Friday, April 29, 2011

Conservative Majority "Just Not There"

I watched Harper yesterday, he seemed pretty glum, the words particularly hollow, even by his standards he just looked off. Today we have a Nanos poll and a particularly revealing story that help explain Harper's body language, the potential that this is the end of the line for him personally, VERY real:
Stephen Harper's Conservatives must win 23 more seats in Ontario to achieve their coveted majority, a task that senior party insiders now admit is almost impossible, the Star has learned.

High-ranking sources confide that even with the collapse of Michael Ignatieff's Liberals — and NDP Leader Jack Layton's surge, which helps split the vote in many Ontario ridings — it will be very difficult to make such immense gains in Canada's most populous province.

At the dissolution of Parliament, the minority Tories held 51 of Ontario's 106 federal seats.

Party sources say the possible loss of several British Columbia ridings to the New Democrats — and others in Quebec, where Layton is surfing an orange wave — has forced them to revise their projections.

As of Thursday, they said they needed to win at least 74 seats in Ontario to achieve a majority.

“It all comes down to Ontario and we're just not there,” a source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the party's internal polling is closely guarded.

The article references the Harris Decima poll I mentioned yesterday, the regional template required for toppling Harper. Well today Nanos comes out with his poll and it shows similar trends. Given the sentiment in the linked story, it would appear the Conservative internals are also in agreement. Nanos now has the national gap down to just five points, Conservatives 36%, NDP 31%, Liberals 22%.

But, it's the regionals that paint a "fall short" picture for the Conservatives. Atlantic Canada shapes up as repeat of 2008, the Bloc continues to fade in Quebec, the NDP with their best tally in B.C. all election and a sharp dropoff for the Conservatives in Ontario, lowest total of this campaign. As well, NDP support continuing to rise in Ontario, while Liberal support might just be firming up. Throw it all together and it's the required opposition recipe. There is absolutely no sense that the NDP are retreating, if anything the Quebec "wave" is further spilling to the rest of the country, albeit in much more modest fashion. If you want Harper gone, this is the type of polling you need to see. Based on disposition, it would appear Harper sees the same numbers as well...

27 comments:

Jerry Prager said...

I want to see the party gone, not just Harper.

Steve V said...

I didn't realize EKOS was out this morning as well, slightly different numbers but he also concludes a majority looks out of reach now:

http://ipolitics.ca/2011/04/29/ndp-still-closing-on-conservatives-liberal-declines-continue/

Jerry Prager said...

There's still a hope that strategic voting by liberal democrats will swing the ax on Harper altogether.

Greg said...

Beware Conservatives bearing gifts.

Steve V said...

Really is laughable the way some people look for strategic prowess where none exists.

Scott @ Prog Blog said...

CROP has a poll out with the NDP leading the BQ and CPC by 7 - in the Quebec City area. Wow.

Greg said...

Really is laughable the way some people look for strategic prowess where none exists.

No problem then. Just stay home and don't bother to vote, after all the Conservatives aren't going to win a majority anyway. I guess I just don't trust Conservatives to be telling the truth. I am funny that way.

Steve V said...

Okay you just went from funny to just sad.

Greg said...

Paranoid actually, but whatever.

Shiner said...

I doubt this is the end of Harper as leader if he doesn't get his majority. If there's one thing to take away from this election campaign, it's the unwavering, more than a little creepy, devotion the grassroots have for him. Nobody is going to be willing to bring the knives out on this guy and he's certainly not going without a fight. We're stuck with the treasonous bastard.

Paul said...

Do you actually think the Conservatives are going to admit that they could have the numbers to form a majority at this point in the campaign? If the vote splits the right way they could pick up a ton of seats in Ontario.
They also could pick up two seat in NFLD, two in Nova Scotia, and two in New Brunswick. The NDP will will some more seats, but they are very unorganized at the riding level which directly affects the numbers that actually get to the voting booth on election day.

ch said...

I hope you are right about no Harper majority. That is what the polls are suggesting. But it still seems like quite a fluid situation and one has to wonder where the red tories or right-leaning Liberals will land on May 2nd. Also the CPC has so heavily been targeting some Liberal seats and with the NDP rise it is not clear how this will impact swing NDP-Liberal and strategic voters.

Watching Layton, I have serious doubts about his desire to harm Harper - he seemed to be much more interested in harming Ignatieff. But, one can be certain that he doesn't want to see a Harper majority because that is likely to do serious damage to the NDP's future prospects. However, once the political scene is in the midst of major shifts, parties can't control exactly how everything will settle out.

So, I really hope you are right about no Harper majority, but I still am worried.

ch said...

Stewart admitted Tuesday she would rather lose and block Burke from winning than receive more votes and have Guelph send Burke to Ottawa.

“Do what you need to do,” Stewart said that day.


This is the NDP candidate in Guelph. A candidate from a party which is currently second in the national polls, just days before the election, basically telling voters they don't have to vote for her. Reading this made me think that Layton and the NDP are definitely worried about a Harper majority and how they might end up wearing that. Or do you think I am paranoid about Harper's chances, Steve?

Steve V said...

I think anything is possible, so don't confuse. All I'm commenting on is what needs to happen and how it's trending. I'm never going to assume anything, like I've said I expect to be surprised.

sharonapple88 said...

Hopefully, the Harris-Decima numbers hold out. It ain't over till it's over, as they say. (The Liberal numbers of course make me want to punch someone.)

As for Conservative insiders whispering about their internal polls, there could be some stragedy on this.

(Putting my tinfoil hat on.)

There could be an attempt to split the vote further... At one point the Canadian Alliance had 30% support in the 2000 election, with the eventual vote splitting being its downfall. Of course the situation is a bit different since Layton has more momentum and less apparent baggage in most people's eyes than Stockwell Day. But the possibility is out there.

Another possibility is that the party is getting a little tired of Harper and are sharpening knives of their own and are trying to embarass Harper. Why talk about this in the middle of an election when you're trying to get people pumped up? There was also the big book of Harper sayings that apparently the Conservatives gathered on the man that somehow ended up in the hands of the Liberals.

Of course this is all the tinfoil hat talking.

Tof KW said...

sharonapple88, re-read the beginning of Steve's post again. I saw that Harper speech in Niagara last night as well. Either he's a really good actor, or we're seeing a person who's reacting to a very uncertain political future. I personally suspect the later.

Can Harper still win a majority? Well sure, that's still in the realm of possibilities.

But then again so is the possibility that the NDP vote caves as in past elections, and they don't make quite the amazing gains that all the polls are telling us about.

But I personally would not bet money on either of those outcomes. Throw away your election models from '08 because anything is possible on the evening of May 2nd - and anyone who says they are making a reasonably accurate prediction is, quite frankly, full-of-it!

- - -

BTW - just wish to state that my support for the Liberal party is done - for life - if the powers that be decide to prop-up the contemptuous and morally decrepit Harper regime in order to form the next government.

I will vote Green before I vote for the NDP (and have in the past), but in a choice between socialists and contempt of parliament ...I choose socialists without hesitation.

Our economy can always be fixed, but our democracy may never be again. Will a hypothetical PM Layton prorogue parliament to avoid a confidence vote? He just may, since Cowboy Steve has set the precedent now. And that's plenty of reason right there to make certain Harper never attains elected office ever again in his lifetime.

saskatoonauthor said...

A bit off topic, but what the hell.

1) Assuming Harper wins a minority, who thinks he'll be defeated and an NDP led opposition cobbles together a coalition with what remains of the Liberals?

2) How soon will it happen?

3) Will it have enough seats to govern as a coalition majority or minority?

Tof KW said...

Oh, what the hell, I'll play along saskatoonauthor.

1 - I think it's a given Harper will win a minority, the question is how many seats. If, as pollsters suggest, the NDP wins ~90 seats and the Libs are at ~60, that will be enough to form an arrangement between the NDP & LPC with Layton as PM.

2 - It will happen right after the speech from the throne. Harper winning means he has first shot to win the confidence of the house. If he doesn't get that on the throne speech, then the GG will ask Layton to try and form government.

3 - No one knows that answer until May 3rd.

saskatoonauthor said...

TofKW

Frightening prospect of nightmare scenarios for the country with an NDP government. The mind boggles.

Tof KW said...

saskatoonauthor - I'm not frightened at all of the NDP. I'm way more frightened of rewarding Harper with winning government after being in contempt of it. Economies can be fixed - democracy is way more difficult to repair.

Recall that Charles I was beheaded basically for taxation without representation. He was in contempt there too, for attempting to set taxation without bothering to explain it to Parliament. For over 400 years since the various Westminster parliaments around the commonwealth have operated as the supreme will of the people, no monarch, court, or government is above the will of the House of Commons. So it's really that simple, Harper is not giving parliament the numbers on the jets and prisons ...he is in contempt of parliament. This is a no-brainer we must reject him this election. The precedent for future governments is frightening if he wins.

As for the NDP - being an old Tory, I'm still a PC supporter here in Ontario (regardless of Hudak who I don't support as leader - but at least my MPP is a Red Tory who I can vote for in good conscience), and I was horrified when the Bob Rae government was elected in 1990.

Turns out it was more of a gong-show than a hard turn to the left. Yes they drove the economy into the ground, but then Rae had the excuse that it was during a recession. And Rae actually wasn't bad as premier, and one or 2 half-decent cabinet ministers too. But the rest - holy crap!

As a result, the NDP suffered a humiliating defeat after that and the Dippers have never been much of a factor in ONT ever since.

Likewise I'm beginning to enjoy the prospect of the federal NDP under the microscope for the first time ever. It's now up the the LPC and CPC to rebuild after this, because whoever does the best job will be rewarded with government after Layton's gang inevitably crashes & burns.

xyz said...

Steve you are playing right into the hands of conservative spin. The fact is that they want this narrative in the wild as a way to demotivate strategic voting on the left and motivate their vote to get out.

Ontario can be a bloodbath for Liberals depending upon how the NDP vote splits. To suggest that the majority is "not there" is tories trying to calm the public down.

@TofKW: The only way the Liberals are going to support a Layton govt is if he manages to get more seats than Harper. Otherwise they are just going to take it on a vote by vote basis.

This election shows that conservatives have pretty much hit their ceiling in terms of popular support. Obviously there was dissatisfaction with the Liberals and that the tories have not picked up a single point from the 8-9% Liberal drop just proves that. With an ideologue for a leader such as harper I don't see that changing. The Tories might win a majority but it would not be due to popularity among the voters

Steve V said...

If people want to buy int conspiracy theories have at it, but I find it odd that I saw exactly this reality in Harper yesterday, now two pollsters say exactly same as article. Quit giving these guys such reverance, they've ran an absolutely BRUTAL campaign and about the last paper to do their bidding is the TS. IMHO complete nonsense that this a Con ruse.

sharonapple88 said...

This is the NDP candidate in Guelph. A candidate from a party which is currently second in the national polls, just days before the election, basically telling voters they don't have to vote for her.

Realistically, they shouldn't. The NDP finished fourth in the riding in 2008, behind the Greens, which was close between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Even with Layton-mania running wild, it's not likely the NDP would be able to make that much ground, at least not without a star candidate. Maybe if they were polling in the mid-thirties or above in the province....

Tof KW said...

The Tories might win a majority...

xyz, all three of the most trusted pollsters out there, Nanos, Harris-Decima and EKOS, all agree the numbers are not there for a Harper majority. Harper's own internal polling is showing it too, and remember they spend A LOT on polling. He might win, but not with the Ontario numbers we're seeing.

Conservative spin? It is exactly that. Watch their body language and their ad messages over this final weekend. That is more telling than whatever spin they wish to portray. Personally I'm watching for backbenchers going off message.

sharonapple88 said...

sharonapple88, re-read the beginning of Steve's post again. I saw that Harper speech in Niagara last night as well. Either he's a really good actor, or we're seeing a person who's reacting to a very uncertain political future. I personally suspect the later.

That makes me feel a bit sorry for Harper (he's clearly miserable), but he's reaping what he's sowed. A lot of what's holding him back is his past -- especially the way he's run government. Speaking to someone I know who was tempted to vote Conservative... he decided not to because he doesn't trust Harper.

I will vote Green before I vote for the NDP (and have in the past),but in a choice between socialists and contempt of parliament ...I choose socialists without hesitation.

Of course.

I'll admit to souring a bit to the NDP this election, mainly over the in the way Layton plays up to Quebec nationalists.

Frightening prospect of nightmare scenarios for the country with an NDP government. The mind boggles.

Whoa there. The NDP would have a minority. If they decide to go crazy, turn this country into some sort of Communist utopia, someone will be smart enough to pull the gun.

Niles said...

I recall the eeeeeevil coalition of Dion, Layton and Duceppe also sent Harper into unhappy, desperate body language. Leader debates send him into desperate unhappy body language. Losing his teleprompter sends him into unhappy body language. Being asked impertinent questions sends him into unhappy body language.

Until his 'team' came up with the hail-satan-pass-of-prorogue-timeout and it *worked*, Harper's smarm was palpably absent. But once it worked? Aiaiai, he oozed smirk.

I have no doubt the Conservatives are digging frantically for whatever will keep Harper in power. I await the Republican tactics of phone calls about changing polling stations, etc. Why should outright Biggerest Lying bother them at this point, when Big Lies served them well for years before this? Trusting the RepConservatives to play fair so long as the election is not done and over?

Ahahahaha. No. I'm not even trusting them should they get in with a minority, since they have a NonconfidenceOfParliament-you-don't-get-the-football decision hanging over them.

Was talking to my paternal unit before Easter and we (being Saskatchewanian raised CCF/NDP) discussed the fed NDP becoming a viable force with the voters, to kick the other parties out of the complaisant ruts they've dug themselves. Then we laughed ruefully.

Farm raised, we're going to keep scanning the horizon for stormclouds down to the last minute. It ain't over until the harvest is in the granary and the sales are in the credit union account.

I just feel sorry for the local riding NDPer who ran last election. He had recognition factor and might have stood a real chance this one (with Prentice resigned), instead of the placeholder put in. But, who knew?

We still don't. Until May 3rd. And then whatever follows the first budget. I can really hope the vote follows through on what seems to be Canadians saying 'North of 49 - we're *North* of 49'

Steve V said...

"I recall the eeeeeevil coalition of Dion, Layton and Duceppe also sent Harper into unhappy, desperate body language."

I will never forget Harper in Parliament the day after, he was sulking and deflated, it was amazing. The next day he rebounded and started to fight, but that first QP was historic. In noted a TOUCH of that resignation yesterday, so when I read this story this morning, it made even more sense.