Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Mr. Harper Attacks People, I Attack Problems."

The latest AR poll, reveals some serious vulnerabilities for this government, particularly as it relates to the title soundbite used by Ignatieff today (h/t Jeff Jedras). Impolitical has already digested this finding, but it bears repeating. Rarely do you see such a one sided response to a question, but Canadians overwhelming believe that Ottawa is more partisan and Harper bears the bulk of the responsibility:
-28% believe Ottawa is more partisan than it was 5 years ago, only 10% believe it less partisan

-of those that see increased partisanship, 61% believe the Conservatives are responsible, 16% blame the Liberals, 2% the NDP and Bloc, 14% give shared responsibility

Every time we see another attack ad release, we receive the standard analysis- attack ads work, period. While I support the general thesis, this automatic reaction fails to incorporate circumstance, that doesn't allow for blanket conclusions. Yes, attack ads work, and yes, the may damage the Liberal leader. But, it is also true that with a Prime Minister already carrying "hyper-partisan" perception baggage, a clear cut picture isn't readily available. In other words, "more about the messenger" is a reasonable counter effect here, the above poll only serves to support this perspective.

If the question centers around the mood in Ottawa, Canadians generally aren't impressed. This sentiment, coupled with the obvious conclusion that Harper shares much of the blame, is a ballot question- this guy wants a majority, do you reward a toxic atmosphere in Ottawa with ANOTHER mandate, with a STRONGER mandate? The Liberals would be wise to hammer this angle, because Harper is entirely vulnerable. The terrific soundbite in the title is the perfect response, you highlight Harper's shortcomings, while pivoting to your own focus, a clear contrast, one that feeds their negatives.

This idea of a man solely focused on the economy, contained within attack ads is an amazing disconnect that can be exploited. The reason it can, polls of this type, because we clearly have a receptive audience, the impression is built in, we just need to remind and entrench.

Nobody is particularly enamoured with Ottawa these days, that is an objective fact no reasonable person disputes. The key is to make the government wear the environment, make it their responsibility, make them the central obstacle to good, clean government. This poll just highlights the potential on this score, and succinct, snappy soundbites like the above are an excellent way to turn these attack ads into a verdict on the sender, not the target.

8 comments:

Kirk said...

On turning another table on the Conservatives...

They like to talk of a "world-wide" recession. I suggest the Liberals use the phrase "world wide recovery" when talking about any economic good news.

The Conservatives have been distancing themselves from the negatives of the recession by always talking of it as "world wide".

Well, the recovery is also world wide and it is not because of Stephan Harper.

In a world wide recovery Canada is falling behind...

The US economy is expected to do better than Canada's next year, after all.

And I'm glad they are using Harper's attack ads against him.

More judo, less fighting fire with more fire, please.

John said...

I do think the appeal of "Mr. Harper attacks people. I attack problems" may be the best I've heard. I could really see that resonating with voters.

Simple, to the point, factual . . . confronting Harper while offering a better option.

It's also the kind of message that requires a response, which sets the ball in the court of discussing how problems get solved, what problems there have been, which in turn focuses on the many failings of the Harper government.

It takes the personality war and turns into a policy debate.

Steve V said...

"It takes the personality war and turns into a policy debate."

That's what I like as well.



Kirk

You're right, we should start saying that. It is a very interesting development, I've never seen a gov't escape recession blame like the Conservatives. We all know it's a global recession that started elsewhere, and it's largely made the Cons immune to criticism.

Shiner said...

We all know it's a global recession that started elsewhere, and it's largely made the Cons immune to criticism.

Which is all the more shameful when you remember that if Harper had had his way with the banks, we would be well and truly f****d.

Tof KW said...

Shiner said...
"Which is all the more shameful when you remember that if Harper had had his way with the banks, we would be well and truly f****d."

There is the Lib's attack ad right there. Pull out the statements Harper made back in the day against the Chretien/Martin governments in regards to bank deregulation and merger moratoriums.

marie said...

Agreed; There is the Lib's attack ad right there. Pull out the statements Harper made back in the day against the Chretien/Martin governments in regards to bank deregulation and merger moratoriums.

There is plenty of material out there to attack Harper with and its truths not lies. All we have to do is get the message out and use that material for their own ads. Play it over and over again on CTV(as if)they would report anything favoring the liberals.
More chances with CBC and even that lately is Questionable. Hit all the small media and TV and smaller centers, of which the Cons do not dictate.


For canada's sake, lets rid this country of the parasites ( Harper and his childish supporter and his inept ministers. ASAP.

James Bowie said...

Well played Steve

Kirk said...

Another little sound bite I've dreamt up using my
"world wide recovery" theme.

"We're all hoping that the world wide recovery will increase Canadian exports (but the Harper govt needs to...)"

You can even throw it into the blandest of statements and it still gets the message out that any economic good news is not because of Harper just part of the "world wide recovery".

"In this world wide recovery it's important that Canada create the jobs of the future"