Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wedged

A new poll by Abacus offers a objectively devastating finding for the government position, reaffirming that the Liberals are on solid ground philosophically with their corporate taxcut position. When I came home from The Thinkers Conference, I called this corporate tax cut idea "Tim Hortons vs Bay Street", it was a wedge play and I fanced that we were on the right side of this policy divergence.

The government has a serious problem on their hands, everywhere you turn with this poll, it's nothing but bad:
The survey then asked Canadians if they support or oppose the government’s plan to continue with the corporate tax cuts. In total, 52% strongly or somewhat oppose the government’s plan, while 26% support or strongly support it.

Remember this is a pollster which gives the Conservatives high 30% support, the fact they can't even muster a baseline here is alarming. Of note, the Conservatives lose big everywhere, even Alberta on this question, a large plurality on the side of the opposition.

On the question of the government argument that corporate tax cuts will create jobs:
“Only 21% of respondents buy the job creation argument when given the alternative to spend more on health care or to reduce the deficit.”

Here you see the frame the Liberals have made is in fact a TRAP. 57%, almost three times the respondents, side with the opposition view that corporate taxes are already low, investment is better made elsewhere. Honestly, rarely do you see such one sided viewpoints, pure gold from the opposition perspective- you can't even argue that they divide one side of the pie, because the Conservatives enjoy so little support, it's a liability no matter. Only 54% of Conservatives support their policy, a very precarious position indeed, particularly in the electoral heartland.16% of women support the government, 24% of Ontarians, 13% in Quebec, 23% in British Columbia, 12% of undecided voters, no wear for a fat cat lover to rest their weary heads, it's just a bloodbath at every turn.

Here's the added bonus- Canadians don't even realize that our corporate taxes are more competitive than the Americans. These numbers come despite the fact we don't appreciate where we stand relatively. Once that message is relayed in a campaign, one has to wonder if the facts only serve to harden these numbers.

I've argued before, the entire Liberal narrative starts with these corporate tax cuts, everything rolls off this "class" related divergence. The Liberals are on the side of average Canadians, the Conservatives will defend corporate Canada. If you are actually on the "street", you realize that fighting for families as opposed to banks, is a pretty good spot. Abacus confirms that perception, with game changer potential, make no mistake.

24 comments:

Jesse said...

Thing is, my math tells me that 48% favor or don't care.

Now, I recognize that those 48% won't track directly to the 42 the Cons need, but...

Steve V said...

Whoa, bad read. You could do that with almost every finding, it's a distraction trust me. These are dreadful numbers for the Conservatives, some of the worst I've seen since they took office, on any file.

Dan F said...

My only concern as a Liberal is that the Conservatives see these numbers and flip flop, then put off the election until next year. What are the odds of Harper back-pedalling on this one?

Jesse said...

My argument can still fit the possibility that it's bad. Obviously, every time the Cons lose on a split like this it can start to add up.

But although we Liberals are in a bigger pool on most issues, fighting for part of that pool with two other parties.

Subtract whatever you think the NDP + BQ 'floors' are from that 52%, and you're seeing part of why the Cons are succeeding. 52-26-22 For-Against-Don't Know would be spectacular in the US for the Dems...

Jesse said...

If Harper flip flops and buys the NDP, I think it's a win for us. More time to prepare, more Con scandals, and Iggy can take credit for improving the balance sheet with our strong advocacy for tax cuts.

Tof KW said...

"Here's the added bonus- Canadians don't even realize that our corporate taxes are more competitive than the Americans."

Juicier than that, our corporate tax rate is the most competitive of the original G7 nations (I guess Russia is lower?) and that should be emphasized along with the US comparison.

Gayle said...

OK, but why can't Harper just say "we think the cut is good for Canada, but you are our bosses and if you say don't do it we won't do it". That's what I would do.

Course Harper rarely does what I would do. ;)

Steve V said...

Thought this was interesting comment from Frank Graves of EKOS on this finding:

"I have polled on this for longer than I care to remember and No one ever favours corporate tax cuts , this is a pinata for opposition....only weird part is why CPC would paint themselves in this corner"

CK said...

Dan F: I don't think the cons will back-pedal on this one. They've made their bed, now they must lie in it. Besides, I'm sure Harper's controlled messages in the corporate media will find exactly the right kool-aid to serve up. I've already noticed they've euphemized; now more often called "job creator" tax cuts than "corporate" taxes. It's a start. I'd be far more concerned about that tanking the opposition message than the cons back-pedalling.

There will be at least one poison pill in that budget, if not several. Harper's itching for an election this spring. It's his only shot at a majority.

JimmE said...

What's to prevent the present PM from just changing his mind? (he's done it before, income trust anyone?) Then blame the opposition for being... aliens?

Most of the Kitty Kats in the Media will say: "but will you still pet me?" & Kabec Corp & NP will say "Milton Friedman commanded the PM from the grave! we must obey!"
Mr K will say "if only the Liberals would have listened to me for the last 10 years! A pox on their houses!"

This needs to be followed up, Iggy needs a 1-2-3 to get the other feller on the ropes.
He's got one, but we've had one before & no 2 & never a 3. We need a Saint Patrick to crush the head of this viper.

rockfish said...

The CONs deployed all their potted plants this week to sell the corporation handouts with the tag 'job creator'... the usual koolaid drinkers were on the line for the CKNW talk show, lathering the fantasy on how tax cuts will lower prices, create direct jobs etc. It involved some heavy guzzling of the CON soup because the nation is going into debt to serve the cake to the corporate barons, not exactly real conservative action. I dare say just drudge up some of the headlines recently about CEO bonuses, which is where a lot of these tax cuts will head, and see the smoke in the public's eyes... Of course, Harper won't change direction on this but is counting on his 'left-wing media buddies' to carry his wood and water, including slopping on about his international effort to save the women and children. As Steve V's so adroitly pointed out before, this concern is all cosmetic and has no standing in reality as per action at home.

WhigWag said...

It gets better: Evan Solomon finally stopped being such an enabling cheerleader & did a touch of investigative journalism for a change on P&P today, and brought to light that:

the Department of Finance itself has pointed out just 4 months ago that in the short term (which is what the 1.5 million people needing work _now_ care about), corp. taxes are actually the least effective way of boosting the GDP & creating jobs, by far, compared to stimulus spending, Housing investment, & better low income & unemployment supports; & Kevin Page confirmed that.

Table A.1: Expenditure and Tax Multipliers, of the Sept. 2010 EAP 6th Report

www.fin.gc.ca/pub/report-rapport/2010-09-27/ceap-paec-a-eng.asp

www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/Politics/1244504890/ID=1767800914

Plus, even in the longer term, the new U. of Calgary report by Mintz that they're turning to for the Hail Mary on how this is supposed to create tons o' jobs has only predicted: about 100,000 jobs created over the course of 7 years:

i.e., about 15,000 a year: i.e., just 1% of what we need now, and <7% of what we need when its all said & done, if our unemployment rate stays about the same.

- at a cost of $3-B per year, for a net cost of
$210,000 per job created... with absolutely no guarantee that those are _permanent_ jobs.

http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2011/01/25/mintz-misleads-on-corporate-taxes/

http://rppe.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/can-you-create-a-job-for-less-than-210000/

Kirk said...

Just want to say I completely agree with those who say there's still a fight with this. Both the media and Harper will keep pushing the idea. The media I've heard are certainly coming down in defence of these cuts and Harper is showing the Cons will not give up ground easily on this.

Though if Ignatieff continues to frame it as he did in his speech to caucus he'll have a strong and emotional argument to hold and sway opinion.

Steve V said...

Yes, I hope no one confuses some optimism with cockiness, a dirty fight, full of distortion and fear mongering awaits. This is like a run in the first inning if I can make a horrible analogy.

As for where the rest break in this poll, generally it's the same percentages as those that have, plus the "don't know" camp is most likely to NOT vote, never forget that.

Scott Tribe said...

Interesting that Mcichelle Bachmann - super-crazy nutso Republican COngresswoman in the US - uses the same "job-creator" line in her response to the Prez's SOTU address.

Too bad more people dont know about her up here in Canada - I'm not sure Bachmann and Harper/Baird et al using the same terminilogy is very flattering.

Shiner said...

So has Harper given up on Quebec then? I mean they were all giggly about the Quebec arena, then Duceppe asks for $5 big ones and it's full steam ahead with corporate tax cuts (and the numbers are pretty clear about how those will play in that province). Something ain't quite right at CPC HQ.

Jesse said...

Feels to me like there's a few too many squares on the board for him to play "chess" like he usually does on.

Tof KW said...

Scott, about Bachmann. Any real surprise there? The Harper government is all about plagiarizing; whether it's catch-phrases, sound-bites, speeches, or policy ideas from the opposition parties.

Jesse - it's still chess, just now 3D chess like on Star Trek. The board is split up on different planes and Harper is just figuring out he's boxed himself in ...and the only move out puts him in check.

Jesse said...

You, sir, have out-nerded me. Kudos. I've never played.

Tof KW said...

Ya, I admit I like the old original show. Come on, it's William Shatner, I like his new comedy too.

BTW - I don't know if there really is a 3D version of chess, but it fits in this case. Besides, Harper's 'chess-master' image has been shattered long ago; case in point - the past two prorogations.

Jesse said...

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Three-dimensional_chess

Calgary Junkie said...

A couple of questions for you guys:

Why is the LPC running these ads on the Business News Network ?

I'd guess that the big majority of BNN viewers are in FAVOR of the corporate tax cuts. But maybe I'm missing something about investors motivations, that you guys know about ?

Also, the only third-party spokesperson I've seen who is against the tax cuts is Jim Stanford, "economist" for the CAW, who I'm pretty sure is still tied to the Dippers.

Is there a LIBERAL third-party advocate for the tax cuts out there ?

Calgary Junkie said...

Ooops, that shourd read:
"Is there a LIBERAL third-party advocate against the tax cuts out there ?"

Steve V said...

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/executives-say-its-time-to-raise-taxes/article1515433/