to be more favorable?"

Spring.